New Jersey is the Garden State and that is because we have one of the biggest and best agriculture industries (valued at over $1 billion a year) in the country. Here in South Jersey, we have a strong farming history and these family farms work every day to put food on our tables. It is imperative that we promote policy that will protect this industry and its huge contribution to our economic success.
Education is the essence of American opportunity. A quality education levels the playing field and makes the system fair, but it has become unaffordable for so many South Jersey families. The skyrocketing costs of a college education are saddling many with outrageous student loan debt, which stops young families from becoming first-time home buyers and stagnates economic growth. We must get serious about this financial crisis, and reduce the existing burden so that we can grow our economy.
In Congress, I will strongly defend the civil rights of every person. Our civil liberties are fundamental to what it means to be an American. I will fight every day to ensure that every American is treated equally regardless of race, religion, color, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
The Great Recession, coupled with the collapse of four casinos and the loss of 10,000 jobs, hit South Jersey harder than almost any other region in the United States. Atlantic County has the highest foreclosure rate in the Nation, and for years we have lagged behind the rest of the country in unemployment. Thankfully, Atlantic City appears on the rebound, which will be further bolstered by the legalization of sports betting. But we must do more. We have to work to bring manufacturing jobs back to South Jersey. We have to do all that we can to promote our vital tourism economy. Government needs to do more to help, not hinder, our agriculture and fishing industries. There is so much potential here in South Jersey, and I will work every day to fight to bring jobs back here for our working families.
I’m proud of the work we have done in New Jersey to tackle income inequality by passing laws to ensure equal pay for equal work. Now, I want to champion that policy in Washington and require equal pay for every woman in America! The time is now.
Commercial and recreational fishing combine to make one of the biggest industries in New Jersey, and an industry that is vital to coastal South Jersey. Cape May, Atlantic City, and Barnegat Light are three of the busiest fishing ports on the entire East Coast, bringing in billions of dollars of economic activity to our State and its working families. I have been an ardent advocate for fishermen in Trenton, and I will take that fight to Congress.
As a Dentist, I have a firsthand understanding of the American healthcare system and the need to make it both accessible and affordable. Instead of working to address the root problem of the high cost of healthcare, Congress has increased costs on all of us, and are even trying to make it tougher for those with preexisting conditions to get the coverage they need. Together, we must focus on reforms to the Affordable Care Act that protect our families and small businesses, and work to lower the high cost of healthcare and prescription drugs.
America is a place of hope and opportunity where you can work hard, support your family and create a better life. That dream has become increasingly harder to reach because of our broken immigration system, and we need new approaches that are tough, practical, and fair. We need comprehensive reform that must start by strengthening border security and cracking down on employers that knowingly circumvent the law. Additionally, by requiring employers to verify workers we will reduce the hiring of unauthorized workers, increase the accessibility of visas for high-skilled workers, and allow law-abiding immigrant families to come out of the shadows, pay taxes, play by the rules, and earn their citizenship. We need realistic approaches to protect children that came here as minors and grew up identifying as American, and policies that treat them fairly.
There is arguably no more important relationship in the world than that of the United States of America and Israel. Our two countries have had a unique relationship since President Truman was the first Head of State to formally recognize the State of Israel in May, 1948, and that special bond continues today. It is a relationship that extends beyond the purely tactical, but speaks to a commonality of shared ideals and values. The United States must never waiver from its steadfast position that the State of Israel has an undeniable right to exist and thrive with the same sense of security and economic self-determination as any other nation in the Middle East. I believe that we must continue this relationship, and do everything we can to strengthen this bond. As Congressman, I will fight to continue this relationship as it is imperative to our national security.
As a longtime advocate for consumer protections, I strongly support net neutrality. The attacks on net neutrality directly drive up costs for consumers, shortchange innovation, and limit our freedom. Net Neutrality protections require internet service providers to give their subscribers equal access to every website, saving consumers money; now that is has been repealed, Internet Service Providers have been given license to charge separate outlandish rates for basic services that Americans use daily. This is unacceptable, and I will fight to restore net neutrality, and a free and open internet, for generations to come.
The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority recently called reigniting expansion of casino gaming to North Jersey a “top priority,” despite voters’ rejection of this failed ballot question in every single county, and by more than a 3:1 margin statewide. Just as Atlantic City is experiencing new-found economic momentum and excitement over our victory to bring sports betting to South Jersey, the wolves are back at our door. And we will not back down. As Congressman, I will fight against North Jersey casinos and will never let it happen! We must not allow anyone to breathe life into this failed idea, and I guarantee they will face the wrath of our region as we stand united to protect South Jersey families.
For years, I have fought to protect our shore-based economy, and I authored the law to prevent offshore drilling in New Jersey. In response to our efforts, Congress is pushing a radical scheme to financially punish New Jersey taxpayers with hundreds of millions of dollars in federal fees. You can count on me to block this irresponsible legislation, which violates our State’s rights, puts our shore in peril, and would blackmail our residents. This will never happen, not on my watch!
As a cornerstone of America’s safety net, Social Security enables millions of Americans to retire with an invaluable peace of mind, and Medicare is an effective tool that provides greater healthcare access to millions of low-income Americans, preventing greater poverty. Social Security and Medicare are two of the most successful public programs ever created, and have shielded generations of older Americans from poverty. House Speaker Paul Ryan has been working to dismantle our seniors’ economic security by privatizing Social Security and cutting Medicare. These programs are a handshake agreement between the federal government and senior citizens that must be honored, and I will not stand for any attempts to undermine this commitment. Paying these benefits today is not enough; we must ensure the long-term solvency for future generations. As Congressman, I pledge to:
We can do better, and as a state lawmaker, I have always fought for tax cuts that benefit our families and small businesses that create local jobs. We need tax reform that benefits middle-class families, not the multi-millionaires and corporate giants. It is time for a real middle-class tax cut that benefits hard-working South Jersey families and small businesses.
There is no commitment more important to our country than that of defending it, as millions of brave men and women have done. Our veterans are the heroes of our nation and deserve to be treated as such for being staunch defenders of our freedom. It is shameful that returning veterans often lack job opportunities, access to education, and critical healthcare services, and it is even more shameful that some of our heroes are left homeless and unemployed. As Congressman, I will fight to reverse these failures and I will work tirelessly until this is no longer the sad reality for the brave men and women of our military.
As it is embedded in our constitution, I believe the right to vote is universal and inalienable for all Americans. I fully support the Voting Rights Amendment Act, which would restore vital voter protections lost in the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights has documented 148 separate instances of voter discrimination between 2000 and 2014. We must eliminate this injustice and ensure that our citizens will not be intimidated or discriminated against when exercising their right to vote.