Elections

Community Leaders Address Residents at District 17 Town Hall Meeting in Piscataway

84397a96325b00683a31_20171017_190604_resized.jpg
Community Leaders Address Residents at District 17 Town Hall Meeting in Piscataway Credits: Anna and Peter Merrett
84397a96325b00683a31_20171017_190604_resized.jpg

PISCATAWAY, NJ - Community leaders and residents of District 17 gathered at Westergard Library in Piscataway on Tuesday night to discuss their objectives in support of the working families’ alliance platform, followed by a question and answer session.

Incumbent Senator Bob Smith (D) and his opponent Daryl Kipnis (R) joined the meeting with Smith sitting at the head table with the panel and Kipnis in the audience.

Moderator Staci Berger advised both men that the meeting was a not-for-profit 503(c) meeting, and campaigning would not be allowed. 

Sign Up for E-News

Analilia Mejia, Executive Director of NJ Working Families Alliance, Jon Whiten, Vice President of New Jersey Policy Perspective, Junior Romero, Regional Organizer of Food and Water Watch, Christine Sadovy, Political Director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund in New Jersey were the members of the panel. 

Romero followed the introduction stating his opposition to possible fracking and natural gas exploration. He also pointed out that permafrost is melting in some parts of the world causing gas to escape into the atmosphere.

"I believe climate change is the cause of permafrost melting and aims to advocate to have 100% renewable energy sources by 2035," said Romero. 

Whiten focused on taxes and the state budget and the inequality of the existing system. He expressed his concern about how New Jersey's fiscal crisis mostly impacts the poor, and how state and local taxes are born unfairly by the poor. 

"Is there enough money for the needs," Whiten asked. "Everything is underfunded. Provide more equity for the poor and obtain more revenue. Change the tax code to have the wealthy pay more. Eliminating the estate tax was a mistake and should be reinstated. Closing business loopholes ought to be a priority. Companies should not be allowed to ship profits out of state in order to lower their taxes. Governor Christie reduced sales tax by a small amount which caused the state to lose revenue and did not help the poor."

Sadovy talked about family planning and pointed out that Governor Christie had reduced funds to Planned Parenthood's cancer and STD screening and family planning. She suggested that there is a good return on investment in Planned Parenthood because it reduces women's illnesses and in many cases, prevents them, decreasing overall healthcare cost.

“Breast cancer is increasing and minorities especially are impacted," Sadovy said. "Six health centers have been closed in New Jersey, making it difficult for the poor to get to the remaining places. Planned Parenthood is looking forward to restoring funding under a new administration. 33,000 people have lost services in the past year." 

Mejia pointed out that New Jersey Working Families Alliance is a progressive organization pushing legislators to do more for the poor, educating and mobilizing voters to get out and vote. Putting forward an agenda to the state in terms of taxes and healthcare, she hopes to get a democratic governor to follow Christie.  

Mejia mostly works with Democrats but is willing to support Republicans who support their agenda. Mejia wants the current minimum wage of $8.44 to be raised to $15 within five years. Smith said he would like to do it quicker. It was pointed out that this wage cannot be lived on.

Young workers, as well as more mature workers, need a higher wage since they often support others in their family, so there should be no carve-out for these younger workers," Mejia said. 

Some legislators want to carve out agriculture from the minimum wage, which she is against. Fighting 'wage theft', especially in such occupations as wait staff who make $2.13 an hour and expect to make up their income with tips was also her concern. 

Smith said he needs to justify his incumbency, pointing out he has always supported the progressive issues being discussed with women's' rights at the top of his agenda. He has proposed a $15 minimum wage in the past but was vetoed. He believes there should be a dedication of funds obtained from damages to go to cleaning up the environment, not to other causes such as salary increases. 

The biggest thing he wants for his tombstone he said, "is the increase of funding for open space, which benefits the environment for everybody." And he wants to reduce food waste, claiming "50% of food is disposed of unnecessarily, much of which goes to landfills.” 

Smith supports legislation to allow supermarkets to donate food beyond its expiration date which is still safe to consume. Electric vehicles are also on his agenda and should be incentivized in the next legislature if Democrats are elected, especially governor. 

Other points addressed by the audience included: gas tax, making New Jersey a sanctuary state, automatic voting rights for people on parole or probation, tax funding allocation and business incentives for companies such as Amazon.

"I heard all of the other speakers before at other venues but this is the first time I heard Christine," said Linda Powell, a community activist and FTTF steering committee member. "I was amazed at how much health care they provided and how many people were impacted by the cuts to her funding. I am going to go home and make a donation to Planned Parenthood Action Fund. I was glad to see people at the meeting supporting refunding of planned parenthood." 

