By Caroline O’Brien
Registered voters in six New Jersey Congressional districts will elect their party’s candidate for the November federal congressional midterm election Tuesday, June 5.
United States House Representatives serve two-year terms and are up for reelection every even year. Twelve New Jersey candidates will serve in the U.S. House, one from each congressional district.
U.S. House representative in District 11 since 1995, Rodney Frelinghuysen, announced he will not be seeking re-election in the district which encompasses County College of Morris and most of the rest of Morris County. This will guarantee change for New Jersey’s 11th district.
Neighboring districts with primaries in June include District 5 which includes most of Sussex, Warren, Bergen, and Passaic Counties where incumbent Josh Gottheimer hopes to represent the Democratic Party again. Also, incumbent republican Leonard Lance is seeking re-election in District 7 which encompasses most of Hunterdon and Somerset Counties, parts of Mercer County, and some Morris County municipalities including Mount Olive, Chester Township and Borough, Washington Township, Long Hill, and Chatham.
Mikie Sherrill, a Democratic candidate seeking election for District 11, is displeased with current policy makers.
“After promising not to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Rodney Frelinghuysen broke his word and voted with Donald Trump to end protections for preexisting conditions, let insurance companies charge individuals over 50 five times more than others, and to strip away health care from nearly 30,000 district residents,” her website says. “Rodney Frelinghuysen got in line and voted for Donald Trump’s tax plan that eliminates state and local tax deductions. This is a $4,000 tax increase for most families in our district. He sided with Donald Trump to defund planned parenthood, cut education funding, and has the worst environmental record of any member of the New Jersey delegation.”
Mark Washburne, a CCM history professor and Democratic candidate for District 11, said congress should do a better job of holding President Donald Trump accountable.
“In drafting the 1787 United States Constitution, our Founding Fathers anticipated that we would have a rogue President from time to time as they had experience dealing with rogue kings,” Washburne said. “They purposely established a three-branch government with checks and balances. The drafters of the Constitution assigned Congress the task of being the check on a rogue President … The current Congressman from New Jersey’s 11th District refuses to fulfill his Constitutional duties by speaking out and being a check on this rogue President.”
Tamara Harris, a Democrat seeking election, said she is confident in her adversity to current legislation. She believes planning for the resiliency of our state and our nation will spur growth. Harris advocates research and development of green technology as means to provide new jobs and tax revenues. She supports universal Pre-School to give more children across the country a fair opportunity to succeed. According to her campaign website, the GOP’s current budget plan would remove $2.4 billion in grants for teacher training and $1.2 billion in funding for summer and afterschool programs. Students need support from teachers who prepare them for their future beyond the classroom. Students need more options to graduate without debt and relieve existing debt. Undergraduate and graduate students need options for work while in school, including programs such as Federal Work-Study program. Harris will work to make higher education more affordable and accessible in NJ11’s college rich district. She believes in retaining functioning parts of the Affordable Care Act and fixing the parts that need improvement. She supports universal background checks on all gun purchases and banning assault weapons and prohibiting technology that increases a weapon’s rate of fire and destructive capabilities. She is Pro Choice, and pro-education for our teens as they begin to make life choices that can affect their physical and sexual health and economic viability. Harris also believes immigration system is broken, and needs to be fixed, replacing it with a safer and more accountable system that includes a path to citizenship for immigrants. Harris also supports continued investment in our roads, bridges, and tunnels, to ensure the safety of residents.
“Republicans in Congress recently passed a slew of tax cuts for the ultra-rich and big corporations that will burden New Jersey’s middle class and working families with higher taxes,” Harris said on her website. “The Republicans in Congress who vote for this tax-plan are sacrificing the middle class and creating extreme disparities in wealth that will impact economic mobility for generation to come. My advocacy for students, singles, families, and seniors requires me to stand firm against these Republican tax giveaways.”
Allison Heslin, a Democratic candidate seeking election, knows collecting sufficient information is a critical first step to policy reform. According to her website, Heslin advocates investing in renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, and reducing energy consumption through energy efficient technology while also creating jobs. In addition, she promotes modernizing waste management practices to divert organic waste into composting facilities to prevent a full 18 percent of methane emissions. Management and protection of our forests and oceans is crucial to support their natural role of absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere, while also supporting wildlife and biodiversity. She considers the Hudson River tunnel is a critical piece of regional and national infrastructure, which needs an immediate guarantee of federal funding contributions. Heslin supports a tax system in which wealthy and corporations pay their fair share, in order to adequately fund public services without overburdening middle income earners. Heslins campaign also address’ different forms of institutional violence in order to create a more just society.
