Freeholder Angela Garretson of Hillside, New Jersey, has over 15 years of government experience, having served as a school board member, council woman at large, mayor and current, first term Union County freeholder. 

Freeholder Garretson has dedicated her talents to community and economic development throughout the 21 municipalities in Union County. She is the lead on the Union County League of Municipalities, Union County Black Leadership Caucus and is the New Jersey Association of Counties Delegate.  Her first major freeholder undertaking spearheaded a town-based, county-led GIS community mapping of all county, municipal and board of education recreational spaces in order to support capital improvement projects in parks and open space.

As a freeholder, she presently serves on the Union County Planning Board, Solid Waste Advisory Board, and the Advisory Board on the Status of Minorities.  Previously she was a representative on the Board’s Policy & Administration Code Committee, Parks, Public Works and Facilities Committee and an alternate on the Fiscal Committee.  Freeholder Garretson has also spent time as an advisory board member of the Local Advisory Council on Alcoholism and Drugs (LACADA), Rutgers Cooperative Extension and is an advocate for the United Way of Greater Union County. 

During her inaugural year, she was celebrated during Women’s History Month as the first African-American woman elected freeholder from Hillside.  At the YWCA 40th Anniversary Gala, she was honored for her advocacy throughout the county.  Garretson closed out the year as part of a “pink wave,” as a recipient of the Women of Achievement award at the 2018 Emerge New Jersey Annual Gala.   The “pink wave” is symbolic of the historic 2019 female majority on the Union County Freeholder Board and the surge of women candidates and newly elected officials in important races and roles around the country. 

Freeholder Garretson values youth achievement and personal development.  From internship opportunities to honoring excellence in the classroom and the community, she encourages people of all ages to surpass expectations.  In 2018, Garretson introduced the “Union County Academic Excellence Awards” which is a Board ceremony to honor high school valedictorians and salutatorians throughout the county. This annual celebration recognizes students, their families and school communities.

Professionally, Freeholder Garretson works in the field of public affairs and technology in higher education.  She is recognized for her significant achievements in enhancing the high school to college/career pipeline. In 2001, she began her career at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Eagleton Institute of Politics where she worked on city, state and national initiatives. Currently, she is employed at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) as the Chief External Affairs Officer in the Office of the President.  As a vital member of the executive cabinet, she plays a key role in university engagement and leveraging the new 21st century technology to succeed in secondary and postsecondary institutions, the workplace and community.

Freeholder Garretson’s political affiliations include membership in the Young Elected Officials Network, a national organization that prepares leaders who are elected by age 35 or younger, and she was a founding member of the women’s and black caucuses. 

Union County Freeholder Angela Garretson is a life-long resident of the county. She graduated from Montclair Kimberley Academy and earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business and Communications from Syracuse University.  She then obtained a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, with honors, from Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey.  Garretson is now completing her research on the topic of “university, business and urban school district partnerships” in a joint Ph.D. program at NJIT/Rutgers.