Blog - NJ7 Citizens for Change

Lance Fails on Gun Control

  Our frustration with Lance continues. His words fail to address the problem we face with gun violence. Lance works with the NRA to overturn our New Jersey gun laws and supports allowing everyone in New Jersey to carry a gun. He has a 93% rating from the NRA according to Votesmart.org.  At his last Townhall Kenilworth a constituent asked “What is holding you back from supporting universal background checks?“  Lance responded, “I support the strong laws here in New Jersey. In New Jersey we have extremely strict gun control laws and I have never said they should be lessened." There are two sides of Leonard Lance. His votes don't agree with his words   Will will learn from the lessons of Sandy Hook and Las Vegas? How many more lives can be lost? It's time to bring Change to NJ 7th Congressional District. Please join us.    
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Voter Registration Ends Tuesday October 17!

Are you registered to vote next month? Click here to make sure that you are registered. If you are not registered to vote, follow these two steps... 1-Fill out the Voter Registration Application: English Spanish Click here for forms in Gujarati, Hindi, Korean, Punjabi, and Chinese 2-Bring form to local voter registration office. NOTE: They are open late on Tuesday.
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Lance Will Not Speak Truth to Power

In a recent Twitter brawl between President Trump and Senator Bob Corker, Trump accused Corker of lacking "guts" and Corker responded by comparing the White House to an "adult day care center”. Corker told  The New York Times he believes, “Trump is out of control, and dangerous… He concerns me… He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation… I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it's a situation of trying to contain him… Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of our caucus understands what we're dealing with here….”  Bob Corker’s statements bring a sense of relief to all who have witnessed the chaos in the White House, but most Republicans in Washington publicly ignore the elephant in the room, even as The Washington Post  recently described Trump’s misconduct as “abuse of power, failure of moral leadership and abandonment of the basic duties of his office.”Republican leaders lack the courage to bravely speak out. It seems that John McCain and Bob Corker are alone in so doing. Why aren't all the Republicans speaking out if they agree Trump is unstable, dangerous, and unfit for his job?  Is it because they are putting their own job security over the security of the American people?  John McCain and Bob Corker won’t be running again for office. This may explain their bravery but they stop short at calling for his ouster.  It is time to ask our representatives to do something. Congressman Leonard Lance appears to be deaf to the obvious crisis. What is he afraid of? Does he fear that his constituents will no longer support him if he acts to free our country from a President who is unfit to lead? Our Congressman’s silence enables Trump. History will assess Lance, not only for his actions but for his lack of action. I suggest he can no longer turn a blind eye to what is going on in the White House. It is time to stop putting party before country. Continuing to ignore the obvious is a dereliction of duty. Speak truth to power, Congressman Lance. It is time to act!      
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The Time for Action is Now

Congressman Lance has asked his constituents in a recent poll whether “bump stocks” should face the same restrictions as automatic weapons.  This is a far-too limited response to a hideous mass murder carried out by an individual in possession of an armamentarium of weaponry that had no right to be in the hands of civilians under any possible sensible interpretation of 2nd Amendment rights.   It is insufficient to pursue an incrementalist approach by banning this years technological “add on”, for we may be sure there will be others in the years to come.   Nor is not enough to say that legislation cannot prevent such evil acts.  Is not much of our criminal legislation designed to protect us from evil?  Why else do we legislate?   In the name of the more than 500 victims of the Las Vegas shootings, let us declare that now is the time for comprehensive and bipartisan legislative action.   All candidates for election in the NJ District 7 Congressional District, including the incumbent, should be asked if they would support some or all of legislative actions that would:   1) require background checks on all gun purchasers;  2) license firearm owners;  3) register all firearms;  4) regulate firearms dealers and ammunition sellers;  5) require the reporting of lost or stolen firearms;  6) impose a waiting period before the sale of a firearm;  7) limit firearm purchases to one per person every 90 days.   These are all legislative actions supported by The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a CA-based organization that has claims to be the leading resource for legal expertise and information regarding state and federal firearms laws.  They provide a yardstick against we can measure our candidates, and the extent of their commitment to putting meaningful action ahead of pious platitudes and limp legislation.
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Paying More Getting Less

