STATEMENT FROM HEATHER DARLING
I am announcing my candidacy for Morris County Surrogate. Current Surrogate John Pecoraro is retiring at the end of his term.
My 15 years of legal and business experience in private practice, having provided legal representation to many individuals in the Morris County Surrogate’s Court along with my personal experiences will ensure that the benefits to the individuals served by this office are maximized.
Each and every day the media is replete with stories of seniors being scammed and it kills me when I hear about our seniors being taken advantage of. I grew up with only one parent and he was a senior by the time I was 10 years old. I saw people try over and over to take advantage of him for no reason other than his age.
As a Freeholder, most members of the community who contacted me for assistance contacted me about their elderly parents or children with special needs. I realized that this is an area where I can make a real difference for the people of Morris County.
The senior and special needs populations are often ignored and left to fend for themselves. When relatives do try and help with benefits, housing or medical appointments, they find themselves shut out of the process. A guardian is a person who has been appointed by the court to conduct the general care and control of another person. For seniors and citizens with special needs who are becoming adults, guardianship proceedings are handled through the Surrogate’s Court. Most people do not know much about the Surrogate’s Court, the benefits that can be obtained or how to go about obtaining guardianships.
This vacancy in the Surrogate’s Office offers an opportunity for me to bring new ideas and make significant changes for the benefit of seniors and special needs citizens in Morris County.
Although I love being a Freeholder, there is a need in Morris County that I believe I am the perfect person to fill and through which I can help some of our most vulnerable citizens. The Surrogate’s Office is most often associated with Probate matters but there is more to it. As a legal practitioner representing clients in the Morris County Surrogate’s Court, including having served as a court appointed guardian, I have a strong grasp of the inner workings of the Surrogate’s Office from an attorney perspective and, sadly, I have had opportunities to visit for probate matters within my family. These experiences help me to see where and how the needs of clients and their representatives can be served.
As Surrogate, I will ensure the Morris County Surrogate’s Office has a high level of visibility and becomes a well known and accessible resource for seniors, special needs citizens and their families. I love serving the public and I realize that the Surrogate’s office is where I can benefit the people of Morris County on an individual basis.