Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of profiles TAPinto Franklin/Somerset will be publishing on candidates vying for local office in the upcoming June 4 Primary Elections.

The candidates each were sent, and responded to, identical questions and their answers are being published verbatim.

Joe Danielsen is Democrat's incumbent for State Assembly District 17 (since 2014), Franklin Township, New Brunswick, North Brunswick, Piscataway, and Milltown.

Sign Up for Franklin Township Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Work/professional experience: 

Chairman of Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee, Member of Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee; Education Committee and Owner of Network Blade – IT company.

Why are you running for an Assembly position?

I wish to continue to serve the constituents of Legislative District 17 to improve their quality of life from lowering property tax burden, improving our environment, enhancing economic opportunities to ensuring small business growth.

That is why I am proud that this year will see an increase in school aid to our district of over $14.5 million to expand programs and also reduce local property taxes. In addition, I am the chief sponsor of medical cannabis, which will provide for expansion of outlets for purchasing, and create greater research, development and business opportunities.

I also realize that our current tax structure continues to drive our senior population out of state, and that is why I am working with senior residents to introduce legislation that will rewrite the antiquated senior property tax laws in NJ. This along with my legislation that caps higher education tuition based costs will help maintain the out-migration of the best and brightest in our state while strengthening our economic base.   

What area would you focus on immediately if (when) you are voted in?  

As I review the actions of the current legislative session, I am proud of the progressive initiatives that have become law under my leadership. Those include increasing our minimum wage, changing the school funding formula to increase state aid for enrollment growth districts ( all towns in LD 17), securing an additional 6 weeks for paid family leave, instituting common-sense gun laws, promoting greater access to medical cannabis and tackling the opioid epidemic.