I have a mea culpa. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but prior to 2016, I didn’t give all that much thought to who my US congressperson was. Sure, I followed big stuff like the Presidential election and major political stories, but frankly I didn’t think that our congressperson mattered all that much. I figured we live in a relatively moderate area, so how much of a difference does it make who sits in that seat? That is not a mistake I will ever make again.

Over the past four years, I’ve learned just how critical it is that we elect a representative who supports NJ 7th’s values and who is not afraid to stand up to injustice and corruption. We saw first hand the disaster that was Leonard Lance’s last term. Like many elected GOP officials the past four years, Lance talked a tough game about keeping Trump in check, but Lance voted in line with Trump’s position almost 90% of the time, according to Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight.com. Time and time again, we’ve seen supposedly moderate Republicans refuse to take any form of meaningful stand against the abuses of power, the bigotry and the corruption. 

From 2018 to 2019, hate crimes in New Jersey jumped a staggering 65 percent, the largest one-year increase in the time the state’s been tracking the figures. Our nation, our state and our district cannot endure the continued enablement of the administration’s assault on our values. But Tom Kean Jr. has stated he plans to vote for President Trump again! Apparently, he believes that the President’s divisiveness and dishonesty is what our country needs for another four years.

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Fortunately, for the past two years, our district has been served by a highly qualified, effective, honest and extremely dedicated representative, Tom Malinowski. Tom was born in Communist Poland during the Cold War, before moving with his mom to the US at age 6. Tom never forgot what it means to live in a place where power is abused, and has dedicated his life to helping build a more free and secure United States of America. Tom served on President Clinton’s National Security Council, helping to end some of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. As an Assistant Secretary of State under President Obama, he stood up to dictators like Putin and Kim Jong-Un.

More importantly, in his two years as our Congressperson, Tom has stood up for his district, our state and our values. Tom co-sponsored H.R.8363, a bill focused on protecting our democracy by preventing abuses of presidential power and defending elections against foreign interference. Tom is fighting to defend the Affordable Care Act and to lower the costs of healthcare for every New Jerseyan, so no one is bankrupted getting the care they need during this pandemic.

As a result of the pandemic, small towns across our district are facing unprecedented budget shortfalls and are struggling to pay first responders, teachers, and police officers. Tom is working with both Democrats and Republicans to get direct relief for our state and local governments. Whether it is sensible gun safety measures, the restoration of the state and local tax deductions, or getting more funding for the Portal Bridge and Gateway Tunnel, Tom understands the priorities of our district.

Tom has been a tireless advocate for our district, and I know that he will continue to be one. He leads with decency, compassion and empathy, which is exactly what we need now. But most of all, Tom is a fighter, who will ensure that our voice is heard in Washington. 

You better believe I know who my Congressman is now. It's Tom Malinowski. And I'm not taking that for granted this year. Vote for Tom for New Jersey’s 7th congressional district!