My name is Ralph Johnson and I’m a candidate for State Assembly in District 17 as a member of the Central Jersey Progressive Democrats. I am proud to run with a slate of 85 candidates in Middlesex County and in Franklin Township that are challenging the status quo in the June 6 Primary. Inspired by Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2016 run for President; we are a slate of veterans, nurses, teachers, members in law enforcement, business leaders, environmentalists and citizens from all walks of life who are taking up the fight to change politics in New Jersey working from the bottom up. We aren’t professional politicians and we are aren’t beholden to anyone. 

We believe it is time to take back the Democratic Party and our government from millionaires and billionaires, and we believe we have to be the change we want to see in the world.

My running mates and I have are honored to be endorsed by leading progressive organizations such as Our Revolution (formed after Sen. Sanders’ historic 2016 Presidential run), Working Families Party, Democracy For America, and Our Revolution New Jersey. We are bringing the political revolution to Central Jersey and we seek your support. On June 6, in Middlesex County, vote Column “C” for “Change” and in Franklin Township, Vote Column 7.

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Why I Am Running

After the election, I was disappointed, and worried about what a Trump presidency would mean for my community, my friends and my family.  Sen. Sanders’ call to run progressives for local office really resonated with me; I know that we need to stand up for ourselves, and to be the change we wish to see. I believe it is time for the American people to make a fundamental decision to get actively involved in the Democratic process or be a bystander.  Our current representatives are corporate Democrats and do not fight for working families.  They voted for the Transportation Trust Fund, which raised the gas tax – one of the most regressive taxes – for millions of working people and seniors in NJ, but cut the estate tax for 3500 wealthy families.  They have done nothing to protect our immigrant neighbors, and they are vigorously not opposing the Williams Transco pipeline.  I believe the people of the 17th Legislative District deserve better, and I look forward to the opportunity to represent our shared beliefs in the Assembly.

On the Issues

As a member of the General Assembly, I would stand up to Donald Trump at every opportunity and stand up for working families, not millionaires and billionaires.  Our current representatives are not part of the NJ Resistance, which is fighting the Trump Agenda by passing progressive state legislation.  One of our current Assemblymen, Joe Danielsen, did not vote to raise the minimum wage when he had the chance. I won’t sit on the sidelines; I will be in the fight for $15 and work to make sure that NJ is a safe and welcoming community for all of our neighbors.

The Legislature makes the laws that govern our state, and I would use my service to ensure that everyone benefits, not just the wealthy few. Unlike my opponents, I won't cut taxes for wealthy residents by raising the gas tax on everyone else. I will fight for the School Funding Formula to be fully funded, so the residents of LD-17 get the state support they pay for and deserve.  I believe NJ should reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and oppose the Williams Transco pipeline and gas compressor station slated to be built in Franklin.

Voters in our communities want leaders who will listen and respond to them.  One of the biggest complaints I hear when talking to voters is that our current representatives do not address their concerns -- or even have staff who answer their phones.  Our communities are tired of being taken for granted; we all members have a fundamental right to be heard. I will listen and I will advocate for the needs of all of my constituents. I encourage people to review our position statements at centraljerseyprogressivedemocrats.org.

My Qualifications for Office

I am a Democrat who believes in social, economic and political justice, answering the call to take back the Democratic Party.  Since 2014, I have served on the Piscataway Board of Education, the only three time Magna award recipient in America by the National School Board Association.  I am a current Lieutenant and a 20 year veteran of Law Enforcement, a two term Piscataway School Board Member, a Pop Warner Football and Little League Baseball Coach, the Chair of the Board’s School Culture and Climate Committee, Delegate to the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey (ESCNJ), and former educator.  Yet, the incumbents have called my fellow candidates and me a “radical faction of the School Board." Unlike my opponents, who are both white men, I can represent my community’s diversity and increase the representation of African-Americans in New Jersey’s General Assembly.

I have lived with my wife and four children in Piscataway since 2001. I have a Master of Arts in Education from Saint Peter’s College, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from West Virginia University, and a Certification of Administration and Supervision in Education and a Standard Teaching License. I am an active member of the Men’s of Christ Fellowship Ministry, and worshiping/serving the Lord (at all times) with Zion Hill Baptist Church of Piscataway.