“Only half of undocumented migrants in the U.S. crossed the border illegally, the other half arrive legally through official points of entry and overstay their entry period,” Heslin said on her campaign website. “Additionally, of those apprehended by Border Patrol in 2016, less than half were from Mexico. The national focus on reducing undocumented populations by targeting Mexican migrants through increased border security does not match the reality of contemporary migration, and policy proposals based on this misrepresentation of migration will not address their stated purpose.”
Mitchell Cobert, a Democratic candidate, advocates funding by the federal government for the Gateway Tunnel Project, according to his campaign website. He plans to develop a fair immigration system protecting our national security and bipartisan solutions that benefit all and put immigrants, particularly Dreamers, on a path to citizenship. He believes in drug abuse preventions and cure over prisons and jails. Will work to ban offshore drilling and fracking and support transition to clean, solar, tidal and wind energy. Cobert will fight any attempts to privatize Social Security and work to expand benefits for all recipients. He will also work to advance equal rights and opportunities of all persons with disabilities to help them fully realize their potential as contributing members of society.
Mikie Sherrill, a Democratic candidate, calls climate change an economic and national security issue that affects all of us. According to her website, she is a Naval Academy graduate, navy pilot, former federal prosecutor, and is ready to fight back against Trump. Sherrill supports access to affordable, quality education, healthcare, and will never support cuts to social security and Medicare. She believes the federal government should have no say on when, how, or with whom women decide to start a family. She also supports policy to keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals, domestic abusers, and terrorists.
As a Democrat seeking election, Washburne has relied only on voluntary sharing through social media and has declined all monetary donations for the primary election. If elected to Congress, Washburne said he will speak out and hold President Trump accountable for his often dangerous, unethical, and illegal behavior. Washburne supports strengthening the Affordable Care Act to ensure more people are covered. According to his website, Washburne considers a landmark study in 1993 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that bringing a gun into the home puts everyone at much greater risk. The National Rifle Association pushed Congress in 1995 to stop the C.D.C. from spending taxpayer money on research that advocated gun control. Congress passed the Dickey Amendment in 1996 and cut funding that effectively ended the C.D.C.’s study of gun violence as a public health issue. Washburne supports rescinding the Dickey Amendment and allowing the C.D.C. to be able to study firearm violence in the U.S. He also supports universal background checks before purchasing a firearm and gun control measures to remove weapons meant for war off American streets.
According to his campaign website, Patrick Allocco, a Republican candidate, decided to take up the political torch that Rodney Frelinghuysen is putting down. He believes votes matter and District 11 deserves a fast and easy way of conveying thoughts on every bill presented to congress.
Peter de Neufville is a republican candidate seeking election to the U.S. House to represent the 11th Congressional District of New Jersey and, according to New Jersey Globe, wants to improve gun background check standards and combat national debt.
Antony Ghee, an investment banker and Army Reserve major, announced he is seeking election a day after Assemblyman Anthony Bucco announced he would not run for Congress. His campaign website accepts contributions except from corporations. He has an undergraduate degree in Business Administration, with honors, from Virginia Union and my Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law. In addition, he received a Masters of Law from Georgetown University School of Law, specializing in Securities & Financial Regulation. He is currently employed as a director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in the Global Wealth & Investment Management Chief Investment Office in New York City.
Martin Hewitt is running as a Republican in order to serve all the people of District 11. According to his website, Hewitt decided to run as a moderate Republican because, while he feels both parties have a strong heritage, it is the Republican Party that has lost its way. He is running as a moderate Republican after listening to many of the constituents who believe that Congressman Frelinghuysen no longer represents their best interests. He believes in freedom of speech and that all people have certain rights including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Hewitt advocates healthcare as a right for all people. He also believes the government should not dictate who to love or who to marry.
Jay Webber is a republican member of the New Jersey General Assembly, representing District 26. Webber was elected to the chamber in 2007 and was re-elected to a new term in 2017. His campaign website states Webber is leading the effort on transparency to put all of New Jersey’s taxpayer receipts and expenditures online for taxpayers to see. Webber is also leading the way in an innovative bipartisan effort to emphasize prevention and early treatment of chronic disease for public employees, which will improve the quality of outcomes for the employees and save money for taxpayers. Webber is an advocate for expanding educational opportunities for kids stuck in our lowest-performing schools, by giving them a chance to go to a school of their choice. As for higher education, he has proposed innovative ways to make college more affordable to students and their families, by allowing them to finance their educations in ways that will minimize student loan debt.
Polls are open June 5 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. If a New Jersey voter does not provide valid identification at the time of registration, he or she must show identification at the polling place, student IDs accepted. Early voting permits residents to cast ballots in person at a polling place prior to an election. To vote absentee, an application may be submitted in person to county election officials until 3 p.m. June 4, or if sent by mail, it must be received by election officials no later than May 29.