I’m pleased to share a campaign update with Blue Jersey’s readers today. Rosi has been after me for a while to write here and I’m happy to finally get the opportunity. As many of you know, my name is Ed Potosnak and I’m the Democratic candidate for New Jersey’s 7th district. I am a science teacher and a small business owner determined to take my real world experience to Washington to get the job done for our communities. I’m running because I am concerned that America is losing its edge and my opponent Congressman Leonard Lance is more concerned with keeping his own job in Washington than with the job creation, industry development, and improvements in educational opportunities needed to make sure America remains competitive in the increasingly global economy.
This past week, I’ve been taking Mr. Lance to task on his conflicting statements and actions regarding the appropriations process since his 2008 campaign. When State Senator Lance was campaigning for Congress, he signed a pledge stating that he would not request federal earmarks. Once in Washington, he quickly sought to obtain earmarks (nearly $21 million in requests). Mr. Lance changed his stance on earmarks again this year, under coercion of the conservative Republican leadership. This led a conservative watchdog group to give Leonard Lance the “Jekyll and Hyde” award this April.
Just last week, Mr. Lance complained to a constituent that New Jersey was a ‘donor state’ in terms of paying federal taxes and getting little in return. I agree: it is a major concern that we in the 7th district have the 13th highest tax burden of the 435 congressional districts and we receive a fraction of that money back from the federal government. Of course, when we have a representative like Mr. Lance who doesn’t ask for the funding, we’re certainly not going see an increase in tax revenues invested here. I’m tired of career politicians like Mr. Lance who act one way in Washington and then say what they think voters want to hear back at home. What the voters want to hear is an honest answer. I called out Mr. Lance on his earmark hypocrisy, and his office issued a weak denial, claiming he didn’t flip flop on the issue.
Follow me to the jump, for the timeline of this.
Let’s be clear on the timeline:
October 15, 2008: Lance signs Council for Citizens Against Government Waste no earmark pledge.
April 2009: Lance is named a “porker of the month” by Council for Citizens Against Government Waste in reference to his requests for earmarks during the FY2010 appropriations process.
February 2010: Lance declines to request earmarks for FY2011.
April 2010: Lance receives the Jekyll and Hyde Award from Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, “for his ever-changing stance on earmarks; first signing a no-earmark pledge, then receiving $21 million in earmarks, then supporting the Republican earmark moratorium.”
August 18, 2010: Lance campaigns in Westfield and remarks that he would like to see increased federal appropriations to New Jersey.
If that’s not flip flopping, I don’t know what is. I want to be clear where I stand on federal project requests (earmarks) – I will fight to bring resources back to the 7th district that will best address our needs and improve our communities. When I’m in Congress, I will establish a constituent advisory group to prioritize what projects need funding. I believe in transparency- the voters should know what requests are made on their behalf and they should know that their representative is looking out for their best interests and needs. A career politician like Leonard Lance might prefer to take his cues on earmarks from special interests and his political leadership, but I’d rather consult the voters.
Mr. Lance has been in elected office nearly a quarter century and since going to Washington, he has changed. We need to hold him accountable for results. Voters need to ask themselves: In the two years he’s been in Congress, has Mr. Lance worked harder for me than he has for his own re-election?
I’m not running for Congress for a job, I’m running to get a job done.