An issues-based campaign

Mark Alexander challenges Nia Gill to a series of debates. Promoted by Rosi.

Cross-posted at

I always believed in the power of normal people to make positive change through the political process. I know that our government can be a powerful force to help the most vulnerable among us, to lift up our children with quality educations, and to provide an engine that can create jobs and drive our economy. When I launched my campaign last July, I wanted to empower people, just as we did when I helped build the Obama campaign. From the ground up, one person at a time, one door at a time, one vote at a time. My campaign is about the working families in Clifton, East Orange, Montclair, and Orange.

As we come into the final two months of this campaign, I want to talk about issues that matter to me as a Democrat, and bring independent leadership to the 34th District. What families across the district don’t need is to witness another campaign where the issues that matter are pushed aside, and replaced with baseless, personal attacks that serve only to distract voters. From my days working with Senator Bradley, I always championed developing an electoral system that promoted ideas, empowered individuals, and gave the voting public the information necessary to participate in our democracy

As National Policy Director to Senator Barack Obama, I helped prepare him for twenty six debates over the course of the 2008 primaries. These debates helped voters across the country learn about the issues that mattered to our country, created a more informed electorate, and drove up turnout and excitement. It was an important exercise in democracy, and I am glad that our campaign participated in every one. We need an open dialogue on the issues that matter.

We can do that right here in the 34th District.

Every day, I am talking to normal folks at the train stations, supermarkets, and at their front doors. I am not naive to how political campaigns work, I know things are going to get heated in these last 60 days. As we get closer to Election Day, I know the pressure will ratchet up, and tensions will run high. But in the end, we must let the people decide who they want to represent them in Trenton.

With that spirit in mind, today I am asking Senator Gill to join me in a series of debates across Clifton, East Orange, Montclair, and Orange. Several organizations, including the NAACP and The League of Women Voters, already reached out to my campaign about hosting candidate forums and debates. I hope Senator Gill will join me for a total of twelve debates, three in each community, so we can give the voters in our district an accurate picture of where we stand on the issues, and why one of us should be in the State Senate come 2014.

Let’s not make this campaign about negative attacks. Let’s make it about our own vision for the future of New Jersey and the Democratic Party. I hope to work with Senator Gill’s campaign and begin the process of setting up these important forums across the 34th District. As Democrats, it is imperative that we give our shared neighbors the opportunity to see firsthand who will be representing them and how we plan to solve the problems facing working class families. Let’s make this campaign about the issues.

Comments (3)

  1. Jay Lassiter

    …is she refusing to debate?  

    Mark, I gotta say 12 debates is a rather ambitious goal. But It’s unacceptable that there not be one or two. She’s gonna do one or two…..right!?

  2. Nick Lento

    Would either of these two vote for a single payer health care plan in NJ…like they have in Vermont?

    What about the environment?

    Insurance regulations?

    If there’s going to be a primary it should be based on genuine strong differences/contrasts….not just two personalities/machines running for the same seat.

    The more debates the better.  Get to the details…the substance.    

  3. Bill W

    …what about school vouchers?  


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