Rep. Lance Answers Questions on Trump's Border Wall, Education and the Free Press

Rep. Leonard Lance speaking this week at his Town Hall at Raritan Valley Community College this week. Credits: Curtis Leeds

Editor’s note: This is the third in our series reporting on Rep. Leonard Lance’s Town Hall, which he held Wednesday evening at Raritan Valley Community College. The first installment reported on the protestors outside of the Town Hall, and Lance’s responses to questions about the Affordable Care Act and funding Planned Parenthood. The second installment covered the issues of Russia, possible impeachment and the environment.

BRANCHBURG, NJ – The crowd at Lance’s Town hall gathering at RVCC this week asked questions on a broad array of topics with implications internationally, nationally and locally. Questioners were selected by lottery and Lance stated that he had not seen any of the questions in advance of the program.

One questioner asked if Lance would sign a bill that would allocate funds for Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, regardless of who might reimburse the cost later.

Sign Up for E-News

“I have toured the southern border. I’ve been south of San Diego, south of Tucson Arizona ... and the Rio Grande Valley,” Lance answered.

“I do not believe it is necessary to have a wall ... based upon my having been there. I do think we should beef up security and that may mean a better wall or a better fence in certain” areas.

“I do not believe a wall (is needed) throughout the whole southern border, particularly in Arizona,” he stated. “The terrain there is incredibly rough.

“Regarding the payment, I think $20 billion is far too much ... and I would like to see a concrete proposal precisely where the administration believes the border needs to be secured better and a concrete proposal on its funding.”

Ginny MacGonagle of Bethlehem Township asked about Lance’s observations that Trump’s travel ban was “rushed and poorly implemented” and his statement that “it’s Congress’ role to amend our immigration laws,” which she said suggested that “the President may have overstepped his power.

“Will you publically condemn the President’s discriminatory travel ban?” MacGonagle asked, “and promise that you will not do the President’s bidding by passing any legislation that discriminates who can and cannot come into our country based on religion or country of origin?”

“I was the first Republican in New Jersey to criticize the initial executive order,” Lance answered about Trump's travel ban. “I certainly don’t think it should have applied to green card holders and certainly we should permit into this country brave residents of Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries who have served as translators and interpreters for our forces.”

Lance said he hopes Trump’s revised executive order “will be much more narrowly tailored and if I don’t like all of its provisions I will certainly say so ... I favor letting refugees into this country so long as they are fully vetted.”

Lambertville resident Kelly Kappler, a “proud product of the Montgomery school district,” said she came from a long line of teachers.

“My grandmother was a first generation American and a science teacher,” Kappler told the Congressman. Her mother and two aunts are also educators, she said.

“The Choices in Education Act, HR610, which is currently in committee, would change federal education funding,” Kappler told Lance. The act would distribute block grants to states and allow them to “distribute a portion of the funds to parents who enroll their children in private schools or home school their children," she said.

That would funnel “money away from already strapped public school systems,” Kappler said, to other schools “not held to the same level of accountability,” and she wanted to know how Lance might vote on that measure.

Lance, a Clinton Township resident, said he is a “proud graduate of the public schools in New Jersey.” He noted his graduation from the now-defunct Glen Gardner grade school. Lance recalled that the Glen Gardner school had “one teacher for kindergarten and first grade, another teacher for second and third grade, another for fourth and fifth, another for sixth and seventh and the principal taught eighth.”

“And I’m a proud graduate of North Hunterdon Regional High School,” Lance said. “I am a proud supporter of the public schools.”

Lance said he wasn’t familiar with the bill Kappler referenced, “However, I do not favor significant  funneling of money away from the public schools.”

Lance noted he was “honored” to have been endorsed by the state teachers union before the fall election.

“I fought for teachers when I was in the state legislature,” he said, “including protecting pensions for public employees.” He said he would continue to work for teacher organizations in the state and the NEA in Washington.

“I hope we that can continue to have strong public schools, as one of the bulwarks of our democracy,” Lance told Kappler.

Annette Cordasco-Longo of Bridgewater was the last questioner of the evening. She told Lance that Trump denigrated the country, its intelligence agencies and its free press during the campaign.

“I am troubled to hear the president of our country say complete falsehoods and accuse the free press of ‘fake news’ ... I haven’t seen the Republicans push back against this behavior,” Cordasco-Longo said.

She asked how Lance would mobilize Republicans to push back against Trump’s statements.

“I favor a free and unfettered press,” answered Lance. He promised he’d speak what he believes to be the truth “when the President misstates.”

“The Republicans need to push back when he is not honest,” Cordasco-Longo answered, which prompted the crowd to chant, “Push back, push back.”

