PLAINFIELD, NJ – Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, who serves New Jersey's 12th Congressional District, hosted a mini town hall on Monday at Plainfield’s Senior Center, meeting with constituents and addressing their concerns.
Watson Coleman updated the community on several pieces of legislation with which she has been recently involved in Washington that have been passed in the House, and sent to the Senate for action. The legislation ranged from gun violence, health care, right to vote, pay inequalities, Consumers First Act, and climate change.
“We need to legislate on the issues that you sent us to do,” Watson Coleman stated.
Specific bills in which the Congresswoman is currently involved include:
- Earned Income Tax Credit expansion to include full-time students and full-time caregivers;
- Federal Jobs Guarantee Development Act to ensure that underemployment in particular job categories to include job training;
- Next Step Act, a wide-reaching comprehensive criminal justice reform bill;
- Government banned use of all for-profit private prisons;
- No penalty on 401K deductions for seniors;
- Tax incentives to employers hiring older workers and previously incarcerated individuals.
Watson Coleman’s conversation would not have been complete without briefly addressing the elephant in the room surrounding the recent impeachment inquiry. Residents came to the microphone to raise concerns over the Whistleblower Protection Act and, specifically, the impact on postal workers, social security and health care. How to encourage young people to pursue politics at an early age, along with immigration issues, were also discussed.
Watson Coleman advocated for young people, both Democrat and Republican, to engage locally and to volunteer to work on campaigns. She then acknowledged a 19-year-old running for the Board of Education in Elizabeth who was in the audience.
In terms of simplifying the voting process for seniors and the disabled, Watson Coleman suggested early voting, a wider range of voting locations, like in malls, and the ability to vote on weekends.
Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp raised the issue of the restoration of voting rights to the incarcerated, and the possibility of restoring funding for New Jersey Transit's Raritan Valley Rail one-seat ride, saying, "Every minute saved commuting to Manhattan results in a $3,000 increase property values.”
Watson Coleman responded that unless that the current president has a change of heart, there needs to be a change of presidency to accomplish this.
Watson Coleman was asked about the Trump tax cuts that have negatively impacted high property tax states like New Jersey, and she suggested that when there is a new administration and a new Senate, several pieces of the tax bill will be repealed.
“Plainfield, you are really important to me being in the House of Representatives, and I thank you for having my back, and I hope that you think I have yours, too,” Watson Coleman said to close.
“Keep the faith, and keep your hands on the plough. Register to vote because our lives depend on it.”
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