Powell said she also “thought Sen. Bob Smith had some concrete ideas on the environment and the use of renewable energy.

“He also had some good ideas on preventing food waste and supplying food to people with food insecurity, including school children. Smith also discussed improving transportation by converting to electric vehicles and increasing the availability of charging stations." 

TAPintoPiscataway.net is an online newspaper serving the Township of Piscataway. Sign up for our FREE daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and Twitter @PiscatawayTAP.

Businesses: Advertise with TAPinto Piscataway. Click here for more information.

Download the TAPinto App!   Click here for Android.  Click here for iOS.

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Piscataway

Follwing Florida Massacre, EB Schools Add Armed Officers to Security

February 17, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - At a meeting Thursday night, the East Brunswick board of Education unanimously approved a resolution to engage the East Brunswick Police department to place armed police officers at each school building in the district throughout the entire school day.  In a report released by superintendent Victor Valeski yesterday, township officials asserted that the move would ...

Obituaries

Christina C. Sweet (Diaz) 79 years, died Monday January 1, 2017 at Robert Wood Johnson University ...
Read more
- Nov 15, 2017
Phillip A. Petracca, also widely known as Filippo Neri in the Italian-American Radio and ...
Read more

Wreath Laying for Local Vietnam Hero Lost 50 Years Ago Today Held in Piscataway

February 18, 2018

Childhood friends of Soldier & Family Join Mayor Brian C. Wahler, Township Councilmembers, RU Army ROTC Cadets, Local American Legion & Lake Nelson Residents Today at Park Named After Veteran

PISCATAWAY, NJ – On Feb. 18th, the 50th anniversary of the passing of Jeffrey R. Byrne, a Piscataway-raised 19-year-old who died serving in Vietnam, childhood friends of him and his family ...

South Plainfield Middle School Student Council Thanks Supporters

The South Plainfield Middle School Student Council would like to express our thanks for the support of local businesses and organizations in our fundraising efforts.  A spaghetti dinner was hosted by the South Plainfield Elks Lodge #2298 on January 13th.  Mrs. Sharon Reuter and members of her Youth Committee and kitchen crew provided dinner for family, friends and staff of South ...

Rutgers to Host Exhibit of Sen. Frank Lautenberg Papers

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey’s longest-serving U.S. senator, left an outsize imprint on state politics and national policy by the time he died while in office, in 2013.

His papers, now curated and maintained by the Rutgers University Libraries, encompass 2,250 boxes of hats, buttons, campaign stickers, vinyl records, paper documents and other artifacts that, laid end ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, February 19

State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick

Mr. Popper's Penguins

Arts & Entertainment

Mon, February 19, 12:30 PM

PISCATAWAY

Matinee Monday

Arts & Entertainment

Tue, February 20, 1:00 PM

Piscataway

Community Blood Drive

Health & Wellness

Sat, February 24, 2:00 PM

Edison High School Auditorium, Edison

Free community viewing of "BAG IT" - Award ...

Arts & Entertainment Green

Sun, February 25, 1:00 PM

St. David's Episcopal Church, Cranbury

Organizing for the 2018 Mid-terms: Elections, ...

Education Giving Back Government

Westfield Cops Search for Suspects After Overnight Carjacking at Scotchwood Diner

February 14, 2018

This story was updated at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

SCOTCH PLAINS/WESTFIELD, NJ — Police are still searching for the suspects who carjacked a vehicle in the parking lot of the Scotchwood Diner (1928 Route 22) in Scotch Plains around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Scotch Plains and Westfield police departments.

Patrol units responded to a report of a carjacking at the ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

Guest Column

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The ...

Let the Games Begin

I am truly awed by the Olympics.  Watching these superb young athletes on TV inspires me to renew my membership to the gym and pursue my lifelong dream of taking home the gold.  

 

The problem is that in my deluded head, I can see actually see myself standing atop the podium.  I am wrapped in a puffy designer ski coat with a huge piece of bling slung around my neck ...

The Best Way to Pay Your Child a Compliment

“Of course you’re good-looking.”  “You’re the best friend ever.”  “Who wouldn’t want you on their team?”  Is there a parent out there (including me) who hasn’t praised a child in order to make him or her feel better?  Sometimes it’s true, and sometimes we say it because we just can’t stand to see them ...

Very Hot Tea Increases Cancer Risk

Researchers in China studying the consumption of “burning” hot tea, alcohol, and smoking habits of greater than 450,000 people ages 30 –79 for more than nine years found a five time greater risk of esophageal cancer in those who engaged in all three of the behaviors and a two time greater risk in those who either smoked or drank alcohol and consumed burning hot tea as compared ...