OCEAN COUNTY – A few weeks ago Gerry P. Little announced that 2021 would be his last year, and that he would not run for re-election. That sparked immediate speculation about who would run in his place in this year’s primary and subsequent fall election.
Four-term Little Egg Harbor Township Committeewoman and recent mayor, Barbara “Bobbi Jo” Crea announced her candidacy for the spot. She hopes to fill the open seat created when Little retires from it at the end of the year.
Crea first served on the Little Egg Harbor Township Committee from 2002 to 2007. During her last two years she served as mayor. She was re-elected in 2017, serving as mayor in 2019 and 2020.
She is the Little Egg Harbor Republican Municipal Chairwoman and has served on County Committee since 1996. Crea retired in 1994 as a Senior Executive with the New Jersey Division of Taxation, where she managed a staff of hundreds of employees, and is a Certified Public Manager.
Crea said she decided to run for the position to keep the 5-0 GOP majority on the Ocean County Board of Commissioners and to stand with her colleagues to fight back against Governor Phil Murphy’s “radical, far-left agenda,” just like they have on Township Committee in Little Egg Harbor.
“We run conservative government in Little Egg Harbor and we’re proud of it,” Crea said. She said the township has passed resolutions in 2020 and 2019 to make Little Egg Harbor a ‘sanctuary’ for the 2nd Amendment and legal gun owners, “while also declaring we will never be a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants.”
Crea said this “was our way of sending a message to Trenton about our conservative values here in Ocean County.” She added that she admires the willingness of the current County Commissioners to weigh in on important state and national issues.
The candidate said she was also proud of her local record of delivering results and safeguarding the special quality of life in her hometown. Crea also pledged to work hand-in-hand with the county’s small businesses to rebuild and recover from the pandemic lockdown orders, while keeping county residents healthy and safe.
“We’ve secured more than $1.25 million in grants to hold down taxes, we’ve battled the opioid epidemic, we completed Veterans Park and enhanced Little Treasures Park, started a town wide dredging project, expanded community events for families, children, and seniors, and continue to restore our beaches to make Little Egg Harbor a destination for all residents,” Crea added.
She is a step-mother of two with six grandchildren and is recently widowed from her husband Richard. “My late husband always encouraged my public service and my family could not be more energized by my decision to run and serve.”
Crea is also a member of the Ocean County Republican Federation of Women, a parishioner at Saint Theresa’s, a member of the American Legion Auxiliary Post 493, and a Trustee of the Great Bay Regional Volunteer EMS along with other civic and charitable pursuits.
She added her thanks to Little saying, “he has earned his retirement and his legacy will endure. I wish him and his family a healthy, enjoyable, and long retirement.”
She acknowledged that Little who was chosen as this year’s Deputy Director of the Ocean County Commissioners during the board’s recent reorganization meeting, had served “as a United States Marine, our state during his time as Chief of Staff in the legislature, our county as a Freeholder, and his community in local office in Surf City.”
County Republican Chairman Frank Holman said that four or five have expressed interest, but they won’t know who the serious candidates are until January 16, the deadline to send resumes. The screening committee will interview candidates on February 6.