NJ7

Lance Offers Dross, No Real Help For Mentally Ill

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Leonard Lance has toed the line in Washington DC, allowing the Tea Party to determine his vote on most of the most pressing issues.  He voted for John Boehner as Speaker of the House, for Paul Ryan’s repeated budgetary plans the gut Social Security and Medicare, to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, to deny a debt ceiling on debts he’d already voted to accrue.

In short, the former Trenton maverick who sued his own party has gone to DC and been little more than a party hack voting in ways his own constituents disagree with.

So what he needs to do is find small things that will look good in the papers.  Like holding a press conference about supporting for a bi-partisan bill providing an extra $2 million in mental health support to each state.

The only problem is Lance held his press conference at the Richard Hall Community Mental Health Center in Bridgewater with a group of Republicans who just cut funding for the facility by $1 million.

Lance Goes Up on TV With Generic GOP Ad — With EXTRA CHRISTIE!

Here’s an ad full of stock images, stock messages, standard evasions and boring platitudes.  It’s a perfect metaphor for Representative Leonard Lance’s career in the House where he has done nothing of note, pretended at independence, and voted the way the Tea Party told John Boehner they wanted Leonard to vote.

It’s really kind of sad because Lance was once a fairly independent guy in the NJ State Senate, which is one of the reasons they ran him for the NJ7 seat — to get him out and free up space for young bucks who would be better at toeing the party line.

NJ-7: A Congressional Race that North Jerseyans Can Be Excited About

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I know, I know.  NJ’s 7th Congressional District isn’t really what you’d call a “northern New Jersey District”.  And yeah, there are at least 5 other districts that cover more of Northern New Jersey (the 5th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th) than the 7th.

But taking a look at the races in those other districts (without mentioning any issues related to campaigns that I may or may not agree with), the 7th is really one of the NJ races to watch – and really the only one other than the 3rd which is hotly contested.  Sadly, looking at the other five districts (as Bill Orr did a few weeks back), while it is nice to see very strong leads for the Democrats in the 8th, 9th and 10th, the 5th and 11th are pretty much lost causes.

Take that with a growing lead for both President Obama and Senator Menendez (although you never want to be too confident), what’s a dedicated activist to do with their time and efforts on the Congressional level?  This may sound harsh, but if a candidate isn’t interested enough in their own campaign to raise the requisite funds to be taken the least bit seriously, why should activists waste their own precious time, money and effort?

And that brings me to the 7th.  Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula is running against “formerly moderate NJ Assemblyman turned right wing lackey” Congressman Leonard Lance.  This was a race that Assemblyman Chivukula entered late due to Ed Potosnak’s dropping out, but has been tagged as an “emerging race” by the DCCC.

For those who are in the 5th, especially the western part of the District, the 7th stretches into Warren County.  For those who are in the 11th, the 7th also stretches into Morris County.  And the 7th also touches on Essex County (Millburn).  Suffice to say, it is a massively large District, and progressives, liberals, Democrats, activists, door knockers, phonebankers, donors and anyone I missed who is disillusioned by the races in the 5th and 11th, or want to put their time and efforts towards something that isn’t as “in the bank” as the 8th, 9th and 10th can certainly help make a difference in the 7th.

Here is Chivukula’s first TV ad and here is his campaign website if you want more information.  As someone who lives in one of the other 5 Districts noted above, I’m going to focus some time writing about the 7th over the next few weeks as well and I know some other Blue Jerseyans are involved in the campaign on a deeper level.

Just because most races have already been decided for the most part doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to help out if you are so inclined.  The 7th is one really good way.

Water Companies Need to Rehabilitate Infrastructure

Recently, I was at New Jersey American Water’s Canal Road Water Treatment Plant to discuss New Jersey’s Water infrastructure organized by the Somerset County Business Partnership and New Jersey American Water. I was thankful for the opportunity to share my thoughts as an engineer who worked in the industry for 30 years and became a policymaker and chairman of the Assemblyman Telecommunications and Utilities Committee.

One of the important outcomes of the session was the need to accelerate the replacement and rehabilitation of this critical infrastructure using a BPU program that can be used by water companies to address aging infrastructure in a way that is both accelerated and financially prudent to rate payers.

Ask Rep. Lance About His Tea Party Love

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Leonard Lance has a Town Hall tonight in Bridgewater. The Somerset Tea Party has sent out emails asking their members to come out and show their support for him. 

The last two congressional primaries Lance has faced significant Tea Party challenges. In 2010, no less than 3 Tea Partiers challenged him from the right. In 2012, the Tea Party coalesced behind one challenger, Hunterdon businessman David Larsen. In his years in the NJ legislature Lance was moderate Republican, one that even sometimes bucked his own party. 

But in Congress, Lance has shown a significant bend to the right-wing, as the House Republicans have become dominated by the far-right. Leonard Lance supports the Paul Ryan budget. And he should be asked about that budget, and about the Medicare cuts, and the impact on seniors, on the middle-class, on veterans – all of it. 

The Somerset Tea Party plans to pack the room tonight – they’ve been sending emails for hours. The Chivukula campaign is asking supporters to attend, and to ask Lance on the record why he supports the Ryan budget. Lance used to be an enemy of the Tea Party; now they embrace him. Is this the congressman you want? 

What: Town Hall with Congressman Lance

When: Wednesday, August 15th, 6-8pm – arrive before 5, if you can

Where: Bridgewater Township Municipal Building – 100 Commons Way, Bridgewater, NJ 08807

Event: Free & open to the public

Ask: Ask questions of Lance if you can. Bring handmade signs, if you can