Elections

Local Politicians Speak out Against Racist School Board Election Postcards in Edison

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EDISON, NJ - County-level officials have been quick to react to an incendiary Township residents on Wednesday received racist school board campaign mailers targeting two candidates for the Edison Board of Education.

The flyers state that Chinese and Indian residents are “taking over” the School Board. Jerry Shi and Falguni Patel, candidates for the Board of Education, are pictured on the campaign mailers with the word "deport" stamped across their images.

The postcards say, "The Chinese and Indians are taking over our town. Chinese school! Indian school! Cricket fields! Enough is enough."

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Featured in the center of the front side is the motto "Make Edison Great Again."

The back of the postcard states, "Let's take back our Edison and our Schools."

The postcards do not identify the group that paid for them, which is a violation of New Jersey election law.  The Compliance Manual for Candidates published by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission  states, "All candidates and committees are required to label all political communications with a political identification statement (“paid for by” language). The term “political communication” includes a press release, pamphlet, flyer, form letter, sign, billboard, paid advertisement printed in any newspaper or other publication or broadcast on radio or television, or telephone call featuring a recorded message, or delivered or accessed by electronic means, including, but not limited to, the Internet, or any other form of advertising directed to the electorate."

The fact that the post card did not indicate who sent it was a matter of concern to local politicians and community members. 

Local officials reacted immediately to the mailing.  

East Brunswick Mayor Brad Cohen saw the as representing an "immature" opinion.  "We are strengthened by the different culture in our community.  There is no place for this in our public discourse.  It's just an embarrassment, " said Cohen.  "Most people will see beyond that.  When you try to splinter off people into groups, you are weakening the community, not strengthening it."

Woodbridge Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-19) issued the following statement this morning: “Middlesex County is one of the most diverse, vibrant counties in what is one of the most diverse, vibrant states in the nation. Edison, our largest city, has always prided itself on being a welcoming community to every single person who wants to live there, regardless of race or religion.

 “That is why the anonymous flyer circulated in Edison this week is so repulsive.  Whoever issued it is a coward who spouts hate speech but hides behind anonymity. That person does not speak for his community, our county or our state and all of us should disavow his or her hateful message.”

Middlesex County Democratic Chairman Kevin McCabe also released the following statement today: “I am profoundly disgusted by the racist campaign flyer circulating in Edison today. This kind of disgraceful message has absolutely no place in Middlesex County or in New Jersey.  It is absolutely antithetical to everything we stand for as New Jerseyans and as Americans. 

I call on every single candidate running in this November’s election in Edison, regardless of party, to immediately denounce this horrific flyer in the strongest terms and remember that we are, first and foremost, a state and a community that has always prided itself on our diversity.”

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