South Jersey woman spurred into politics by Facebook post wins Freeholder seat

Ashley Bennett won a seat as Atlantic County Freeholder in the most recent election (Bennett for Freeholder)

Ashley Bennett won a seat as Atlantic County Freeholder in the most recent election (Bennett for Freeholder)

A Facebook post has ended up costing an Atlantic County Freeholder his job as a woman who objected to what he shared online defeated him in Tuesday’s election.

Ashley Bennett was one of several women who went to the freeholder meeting in January, demanding an apology from John Carman for sharing on Facebook:

“Will the women’s protest end in time for them to cook dinner?”

He would not apologize, saying it was a joke. That spurred Bennett to run against him for Freeholder.

“It was a spark to run, pushback toward these archaic ideals and the mockery of women. But I have a true desire to serve my community and there are things that need to change,” she said.

It was Bennett’s first run for political office. She has worked as an EMT and now as a professional psychiatric emergency screener. She says she could not have made the run without so much support from colleagues at work.

They would make it so much easier she said, “I’m going to stay late, so you can leave. I’m going to come early so you can go to an event. I’ll switch a shift with you. So, there is just a culture of cooperation and teamwork.”

After thanking his supporters on Facebook after the election Carman posted:

“Apparently the good Lord has other plans for me, so I will continue to seek and serve in another direction.”

Bennett says the experience has taught her not to wait. “Whatever it is you want to do, do it! Don’t ever wait for someone to tell you it’s your turn. It is always your turn if you believe that it is. And that time is always now,” she said. “If you’re afraid, do it afraid because you never know what the outcome will be.”

As for what her priorities will be, Bennett says she’s working on how to improve Atlantic County’s response to the opioid crisis.

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