Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios is Director of the Board of Chosen Freeholders. Freeholder Director Rios' accomplishments reflect a lifelong dedication to improving the quality of life for all people through effective, efficient and dedicated government.
A longtime Middlesex County resident, Freeholder Director Rios graduated from Woodbridge High School, class of 1970. In 2000, he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Labor Safety and Health from National Labor College in Silver Springs, Md.
Freeholder Director Rios has over 30 years’ experience working for Conrail Corporation. During that time, he held many offices for the Oak Island Local 6965 Transportation Communications International Union AFL-CIO, including serving as President for 10 years (1993-2003). Director Rios also has served as a certified HAZMAT instructor and training consultant. From his time at Conrail to his current role as Freeholder Director, he has been a staunch advocate for safety and health in the workplace.
Before his tenure on the Board, Freeholder Director Rios was elected four times (1981, 2000-2008) to the Borough of Carteret Council, serving as Council President from 2003 to 2008. During his time on Borough Council, he proposed the creation of the Carteret Veterans Affairs Committee and introduced other initiatives to honor local veterans. Director Rios also served as a member of the Governor’s Ethnic Advisory Commission and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.
In his capacity as a Middlesex County Freeholder, Director Rios has served as Chairman of the Public Health and Education Committee (2008-2010) and Chairman of the Law and Public Safety Committee (2011). Director Rios was appointed Freeholder Director in March 2013 and was most recently re-elected in 2018.
Among his chief accomplishments as Freeholder Director are:
• Establishing the Veterans Housing Assistance Program, through which more than 400 veterans and their families have been helped. As a result of this and other veteran programs, in 2016, Middlesex County was certified by three federal agencies as achieving “functional zero” for veterans’ homelessness. Functional zero means that Middlesex County has the infrastructure and systems in place to ensure that any veteran experiencing homelessness will be able to get the support they need to quickly obtain a permanent home.
• Spearheading the 2015 creation of the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund, which allocates $10 million each year to expand arts and cultural venues and programming to all 25 municipalities. Projects funded by this initiative include the Avenel Performing Arts Center, and the forthcoming New Brunswick Performing Arts Center and The Arts Institute of Middlesex County.
• Maintaining the County’s fiscal responsibility by drawing down debt, which has been reduced by $237 million since 2014, as well as increasing the County’s retained surplus to over $74 million. This has enabled the County to maintain a AAA bond rating for 18 consecutive years.
Director Rios resides in Carteret with his wife, Michelina. They have two daughters and two granddaughters.