Virginia "Ginny" Haines already has her sights set on seeking a permanent seat on the Ocean County Board of Freeholders, after being appointed just over two weeks ago to succeed retired long-time member James Lacey of Brick.

The 69-year-old Haines of Toms River is only the second woman to serve on the Freeholder Board more than 30 years after Hazel Gluck and since it was established in 1850.

Haines, the former New Jersey Lottery Director, discussed her new role last week on "Townsquare Tonight" with host Tom Mongelli on WOBM-AM News Talk 1160 & 1310.

Haines has held elected state and municipal offices, but never a county post until now. So far she the transition on the all-male board has been smooth, noting she has known her fellow Republican Freeholders for a long time, adding that they treat her as an equal.

"They're all wonderful. I mean everyone is trying to do everything they can to try and help me in whatever way possible to feel comfortable," said Haines.

Haines will oversee various programs involving human and social services and transportation.

"If I can be in any way helpful to do what I can to continue the programs, and if down the road possibly come up with ideas for better programs, I'll work with the Freeholders and if they agree, then maybe we can do some things," Haines said. She added, "I'm hoping that there's going to be a lot of growth that we possibly can do, but we'll just have to wait and see."

 

Haines has served as a former Dover Township Committee member, but actually won her first elected office as clerk of the New Jersey Legislature in the mid-1980's. Running the office of now state Senator Robert W. Singer (R) when he was first elected to the state Assembly led Haines to a career in politics.

Haines grew up in Lakewood and credited her parents involvement in the Republican Party with instilling community involvement in her.

 

"You have to be caring and be compassionate, and have an understanding that are people that are in need, whatever it may be, and if you can try and help them in some way, whether it's big or small," Haines said. She added, "That's basically how I feel. I really care and there are very important issues because they affect a lot of people."

Haines said she rarely turns down a request to be involved or attend a meeting, even if it's not a board she serves on, because there's always something to learn from them.

It's no surprising that when the Freeholders first approached her about serving, she took the opportunity, pointing out that when she commits to something, she does it "100 percent."

 

Haines revealed that pending approval from a screening committee, she will run for Ocean County Freeholder in November.