I am running for the New Jersey State Senate from the 21st district to represent a new kind of politics. My opponent positions himself as a reformer who stands for clean government, yet runs an extremely dirty campaign. That paradox, is why too many people of New Jersey have lost faith in the political process.
I am a result of the grassroots movement created by Howard Dean. His campaign stressed the importance of individual participation in a democracy. I want to build on that concept of engagement. This election is about empowerment, not entitlement. I have worked hard to build a business and a reputation that is based upon empowering my students. I will carry this same philosophy into state politics. I want to engage residents in the 21st district who have never been politically active so their voices too, can be heard.
Most people in the 21st district know me from 24 years of guiding their children through their developmental years in my business Gina’s Tennis World in Berkeley Heights. I created a place where people congregate, socialize and develop self-confidence and self-esteem. This has also been a primary focus in my work as an elected official in Long Hill Township.
I was very proud to have served as the first Democratic mayor of the Republican town, Long Hill Township in Morris County. Most residents of my town know me as a leader who brings people together and acknowledges the contributions of individuals in our community. Long Hill Township has continued to be supportive of me and has confirmed that my sexuality has no impact on my ability to serve.
As mayor and committeewoman in Long Hill Township, I organized an interfaith service for peace with various religious leaders in the area. I developed and taught civics lessons in our local schools. I cooperatively negotiated a reduction in the police force to save taxpayer dollars without reducing services. I instituted a business economic forum to support the needs of local businesses. I worked on both school and municipal budgets to understand the intricacies of how state funding impacts the bottom line. I opened the budget process to the public so they could understand the costs of services in our community.
Born into a working-class family and today the founder of a business in Union County, I know what it’s like to make ends meet and I know what it’s like to make payroll. I have owned and operated Gina’s Tennis World in Berkeley Heights since 1983. The business began with 10 clients, and today has thousands. Everyday through my business, while working with their children, I hear the hopes and dreams of the people of the 21st district.
They inspire me to work for all the residents of the 21st district: Democrats, Republicans, Independents, the unaffiliated and the uninterested. I instinctively know how to bring people of various ideas, traditions, backgrounds and parties to the table to hammer out the best approaches to the problems facing New Jersey today.
Last November we realized the importance of whom we sent to Washington. This November, it is equally important whom we send to Trenton. Work with me to build a team that will bring out the best in our state. I want to lead others to be the best they can be, and together, we will move New Jersey forward.