Since the 2001 election, both houses have been in Democratic hands. Before that, the GOP held majorities in both houses for over a decade.
Can we win it back this year?
That depends. Some say the Republicans are weaker because of the retirement of a number of veteran lawmakers, including Sen. Joe Palaia and Assemblyman Steve Corodemus. But are we? Here in Monmouth County, we have strong Legislative candidates in each district. It may matter more what we as Republicans stand for.
If we strongly state what we are for, rather than meekly what we're against, we can do this. Here is a list, not in any particular order, of some important issues:
- Property Taxes - Time to wrap up this issue. New Jersey has had the highest in the nation for far too many years, under both Republicans and Democrats. This issue calls for a hard look at school funding, as well as an elimination of duplication of municipal services. Creating another "rebate" for those who "qualify" after jumping through a fiery hoop, and which can be rescinded at any time doesn't cut it.
- School Funding - Goes hand in hand with property taxes. We can't keep funding education the way we do. This includes a reform or abolition of the so-called Abbott Districts. More is spent per student in these districts than in many upper-crust private schools, yet Johnny still can't read, let alone graduate. Nothing will change here either as long as the school monies are sent right into the hands of the urban Democratic machine bosses.
- Ethics - You can talk about ethics all you want, but, like gun control, if you're not going to enforce the laws already on the books, nothing's going to change. U. S. Attorney Chris Christie is doing a good job sending corrupt pols to jail, but he's the only one. The much-celebrated State Attorney General Stuart Rabner, appointed by the Bozo-coiffed Gov. Jon Corzine, has done little or nothing in that regard. The Legislature too must seriously police the ethics of its members, and drop the club atmosphere.
- Legal Reform - This issue covers a number of subcategories, including personal injury. Frivolous lawsuits, many by serial litigators, must be stopped, but this must not be tightened up to the point that we hurt legitimate people. This issue also includes judicial appointments. Although appointed by the governor, these positions are confirmed by the State Senate. There is no reason that the Senate should confirm any stiff the governor nominates. Having good, solid judges and justices, and not lightweights like Deborah "Because I Said So" Poritz, will go a long way towards cleaning up the legal system. It will also have a positive ripple effect in many other issues, too.
- Regulatory Reform - Overregulation is what keeps jobs out of New Jersey. Make no mistake, we are in competition with other states for businesses (= jobs). If we don't compete, we fall behind. Simple as that. It's already happening.
- Oppose Overdevelopment - And mean it. This goes back to property taxes. Towns go on a "ratable chase", supposedly to keep taxes stable. But it just becomes like climbing a mountain looking for the top when there is no top. Overdevelopment leads to...
- Eminent Domain - A hot button issue if there ever was one. Right here in Monmouth County is Long Branch, which is becoming a national poster child for eminent domain abuse. The arrogance of Democratic Mayor Adam Schneider on this issue just attracts more attention. Eminent domain was intended for public works like roads, bridges and parks. The abuse of the process to make rich developers richer only hurts the process when it is used for its intended purpose. Time for some reform here with teeth. Sharp teeth.
This list could go on and on. As I said above, we have a strong legislative team here in our Monmouth County districts, both incumbents and newcomers. Our team will only become stronger with strong stands on issues that are important to Monmouth County voters.