It’s time to talk about the impact that the President’s environmental policies and his tax cut plan will have on NJ residents and our quality of life.   First, last year, each NJ resident sent $2,659 more to Washington in taxes than she got back in federal spending, more than any other state.  In total, we each averaged $18,367 in federal income taxes. That's $4,316 above the national average of $14,051. Only NY, CT and MA pay more.   There are plenty of good reasons why we are a “donor” State. Compared to many others, we have a comparatively healthy, educated and employed population.   However, it is striking that per dollar in Federal taxes paid, NJ ranks 45th on the list of Federal Contracts received, 45th in Federal grants, and 49th in “other” Federal Financial assistance.   All the more galling, then, to see the health of NJ residents put at risk by some of the budget and policy changes proposed and made at the EPA. The cuts could affect, for example, the clean-up of 14 Superfund Sites (we have more superfund sites than any other state). Further, Drew Tompkins of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. tells us “the proposed cuts to the EPA's clean-water programs could have devastating effects on the Delaware River and the people who depend on it for their drinking-water supply and livelihoods.”  We do not yet know the details behind the President’s planned tax cuts.  We do know that as originally proposed, $1.3 trillion of the cost of those cuts would be financed by eliminating the State and Local Income Tax deduction for filers who itemize their IRS returns, a deduction taken by 53.3% of NJ7 taxpayers, per Forbes Magazine.  The majority of NJ District 7 residents could therefore end up with the privilege of paying even more, and receiving even less, to live in a State that is home to some of the most polluted land and water in the country.  We need a Congressional Representative prepared to stand up for New Jersey, and for the public interest of our citizenry in maintaining and improving the quality of our air and water.
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The War on Women

The House recently voted in favor of H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, that would ban abortions later than 20 weeks of pregnancy. More recently, the Trump Administration expanded the rights of employers to deny women insurance coverage for contraceptives that was established under the Affordable Care Act. Both of these actions are claimed to be based in support of deep-rooted moral, ethical and religious convictions. It is easy to draw a line between these two actions and see a broader attack on the reproductive rights of women by squeezing both ends of the conception and pregnancy cycle through a combination of legislation and executive orders. I know women who have faced the excruciating mental agony of deciding on a late-stage abortion.  No-one who has experienced, even second-hand, that wrenching torment can possibly believe such decisions are taken without the deepest soul-searching about that choice.  And talk that coverage of contraception could lead to more “more risky sexual behavior” among some teenagers and young women sits poorly amidst the extensive media advertising for aids for erectile dysfunction for men. The hypocritical double standard displayed by legislators such as Representative Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania highlights the obvious.  Many men espouse one set of values on the streets, and another set between the sheets. And that starts at the top, with a President whose attacks on women, physical and verbal, have been all-too-fully documented. NJ District 7 needs a Representative who does indeed display “deep-rooted moral, ethical and religious convictions” and supports the equal rights of both men and women in our society.
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Why New Jersey Congressional District 7 Needs NJ7C4C

