Cannon Named Freeholder Chair as Dems Continue to Dominate Mercer

January 14, 2016

Ann Cannon of East Windsor was selected by her colleagues as the next Chairperson of the seven-member Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

More than 200 people were in attendance for the annual reorganization meeting where Cannon was nominated Chair, after being sworn in to a sixth term.

The Freeholders also passed ten resolutions including appointing attorney Michael Herbert, of Herbert, VanNess, Cayci, and Goodell P.C., as their counsel, and Rob Davis as “Director of Reearch and Special Projects.”

The Board did not invite members of the public to comment on the resolutions, or open the meeting up to the public at any point.

Cannon was nominated by her colleagues to take over for Trenton resident Sam Frisby, the only person of color on the seven-member board.  Pasquale “Pat” Colavita of Hamilton was nominated Vice Chair.

Ann Cannon
Ann Cannon

A retired former employee of JCPenny who has lived in East Windsor for 37 years, Cannon currently serves as the Freeholders’ representative to the NJ Association of Counties (NJAC), which selected her as the organizations President last year.

Cannon graduated from the University of Delaware, where she studied history and sociology, and she has family in the Wilmington area.  She has been in politics since 1990, when she began serving on the East Windsor Town Council.

“I’ll do things just as we always do, which is the right way,” said Cannon, who has been on the Freeholder Board for 22 years, including two previous stints as Chair.

Cannon was first elected to the Freeholder Board in 1994, in a close election that she won by just one vote.

All seven Freeholders, and the four other officials elected countywide are Democrats.  The party has been “in control” for 22 years, according to one board member.

The county has also seen no change in the person at the top since 2003.

“I’m well aware of all that this office entails and I am humbled by your faith in me,” said Brian Hughes, the County Executive since 2003 who was re-elected in November.

Hughes has been an elected official since 1997 when he first joined the Freeholder board.

“Mercer County has been the greatest joy that I could possibly have,” Hughes said.  “It has taught me how to work with people.

Hughes was sworn into another term in the county’s highest office by his brother John Hughes, a federal circuit court judge, administered the oath of office in front of the packed room at the War Memorial in Trenton.

In addition to the swearing-in of Executive Hughes, and Freeholders Cannon, Colavita, and Frisby, the night also included the swearing-in of County Clerk Paula Sollami-Covello.

All five Democrats won handily in the November general election.

The star-studded event featured remarks from guests of honor including former Gov. Jim Florio and Mercer County’s new Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman.

Florio said there was no county in New Jersey with “a more progressive, professional or stable government than Mercer County,” and said the county and its leaders were setting a good example for others with their “collegial civility.”

“It’s a message for leaders or those who want to be leaders,” Florio said.  “To get respect, you have to give respect.”

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