President Britnee N. Timberlake has answered the call to serve as the legislative leader of one of the largest counties in the State of New Jersey with a budget of over $700 million dollars.
President Timberlake is the youngest Freeholder elected in the state of New Jersey and the only current sitting African-American female president.
Her commitment to public service helps positively transform the lives of people in and outside of Essex County. As President, she has targeted and addressed several key issues affecting her fellow citizens including home ownership assistance, small business financing, foreclosures, immigration, and public safety. Her accomplishments resonate through her continuous work in discovering ways to improve the county she calls home.
In an effort to level the financial playing field for small, minority, and women owned businesses, President Timberlake developed innovative approaches to help open the door to financing. She wrote, and the board unanimously passed, a law "Establishing the Essex County Banking Review Program" requiring banks the county has tax payer deposits with to come before the board to show proof of their efforts to reduce foreclosures, provide loans to entrepreneurs, assist low- to moderate-income communities, and maintain vacant homes they own that if left blight attract crime and reduce neighboring property values. Furthermore, in response to the rising cost of living and stagnant wages, President Timberlake was the first elected in New Jersey to take action by working with the board and Working Families to unanimously pass a resolution in "Support of the State Raising the Minimum Wage to $15.00 an hour". Additionally, in a time where public safety has been a national focus, she was proactive and successful in advocating for the Sheriff's department to obtain body cameras for county sheriff officers.
President Timberlake understands the value of embracing those from various countries around the world and the benefits of having a diverse community. In 2007, she traveled as a church leader with Calvary Baptist Church of East Orange, New Jersey to do missionary work throughout Jamaica. As Freeholder President, she created a Citizen Immigration Services committee which warmly welcomes people of all nationalities to Essex County and for the first time recognized the Caribbean community by way of a festival. She partnered with the great Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. to raise local support for the Congressman as he boldly led the charge on the federal level to stop the horrific acts of Boko Haram (a Nigerian terrorist group). As a result of a visit from parliamentary committee members of Ghana, she forged relationships to better bridge dialogue between the country and the county.
Outside of being an elected official, she is the founding Executive Director of a nonprofit affordable housing organization called the Essex Community Land Trust (ECLT), which strengthens communities by providing permanently affordable housing and financial empowerment opportunities for working families and individuals throughout Essex County. In this position, she has been successful in leveraging over 2 million dollars to be used to create affordable for-sale housing in suburban communities for low- to moderate- income families.
Through all she has done and continues to do for the people of Essex County, President Timberlake recognizes the urgent need to set a strong foundation for the future of our society. She is part of a generation that has graduated into a failing job and housing market after accumulating insurmountable student loan debt. She takes on the responsibility to work hard each day to assist those affected by the turns of the economy and believes it is important to set good legislation and smart practical policies in place so those in need not only to survive, but they thrive during tough times. In response to the rising costs of education, she piloted College Bound Cookies (CBC) which helped children raise money for their very own 529 College Savings Accounts.
She is the proud daughter of Philip and Cathy Timberlake. Her father served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne while her mother was an educator of the mentally and physically challenged. Through her parents' example, she understood at a young age, the importance of compassion. It is through this principle, that she has dedicated her education and professional career to helping people. She worked hard and was blessed to earn a Bachelors of Arts and Sciences in Political Science with a minor in Religious Studies in addition to a Masters of Public Administration concentration in Nonprofit Management all from Seton Hall University.
President Timberlake has served as an AmeriCorps Member in Union County, past housing chair of her local NAACP and graduated from EmergeNJ.
It is with great humility that she pledges to continue serving those in need in an elected capacity as the board's President and Essex County District 3 Freeholder.