The United States is currently facing many challenges:  it is dealing with the effects of the most extreme hurricane season ever to hit the Atlantic coast; the biggest cyber breach in U.S. history; and the largest mass shooting this country has ever experienced, just to name a few. But the biggest challenge impacting New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District is the crisis in representational leadership. NJ7 Citizens for Change is the vehicle that will meet that challenge. The majority of New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District did not vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential elections. And the nine months that have followed the inauguration have been marred by chaos, scandal, and instability coming out of the White House. New Jersey 7th constituents have sought guidance from their representative in Congress, Leonard Lance, and found him sorely lacking. Lance is a back-seater who has never chaired a Congressional Committee in eight years in Congress. He is New Jersey’s most conservative delegate, having voted with the President’s far right agenda 93 percent of the time.  Although during this election year he has made the rounds on national media portraying himself as a moderate, this self-characterization is not supported by his voting record.   For example, after extreme pressure from his constituents to reject the House’s Repeal and Replace healthcare bill, he voted “no.”  But he did not close the door on voting for future replacement bills that could be equally disastrous. In fact, he had voted the disastrous House Bill out of the Energy & Commerce committee just weeks earlier, allowing it to proceed to a floor vote. And during the prior administration, he voted at least eighteen times to repeal the Affordable Care Act without any replacement at all. Not only does Lance think that health care is a privilege, but he thinks Planned Parenthood should be de-funded and abortion should be outlawed, despite over 60% of this district supporting a woman’s constitutional right to choose.   His record is no better when it comes to gun control. Despite New Jersey’s having some of the strictest gun laws in the country, he is a Second Amendment advocate with a 93% NRA rating. He voted for a bill in 2011 that would have allowed individuals from other states with concealed carry licenses to bring those weapons into New Jersey. This bill is being revived; several versions of it are working their way through Congress, and given that he still defends his 2011 concealed carry vote, he is highly unlikely to vote against this one. Finally, the Garden State prides itself on being environmentally progressive. Leonard Lance has shown more deference to coal miner’s needs in Kentucky than to the needs of his own constituents for clean air, clean water and clean energy. For his regressive stance on the environment, he has a 13% rating with the League of Conservation Voters. He is a danger to our district. Since the election, Lance’s leadership deficit has weighed heavily on the minds of Cranford residents Lynda Feder and Kathleen Murray. During the many discussions between these self-employed office-mates and friends of ten years, frustrations have mounted. They’ve noticed that a conservative PAC (The American Action Network-AAN) has been running pro-Lance ads continuously on liberal media outlets like MSNBC, and Leonard Lance has been giving interviews to such stalwart left-wing stations as NPR. In addition, the Ryan-backed Super Pac (AAN) is already operating out of District 7.   “We realized we had to get the message out that Lance is not who he says he is. He’s planning to run again in 2018, and he’s no moderate. He’s out of touch with the needs of New Jersey residents,” said Ms. Murray.  Thus, the two women have formed what is now District 7’s only anti-Lance Super PAC, NJ7 Citizens For Change (NJ7C4C). While the PAC, which launched on October 1, 2017, is prohibited from coordinating with any candidate running for office, they are a grassroots non-partisan advocacy group whose mission it is to explore and promote better representation for the people of New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District.  NJ7C4C will achieve this goal through community organizing; television, radio, digital and print advertising.   According to Ms. Feder, “We have assembled a team of volunteer activists and are working to do everything in our power to unseat Lance. Through fundraising efforts, we aim to run ads countering Lance’s narrative.”  In addition, the group will host educational forums and panels about issues concerning voters in the district, as well as engage in get-out-the-vote activities. For more information on upcoming events, and how to donate and/or get involved with the PAC, sign up here to receive emails or follow us on Facebook.
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A Bad Deal for District 7

