Blog - NJ7 Citizens for Change

A Washington Morality Play

Someone once said, “Politics is ethics in public.”  Don’t you wish!  For the Republican party, ethics are out the window and morality has been shown the door.  They have been replaced by political expediency and crony capitalism.   We saw it in the 2016 election, when the “Access Hollywood” tape emerged with public denunciations followed by a decision to brush the subject under the rug. We saw it in when allegations by 19 women of sexual harassment by their presidential standard-bearer were ignored.   We are seeing it now with the decision of the RNC and the President to resume support for Roy Moore, rather than give credence to the women who have come forward at personal cost to expose his criminal predation on teenage girls.   We saw it in the statement by Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah that he thought children and pregnant women who receive federal healthcare assistance did not deserve such help because they “won’t lift a finger” to help themselves. We saw it when Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said “I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.” We are seeing it now, when after eight years of preaching financial rectitude, fiscal responsibility is tossed aside in favor of rewards for the donor class. We see it in our Congressman, who makes “principled stands” when allowed to, but does what he is told when it counts. But many Americans, on both sides of the political divide, have had enough.  Can’t we come together and hold our representatives to a higher standard?  Can’t we assert that we want America to provide moral leadership in the world?  Can’t we insist on good government, effective government, efficient government, while recognizing that some citizens have more needs than others? