While Hal’s father held tremendous stature in the community, no one expected as much from his quiet son who became a small business owner of a local furniture store; that is until he entered the world of politics. Hal was elected as the youngest Sussex County freeholder ever to hold office. Wirths ran for the county’s Board of Chosen Freeholders as a Republican and served as a freeholder for nearly a decade from 2000-2010. In this position, Hal took a leadership role in cutting spending, staff and budgets as well as selling the county nursing home, which was losing money to a private operator.
Hal’s success as a freeholder was recognized by newly elected Governor Chris Christie, who appointed Hal as New Jersey Commissioner of Labor. He served in this position from 2010 until 2017. The anti-fraud initiatives launched by Commissioner
Wirths were spectacular, to say the least. Hal launched a multi- pronged attack on fraudsters by employing computer software and common sense business practices to protect the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund (UI Trust Fund.) The measures, most designed to prevent benefits from being paid out undeservedly, are conservatively estimated to have saved taxpayers approximately $800 million since March 2011. Furthermore, the program helped to bring the UI Trust Fund, which had gone into debt in 2009, back into full solvency by May 1, 2014, which was two years ahead of expectations. The continued financial soundness of the UI Trust Fund has resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in tax savings for New Jersey employers.
Today it appears that Hal’s days of public service may not be over yet. He recently won the Republican Party’s nomination for candidate for the assembly seat of the 24th district in November of 2017. He also helped establish Noble Community Bank, which today is part of Highlands State Bank. Hal currently serves on the Highlands Bank board of directors.
Debbie Wirths, Hal’s wife, is not to be underestimated as an active member of his various campaigns. She also serves as a commissioner on the local election board. When asked about her thoughts of living at Crystal Springs Debbie remarked, “It’s like being on vacation all year. Between Crystal Springs and our home in Lake George, it’s as if I have two vacation homes.”