I was listening to a podcast early this morning with Preet Bharia (the fired district attorney) and Bill Browder (a huge investment capital banker) regarding the tax fraud case which happened in Russia and the death of a Ukranian lawyer named Sergei Magnitsky which is what motivated me to write this piece.
Magnitsky has become a hero to many of our millennial generation who is starting our careers in public service. In my mind, he represents self-sacrifice, the ultimate defining principle of a public servant who gave his life up fighting for a cause he believed in.
Less than a year ago, I was doing my own investigation into Head Start, Office of Volunteerism in NJ, George Norcross, and I went up a bureaucratic ladder in Washington DC to the highest chain of command. At that time, I was an AmeriCorps in Camden for Center of Family Services HeadStart. Corruption is sadly very well and alive with too many apathetic people in our system, which is why I believe "drain the swamp" resonated with so many people during the last election cycle.
I still remember the children's faces I left behind in Camden County and forever they will drive me to fix my state of New Jersey as they were helpless with the abuses going against them. They are also the reason why I ended up running as an independent---to bring this issue of corruption to the heart of my voters in District 38.
Chris Christie and George Norcross, the merger of a political machine among Democrats and Republicans is why I ran as an Independent. Both political parties are the one and the same.
I also have had many bad personal experiences in this state. Chris Christie audited me and my dad’s tax return after I filed a complaint with the NJ Department of Education 6 years back. They went to a tax return more than 7 years back to find something… Norcross's goons got me terminated for reporting the abuses of Center for Family Sercvices last year, some of which included embezzlement of funds, nepotism, misuse of funds, etc... I reported this to Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Volunteerism with NJ, and the Office of Inspector General. Very little was done about the problems to my knowledge.
If we compare the ponzi-style corrupt government of New Jersey with Russia, we can see many similarities. To all our state’s residents---Don't for a second think the practices of Vladimir Putin are any different than our corrupt and exiting governor as well his henchman Norcross for the last 8 years. The slight difference is they haven’t been accused of killing, but according to the FBI’s Palmyra tapes, Norcross threatened to cut off one of his opponent’s testicles while Christie blocks bridges due to political opposition. We have a trial of another US Senator currently underway, Robert Mendenez for bribery… Every year, we have a storm of corruption articles whether its local or federal that I believe people truly have become indifferent to it.
If you want to make our state better, educate yourselves on why our state is failing first (learning about the history, culture, corruption, ask-who, why how?) . There are many great resources starting from local articles to books like The Soprano State or a newer one called Soft Corruption by a state legislator who firsthand witnessed it.
Arrest after arrest happened in our beloved state of NJ with habitual indifference over the years. In my District 38, we have seen the conviction of one state senator, Joseph Conglio and the head of the Democratic Committee Chair, Joseph Ferrero in the last 5 years for bribery and mail-fraud.
Corruption isn't a liberal or conservative ideology, it hurts all of us living within it...If we turn our backs on it or think it’s not that big of a deal, we eventually let the system fail as NJ is currently doing today with rising property taxes, a debt to constituent ratio which is the highest in the country, 11 credit downgrades, etc….
As my election winds down, knowing I have statistically little chance to win as an independent, I will make sure I work this one passion as long as it takes me. It is the elephant in the room that needs to be addressed. Our state's future health, the well-being of our children and all her citizens depend on it.
I promise whenever I am given a chance by my constituents, I will work with full devotion to ethics reform within our state as well as the issue of property taxes, millennials leaving this state in flocks, and our tainted water supplies. If we as a state can come together to first remove the culture of corruption, other challenges will melt like butter for the spirit of our beloved state.