What is a freeholder? New Jersey is the only state to currently use the term “freeholder,” whereas most states refer to the position as commissioners or counselors, according to the Atlantic County website. The word originated from the English term, insinuating that only men who owned their land outright could contribute to the government.
Fitzpatrick resented this terminology because of it’s “connotations of misogyny and racism,” as she describes. To fight these implications, Fitzpatrick brought forward a previously written resolution that requested a shift from “freeholder” to “county commissioner.” This resolution was passed this past summer and the name change will begin on January 1, 2020.
As an Atlantic County native, Fitzpatrick first decided to run for the Board of Chosen Freeholders after being disappointed with the behavior of the previous freeholder board. “I thought, ‘somebody needs to step up here and be a voice for people like me,’ because I didn’t feel like I was represented,” she said.
As the top vote-getter in her last freeholder election, she received immense support from her constituents as a woman with working-class experiences.
As a freeholder, Fitzpatrick has made several positive changes for Atlantic County. She recently pushed for later board meeting times so that working-class individuals could attend, and contributed to the addition of two new bus shelters in Egg Harbor Township.
Fitzpatrick also understood the importance of supporting small business owners, especially amid COVID-19-related government shut-downs. She recently proposed a support program which would give small businesses interest-free loans until spring 2021.
According to her website, Fitzpatrick also advocates for climate change reform, mobile OB/GYM care, greater representation of immigrant and marginalized individuals, and equal share of assets and purchasing power across all 23 Atlantic County municipalities
Caren Fitzpatrick is a lifelong resident of Atlantic County, having resided in Pleasantville, Somers Point and Linwood, where she graduated from Mainland Regional High School. Caren earned an AAS degree in Accounting from Atlantic Cape Community College (formerly known as Atlantic Community College), a B.S. degree in Administration from the Thomas Edison State College and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Stockton University.
Caren is currently the Director of Finance and Administration at Meet AC, Inc., the sales and marketing force that supports the Atlantic City Convention Center. Caren has worked in finance for more than 20 years in both for-profit and non-profit organizations, achieving deep and varied experiences in budgeting, forecasting and fiscal responsibility.
She is married and the mother of two sons and grandmother of a beautiful and smart granddaughter and grandson. Caren’s core beliefs include an individual’s right to equal opportunities. She believes we are all better off when we learn about one another and celebrate our differences as well as our similarities. A feminist, she supports all people having an equal voice in their lives. “We all prosper when we have a variety of opinions and thoughts regarding the decisions we make, and everybody brings something unique to the table.”