SPRINGFIELD, NJ – At the beginning of the night’s forum, there were seven people running for the opportunity to run as the Democrats’ candidate for District 7 in New Jersey. It is expected the winner will face the incumbent Congressman Leonard Lance (R) in November.
Half way through the opening statements, candidate Lisa Mandleblatt of Westfield made her opening statement. Her comments extended beyond the two minute time limit as it would turn out to be her only comments. She told the audience she decided to support Tom Mailinkowski and dropped out of the race.
Her comments came as a surprise to the audience and to Malinkowski, who said he was aware of Mandleblatt’s intentions.
Malinowski was born in Poland. He is a former Assistant Secretary of State in the Obama Administration and former Senior Director of the National Security Council during the Clinton Administration.
The other candidates at the Forum were the Democrat’s 2016 candidate for the seat Peter Jacob, an attorney, Gotum Jois; a environmental champion and public advocate David Pringle; an attorney Scott Salmon; and community bank executive and technology specialist Linda Weber.
One of many such forums, attendance was heavy with the auditorium appearing to be about 90 percent full. There were also people watching it live as it was streamed over their computers.
Candidates made opening statements and then commented on select issues before making their final comments. The issues selected were health care, the environment, highlighting their two issues of greatest importance, and electability.
On health care, the candidates favored fixing the Affordable Care Act and making Medicare available for all over time.
The comments regarding the environment tended to focus just as much on infrastructure. Several highlighted their opposition to the PennEast and Pilgrim Pipelines. Scott Salmon called for a national investment in infrastructure of $1 trillion. Linda Weber called for more investment in cybersecurity.
Regarding the top priority issues, reforming the recently approved tax reform was cited by many.
The Congressional District 7 Candidate Forum was hosted by Union County Democratic Committee, Action Together Union County, Cranford Rising, NJ7 Forward, Summit Area Indivisible, and Westfield 20/20.