NUTLEY, NJ - Mikie Sherrill, Navy veteran and candidate for the NJ-11 Congressional District, spoke to a standing room only crowd at Nutley's Grace Episcopal Church Wednesday night. She was joined by Nutley Revenue and Finance Commissioner Thomas Evans, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, State Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, and State Senator Ronald Rice. The event was hosted by the Nutley Democratic Club.
The underlying theme of the evening was the economic powerhouse that is the New York - New Jersey. Sherrill pointed out that roughly 25% of the United States Gross Domestic Product (US GDP) is created in the region. She also spoke about how the new tax law and policies coming out of Washington D.C are disproportionately affecting New Jersey.
Commissioner Evans opened the evening by addressing the "support that comes to us (Nutley) from the county." Evans credited County Executive DiVincenzo (Joe D.) for his critical role in getting transitional aid from the state following the departure of Roche. "We couldn't do what we are doing today without the support of Joe. D." Evans told the audience. To date transitional aid to the Township of Nutley topped $18 million.
Senator Rice credited State Senator Carmen Orechio of Nutley for teaching him the ropes of working in the statehouse. Rice reminded the audience that the state budget is coming up July 1.
In his introduction of Assemblyman Caputo, Evan told how his first call after the Roche departure was announced was to Caputo. Caputo replied to him "what can I do."
Caputo opened with the $9 million in annual annual tax that Nutley lst when Roche moved. Working with Joe D. and Senator Rice to get aid. He shared a conversation he had with Representative Frelinghuysen in which the Congressman replied "Good Luck" with regard to getting aid.
Caputo continued that Congressman Bill Pascrell "took care of us until he was redistricted, we need someone at the federal level to talk up the issues important to us.
Joe D. took to the microphone and stated "Nutley is so lucky to have Tom to work it," (transitional aid), "Tom knew line by line what needed to be done - if it wasn't for you Tom we would not have gotten it"
DiVincenzo then spoke of the state of the county. When he first came to office, the county was $64 million in debt, there is currently a balance of over $105 million The county is expected to have its bonds rated AAA by the end of the year. This will be a first for Essex County.
DiVincenzo continued by speaking of Sherrill, "we have an opportunity to get this seat back. We we will once again have a voice. "she's gonna me our next Congresswoman."
Before introduction Sherrill. Evans said "I have yet to go to these gentlemen with a request and not have them listen. We need that at the Federal level. We want someone to represent us all."
Sherrill took the microphone stating, "I am from Montclair and know how it feels to lose the representation of Congressman Pascrell."She then shared highlight of her resume including attending the Naval Academy, serving as a Russian Policy Officer and working in the US Attorney's Office. She then told the audience that "you want to have economic security and want it for your kids." She then told the story of her grandfather, a B-24 pilot in World War II who returned home to Ohio and worked on the factory floor at General Motors. He had eight children and was able to afford a Catholic School education for all of them. His inspiration has led Sherrill to fight hard for her country and work hard for families.
"Not allowing us to deduct our taxes is hurting our middle class families," Sherrill continued as she spoke of policies coming out of Washington DC that are affecting New Jersey. "Repeal and replace" (of the Affordable Care Act) "is now a quality of life issue." After presenting the 25% of GDP figure, Sherrill stated "we don't want a wall between the United States and Mexico, we want a tunnel to Manhattan. The infrastructure reference was to the ARC tunnel project that was started, and then stopped. That project will add an additional train tunnel under the Hudson River, reducing delays and increasing efficiency of rail service. Sherrill described the project as both an economic and quality of life issue.
Assembled members of the audience then asked the candidate questions about her positions on numerous issues.
The topic of gun legislation was brought up. Sherrill explained that she was furious about the incident at Margery Stoneman Douglass school in Parkland Florida. She explained although New Jersey has strict gun laws, illegal guns are entering the state from places like North Carolina and Texas where the guns laws are not as strict as NJ. A hunter, who was raised in a family of hunters, Sherrill explained that she is 'comfortable around guns" but the guns in discussion are weapons of war. She firmly stated that she is for an assault weapons ban and also shared that she wants to restrict gun ownership for those involved in domestic violence. An audible "uh-huh" was heard from the audience when Sherrill shared that "most gun deaths are suicide" (in the US).
Following a question about spending, Sherrill explained that NJ gets about 70 cents back from DC for every dollar sent to Washington DC, North Carolina in contrast gets about twice as much as what they send to the Federal government. The candidate used that opportunity to speak about how the current administration has blown up the federal deficit and is leaving that burden for our children while cutting corporate tax rates and cutting the social safety net.
New Jersey, she said has more scientists and engineers per square mile than any other state. NJ doesn't have a fossil fuel industry, but the state has great conditions for wind power.
Sherrill concluded by stating that "this doesn't feel like a partisan election, this is a New Jersey election, the economy of New JErsey is a driving force. She repeated that the Republicans just exploded the federal deficit.
Mikie Sherrill be will speaking in Bloomfield on May 12: NJ CD-11 Candidate Mikie Sherril to Speak in Bloomfield May 12
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