WESTFIELD, NJ — Congressman Leonard Lance (R-NJ-07) met with TAPinto.net recently at his office in Westfield to speak about pressing issues both local and global. Here is what your congressman said:

On ISIS:

“ISIS is dangerous to the entire world,” said Lance. “My own view—and I think this is true of most of Congress—is that the American people don’t want boots on the ground.”

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That doesn’t mean that the US can’t be helpful, he explained, but he also wants to see the Arab nations step up to the plate.

For now, Lance said he is undecided about President Obama’s request for legal authorization to fight ISIS. He is reserving judgment on that issue until he has heard the debate on the floor.

On Chris Christie for President:

If New Jersey Governor Chris Christie runs for president, said Lance, “I will support him.” He noted that Christie would be the first New Jerseyan to be seriously considered for the Oval Office since Bill Bradley in 2000. The last US president from the Garden State was Woodrow Wilson.  

On the “One-Seat” Ride

While he understands that getting a one-seat ride during peak hours on the Raritan Valley Line is important to his constituents—he called the RVL and Route I-78 the “spine” of the Seventh Congressional District—it isn’t a matter for the federal government, Lance explained.

“We have to be involved in federal transportation matters,” said Lance.  But, he said, “I’ll certainly be an advocate for the Raritan Valley Line.”

On Education:

When it comes to PARCC testing, ““I believe, at the greatest extent possible, that that should be decided at the state level,” said Lance.

Lance said that he thinks New Jersey’s school boards are very strong, and he doesn’t believe that the federal government should be micro-managing education. In particular, he said that he has concerns about the Core Curriculum standards.

On Working with the Senate:

Since the Republicans took control of the Senate, “We’ve returned to what’s known as ‘regular order,’” said Lance.  “I think we’ve passed quite a few bills. For example, child trafficking. Keystone.”

He ticked off pieces of legislation that have made it to the president’s desk, including the renewed Federal Terrorism Risk Insurance program and the Veteran’s Suicide Prevention Act.

On Health Care Legislation:

With the case of King v. Burwell, the US Supreme Court will soon decide the legality of federal tax subsidies that many Americans now receive to buy insurance. Assuming that the court may rule that the federal credits are not legal, “Congress should have an alternative in place, or at least well on its way to being in place,” said Lance.

On Rare Diseases:

Lance is the Republican chair of the Rare Disease Caucus in the House. With them, he is working to bring to market new medicines for diseases where there are no medicines available, or very few.

“I am working hard on issues related to the better health of the American people, and that includes rare diseases,” explained Lance.

One of those is pancreatic cancer, which he called “a very difficult and challenging cancer.”

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