Ask your local candidate a question.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Know the Candidates

Lori Ciesla

Warren County Commissioner

Local Government Experience:

Have you ever been elected or appointed to a local government position, or served on a local government board, committee, or as staff?

Local governments include cities, counties, public utility districts, school districts, fire protection districts, port districts, and more.


If yes, please describe:

I was a Lopatcong Township Councilwoman, I am currently a DRJTBC Commissioner, and I am currently a Warren County Commissioner


Tell us about yourself and why you would be the best candidate to govern Warren County.

I am currently the Commissioner Director of Warren County and was first elected to this office in 2020. I have been a resident of the county since 1999, when my husband and I moved here with our two kids.

I received my Bachelor of Arts from Thomas Edison University as working mom/student. My background is mainly in the Financial Industry. I worked in banking while in college, and then in commercial insurance. I went to programming school through work and became a software developer in 1999. In my current professional career, it is my job to improve efficiencies while also maintaining compliance with the multitudes of state and federal agencies involved in overseeing insurance.

I come from a family of volunteers - my dad as a fireman and my mom in our church. When my kids were younger, I focused my time on their world, in the PTA, youth sports, and our church. When they got older, I ran and was elected to serve on Lopatcong Council.

I truly feel experience matters, and my professional and public service experience will allow me to continue to serve the County at full speed, keenly aware of what I can and cannot do in the role of Commissioner, but also aware of who I need to cal when an issue does not fall under my purview. My experience and my dedication to this role will help me maximize our human capital and financial resources for the betterment of all of Warren County.

What do you think are the top three issues facing Warren County today? Why?

1. Our farmland is under threat in all directions - from warehouse development to massive solar farms. Warehousing developments look at the pristine land as easy to develop, as do solar comanies.We must find balance in light of these threats and do all we can to support to support our farmers and agribusinesses.

2. Traffic is another major issue. Our county roads cannot handle the truck traffic that is traversing through our area to get from the NY/NJ ports to PA and beyond.

3. The economy is another major issue. Inflation has hit so many people very hard all over the country, and in Warren County too.

How do you propose to address these issues?

Along with my other commissioners, we are already working on these issues. We have a strong farm and open space preservation program, and although it is voluntary, we preserve on average about 1000 acres year. Our Explore Warren group continues to promote tourism in the county, which helps our agribusinesses.

Although the County Planning Board is not an appellate board for local land use/planning boards, and the control of zoing for new development remains in the hands of our local municipal leaders, we at the County have undertaken a massive study showing the impact on our roads if every industtiral zoned property in the county was developed. We require traffic studies from all applicants and have passed resolutions supporting additional limitations on what traffic can travel on our county roads, and will continue to work on these traffic issues with the NJDOT and our local municipalities.

In order to help our residents during rough ecomonic times, our department heads put a tremendous amount of effort into the budget and we all respect the fact that the money in our budget isn't really ours, it belongs to the taxpayer. We look at every item to make sure we are speding appropriately. Our tax payers deserve to have their money spent responsibly so they can keep more in their own pockets.

How will you get to know and understand the needs of those you represent in Warren County?

I go to as many events as I possibly can to speak with different groups around the county, and I attend local meetings whenever possible, and I am available via email and phone at any time. Speaking with residents is the best way to find out what the needs are in our County, and I will continue to seek out opportunities to meet and speak with people if re-elected.

What will be your priorities for representing Warren County?

-We have been working with the NJBPU to get as much federal money as possible into NJ and our county to make sure every home has high speed internet options. It is my goal to get this done with the state within the next couple of years.

-We need to continue to put forth responsible budgets and control spending while providing the county with everything it needs. Grants and shared services are ways we can continue to do so, as well as continuing our pay as you go methodolgy for large projects.

-Preserving our way of life here is very important and I will continue to find ways to control deterimental traffic on our county roads as well as preserving our farms and open spaces, and supporting our local businesses.

-Working with our state and federal elected representatives, I'll make sure Warren County's needs are a top priority for our representatives.

--I want to continue to increase our communication with residents and increase technilogical solutions to dealing with government, implementing as many online forms and informational databases as possible.

-Through our bicennetial celebrations, I am working with the committee to bring attention to what makes Warren County the best county in NJ to live in, in an effort to increase tourism to our area and attract businesses that fit into our way of life here.

-We still have many social issues to deal with, such as addiction and mental health issues, and I am committed to promoting and enhancing the many services we offer through the county or our partners so that those who need help will get the help they need.

What else do you want to share that would convince voters you are the right candidate for the future of Warren County?

Since becoming a commissioner, I have continued to maintain fiscally responsible budgets that allow our residents to keep more of their money in their own pocket; we have increased our communication with our residents to ensure they know what is going on with our county, most recently with our monthly newsletter; we have undertaken massive traffic studies and have consistently pushed back on traffic issues with new development, while also working with local leaders to institute better ways of handling inappropriate traffic on our county roads. And there is more to come, as we work with the NJDOT to continue to improve safety on our county roads. I have supported difficult preservation projects to make sure they crossed the finish line to make sure our farms remain successful. I have been working closing with the BPU to get the funding into our county to make sure every home has access to high-speed internet. I am here to listen to the needs of my constituents and am always looking at new ways to improve how the county does business with its residents.

We have a great, affordable way of living here in Warren County that should be preserved and enhanced appropriately, and I will continue to do all I can as a commissioner to make sure it stays that way. I am running to serve all residents from Hardwick to Pohatcong and to make sure the county is providing the best services possible to all in our community.