Lori Ciesla is slated to become the first woman in 22 years to lead the Warren County Board of Commissioners when county government is reorganized in January.

A former Lopatcong council president, Sislo was elected to the freeholder council in 2020 after Richard Gardner declined to run for a seventh term. She won the Republican primary with 85% of the vote against Ted Tomaszewski and then defeated Democrat Theresa Bender Chapman by 12,348 votes, 60%-39%, in the general election.

She is expected to seek re-election to a second term this year.

The last woman to lead Warren County government was Democrat Ann Stone, who took the post in 2000 before giving way to Republican Michael Doherty. Dougherty went on to serve as an assemblyman and state senator before winning election as Warren County’s surrogate in November.

For six years beginning in 1995, a woman served as Freeholder director: Republican Susan Dickey in 1995, 1996, 1998 and 1999, and Stone in 1997 and 2000.

Sisla is a strong political ally of state Sen. Douglas Steinhardt (R-Lopatcong), the longtime chairman of the Warren County Republican Party. In 2020, she became the treasurer of Lead Right, a super PAC created by Steinhardt when he was trying to run for governor.

She served as a commissioner of the Joint Delaware River Toll Bridge Commission.

Ciesla ran as an independent for mayor in 2014 after Tom McKay won the GOP primary to succeed Steinhardt, who did not seek re-election. McKay was later censured by the board after he was accused of harassment.

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