Lance promised to state his point of view when he disagrees with the President, and promised to continue the dialogue with his constituents.

Because of the interest in Wednesday's Town Hall, Lance added a second event. That will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, also in RVCC’s Nash Theater.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Sat, March 24, 9:00 AM

Plainfield High School, Plainfield

2018 Community Empowerment Expo


Sat, March 24, 10:15 AM

Cedar Brook Park, Plainfield

Easter Egg Hunt

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, March 25, 8:00 AM

St. Francis Episcopal Church, Dunellen

Palm Sunday

Religions And Spirituality

Holy Savior Academy Storm Varsity Basketball News

The Holy Savior Academy Storm Varsity basketball team concluded a very successful season by capturing two championships over the weekend.  The Storm continued the basketball program’s winning ways when the team captured the school’s fourth consecutive Diocese of Metuchen CYM Varsity White Division Championship on its home court on Saturday evening.  The team then secured the ...

Union County to Host ‘Pledge and Protect’ Training Workshop for Older LGBTQ Adult Service Providers

March 23, 2018

UNION COUNTY, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is proud to host Garden State Equality’s ‘Pledge & Protect’ entry-level training workshop “Introductions to the Health Care Needs of the LGBTQ Population” free for organizations and professionals serving older LGBTQ adults.

Presented in collaboration with Union County’s Office of LGBTQ ...


March 17, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 16, 2018 – Despite her rhetoric, U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12, failed Wednesday to deliver on her promise to make schools safer for our children.

The two-term congressperson was one of only 10 representatives that voted “nay” Wednesday afternoon on the STOP School Violence Act of 2018.

The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a ...

Retro Fitness in Manahawkin Calls Stafford Police to Remove Man for Praying for Another Member

March 21, 2018

STAFFORD, NJ - Retro Fitness club member and Long Beach Township resident Craig Fasler was escorted by a member of the Stafford Township Police Department out of the gym because an employee accused him of sharing his faith in public. 

TAPinto Stafford-LBI was contacted by a Stafford Township resident about the incident that took place on Wednesday, March 21 around ...

Un mensaje del superintendente interino Ronald E. Bolandi Escuelas Públicas de Plainfield

March 24, 2018

PLAINFIELD, NJ - El superintendente interino de las Escuelas Públicas de Plainfield, Ronald E. Bolandi, emitió un comunicado el viernes con respecto a un cambio de fecha para la graduación, y cómo el número de días de nieve que han sido necesarios afectará el resto del año escolar.

Este invierno ha demostrado ser un desafío para ...

La tienda de comestibles Canela de Plainfield acogerá el evento de la tienda Healthy Corner

PLAINFIELD, NJ - EZ Ride y la ciudad de Plainfield se han asociado una vez más con Canela Grocery and Deli para organizar un evento gratuito para los residentes que ofrece muestras gratis de bocadillos saludables, cupones, una rifa saludable de canastas e información nutricional. Atlantic Health también estará en el evento con una unidad móvil para proporcionar ...

Celebrando el Mes de la Historia de la Mujer

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Estimados Plainfield,

Yo fui criado por dos mujeres poderosas e generosas, y me pasaron principios y valores que me han guiado durante mi vida entera. Mi mama persiguió la oportunidad y busco una manera de proveer para su familia. Ella dejo la isla de Barbados para poder trabajar en los hogares de los Estados Unidos, creando e allanando un camino para que sus hijos lo ...

Innovador Plainfield

Estimados Plainfield,


El crecimiento requiere evolución, la evolución implica cambio, y el cambio conduce a la innovación. Plainfield está evolucionando. Nos estamos adaptando para cumplir con los requisitos del renacimiento que está formando el futuro. No podemos esperar cambio positivo y sostenible si continuamos con el mismo ritmo de las ...

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...

Queen Mary and the Cruiser

Queen Mary and the Cruiser by David A. Thomas and Patrick Holmes (Naval Institute Press, 1997)

“Had the forenoon watch and after eating went out onto the fo'c'sle. Just arrived at the top of the ladder by the PO's heads when the wave hit me---waist high---and knocked me over. Looking astern---through the bulkhead door which was open, saw the stern of a ship sticking up out of ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...

Lilli DeJong by Janet Benton

Lilli De Jong by Janet Benton (Doubleday, 2017)


“It's said that every woman's painful labor is God's punishment. Eve ate an apple, and God pours wrath on every mother. So the Bible tells it.” (p.320)

The story of Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden, which is the Biblical explanation for the extreme pains of childbirth, casts women in the role of ...

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Altria, 2015)


Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn't a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them. Even when they call it a 'senseless tragedy,' people always try to find a ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...