So, we now have the outlines of the current administration' tax reform proposal. Actually, as the President himself acknowledged, it is really a tax cut plan.  As usual from this White House, we are given only a broad brush outline, but three things are immediately clear from the plan.  It will primarily benefit the top 1%, including the President and his wealthiest donors.  It is unfunded.  It is bad for NJ residents, and we need to raise our voices.  The New York Time reports the Republican tax cut would benefit the wealthy and corporations the most. For the top 1%, the benefits flow less from the reduction in the top rate of income taxes, but from the treatment given to corporate taxes, investment income, the alternative minimum tax, and the abolition of the estate tax. All of this is said to stimulate investment and thus provide economic benefit to the rest of us. This strategy has been tried twice before, under President's Reagan and the younger Bush, and the only thing that increased was the deficit. Why would we think the third time would be any different? With respect to funding this giveaway, there is only the merest nod to how this will be accomplished. The President proposes, and Congress disposes. What options does Congress have?  They can cut spending or increase the deficit. We have not seen a budget from Congress yet, but with Medicaid and Medicare now apparently off-limits, Social Security sacrosanct, and a 10% increase in military spending planned, that leaves only discretionary spending. Many of the planned cuts there have already been deemed too draconian to bear. No, the party of fiscal rectitude will once more kick the can down the road and opt to increase the deficit by expanded public borrowing. We will be relying on other countries to fund our debts by buying US government securities. And, at a time when the economy is "roaring", per the President, this proposal can only lead to increased interest rates.  Which brings us to NJ. That "merest nod" to funding? That involves eliminating deductions, including the deduction for state and local income taxes for those of us who itemize our returns. In our State, with our very high property taxes, removing the deduction will be very costly for homeowners. According to the NY Times, over 40% of filers in NJ claim the deduction. According to Forbes Magazine, the number in District 7 is 53.3%, joint second highest in the nation. I don't know about you, but I don't want this gift for the President, his family and friends to be funded off my back.  All of this begs the question of why we need tax cuts. We need more public investment in NJ, not more giveaways for our wealthiest citizens. They are not going to reach into their pockets to fund the Gateway Project, or to repair the rest of our crumbling State infrastructure. And given what this proposal will do to federal debt, you can be sure no funding will be coming from D.C. to help us if this tax cut proposal goes through.  “It’s time to take care of our people, to rebuild our nation and to fight for our great American workers,” says the President. I could not agree more. But not like this.   
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Graham-Cassidy is Rejection of All Things Obama

Graham-Cassidy is a piece of legislation breathtaking in its indifference to the health of Americans.  Once again, it has been left to the AMA, the insurance industry, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield to enunciate for us, the public, the true significance of the changes embedded in this proposed law, which has received not a single legislative hearing. We are not even allowed the privilege of knowing how the CBO "scores" this legislation. Instead, we are fed a farrago of lies, darned lies, and statistics meant to persuade us that this bad-tasting medicine will be good for us.  But healthcare professionals across the political spectrum, and governors from north, south, east and west, have gone to great lengths to explain that this bill is a disaster for the poor, will drastically increase the ranks of the uninsured, and will reinstall the financial stigma of the preexisting condition for 40% of the population.  And we, in a blue state, are being asked to shift precious resources to our red state colleagues who declined to expand Medicaid. No wonder even Chris Christie opposes this bill! What does our representative for New Jersey's 7th Congressional District have to say? This is a shoddy piece of political opportunism the content of which is not even understood by the majority of Republican senators. The only strategy with which it is consistent is the rejection of All Things Obama.  Stop this legislative gerrymander, and get on with creating a piece of bipartisan healthcare legislation worthy of the name. 
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Politico: Senate GOP tries one last time to repeal Obamacare

Obamacare repeal is on the brink of coming back from the dead. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his leadership team are seriously considering voting on a bill that would scale back the federal government’s role in the health care system and instead provide block grants to states, congressional and Trump administration sources said. It would be a last-ditch attempt to repeal Obamacare before the GOP’s power to pass health care legislation through a party-line vote in the Senate expires on Sept. 30. - Burgess Everett and Josh Dawsey, Politico The GOP is threatening to take away health insurance for millions of Americans. Again. It is clear that they are doing this for political reasons, with little regard for the millions of people that will be adversely affected by the Graham-Cassidy bill; why else would they push for a vote before the Congressional Budget Office can score it? ACA (Obamacare) isn't perfect, but it's much better than anything the GOP has proposed. It needs to be fixed. Thanks to concerted public outcry from individuals and organizations like the AARP,  the American Diabetes Associan, the American Heart Association, the American Medical Association, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and other secular and religious groups, it was saved in July by the tiniest of margins, but we cannot sit back passively and hope for that margin to hold. Please pick up the pen and pick up the phone and contact your legislators, Republican or Democrat, House or Senate, local or federal. Everyone needs to know that we stand united against these punitive GOP plans, and that we will not forget their vote. Leonard Lance Westfield Office: 908-518-7733 Leonard Lance Flemington Office: 908-788-6900 Leonard Lance Washington DC Office: 202-225-5361 US Congress main switchboard: 202-224-3121
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