NEWTON, NJ – Light snow and blustery wind did not deter District 24 Democrats from announcing state legislature candidates on Friday, March 8, in the gazebo on the town square.
Richard D. Tomko is the candidate for State Senate. The Assembly candidates are Susan Williams, and Bill Weightman.
Williams has run for office before in Sussex County. She is a property manager turned social worker with three children, and an active career in volunteering.
In her prepared statement, Williams said her first reason for running is “children, yours and mine.” She said: “I worry about their future. We seem to have forgotten the lessons of the past: We have lost good will towards each other. We don’t remember that toxic waste makes us sick.”
Her platform focuses on smart growth, specifically the development of walkable communities. She is a strong opponent of using eminent domain for industry profits, which she says is occurring in the 24th District. She also said the 24th does not get total representation because of a tradition of one-party rule.
Weightman is a familiar figure in the county both as an employee of the Department of Labor, and an outspoken Democrat.
He is a proponent of jobs and job-retention in the district, noting his work with the Department of Labor has taken him into every community in the state, making him familiar with similarities and differences in the needs of the people.
“Who you are is what kind of work you’ve done in our society,” he said.
He noted more than 68 percent of Sussex County residents commute out of the county to jobs which, especially since in most households with children both parents work, is detrimental to the quality of life.
"Paying for day care is like college tuition,” he noted.
Jobs that pay a living wage are too scarce in the northwestern part of the state, he said.
Adding to this problem, is the lack of public transportation to much of the north and west of the district.
“Babe Ruth, when he played for the Yankees, could take a train from New York to Franklin,” he said.
Tomko is a school administrator who said he is running “because the 24th needs its own voice and the needs of our towns in Northwest New Jersey must no longer be ignored.”
He said he is “sick and tired of seeing empty storefronts in our counties, making it obvious we need more tax credits and investment support for small businesses so entrepreneurs in District 24 can fulfill their dreams and fill buildings like those right here along Spring Street."
He also noted, that, while he is a strong proponent of the Second Amendment, he is in favor of closing gun show loopholes in the background check requirement for buying guns.
Mike Busche, chairman of the Sussex County Democratic Party, spoke briefly, thanking the small crowd for coming out in the snow.
Ed Selby, treasurer of the county party and a former Assembly candidate, is managing the campaign.
Click here for the press release by the Democratic 24th District about the announcement.
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