On November 5, we will go to the polls to vote for two representatives from Legislative District 21 in the New Jersey State Assembly. This is an important race. Under the Trump Administration, threats to human rights and opportunities are constant. Voters must elect representatives at all levels of government who will fight for gun safety, access to healthcare and reproductive health, immigrant rights, and sound environmental policy.
As a grassroots community advocacy organization focused on shaping responsible policy that supports human rights and encourages opportunity for all, Westfield 20/20 proudly endorses Lisa Mandelblatt and Stacey Gunderman to represent LD21. Our process for endorsement included sending a policy questionnaire to all LD21 Assembly candidates. (The campaigns for Jon Bramnick and Nancy Muñoz did not return the questionnaire nor respond to our emails or phone calls.) With limited exceptions, we are very pleased with the responses we received from Mandelblatt and Gunderman.
Lisa Mandelblatt and Stacey Gunderman “unequivocally support an individual’s right to access reproductive health care including birth control and abortion services regardless of their ability to pay or insurance status,” as well as the restoration of funding to Planned Parenthood. They also believe that healthcare is a right and favor a low-cost public option for expanding coverage in New Jersey.
Both candidates have been designated Gun Sense Candidates by Moms Demand Action. They fully support banning newer models of semi-automatic weapons in New Jersey and stand opposed to the NRA.
Thousands of LD21 residents rely on public transportation every day, especially NJ Transit’s Raritan Valley Line, or RVL. Mandelblatt, a Westfield resident, has worked with the RVL Mayors’ Alliance to restore the one-seat ride to New York, even testifying on the matter in the NJ Senate. Both candidates support increased funding and oversight of NJ Transit.
As proponents of fairness and transparency in government, we are very encouraged by Mandelblatt and Gunderman’s support of the NJ Attorney General’s EDA investigation and its new chairman, Kevin Quinn, as well as their stance that the EDA should pay fair wages and benefits, and that annual tax credits should be capped.
Immigrants to this country should be treated with dignity and compassion. Mandelblatt and Gunderman both support access to legal representation for immigrants in detention facilities. They have concerns about current legislation in favor of issuing drivers’ licenses regardless of immigration status, and we hope they are able to help address questions around identification and insurance coverage once they are in office so they can help ensure that immigrants are able to legally drive to work in our state.
While we strongly believe that Mandelblatt and Gunderman will promote the values of Westfield 20/20 in Trenton, we would prefer a stronger position from them on fair tax policy, specifically the millionaires tax, which would slightly increase taxes on annual incomes over $1 million.
Climate change is perhaps the most urgent crisis we face. We appreciate that Mandelblatt and Gunderman support expanding the Clean Energy law to require 100% renewable energy by 2050. However, as a member of Empower NJ, a coalition of over 50 environmental, citizen, faith, and progressive groups in New Jersey, we urge them to advocate for a moratorium on all new fossil fuel projects.
Once Mandelblatt and Gunderman are in office, we will happily work with them to support areas of common interest and strive to influence them on policies where we may differ. We look forward to advocating alongside them for the well-being of all those who call LD21, and New Jersey, home.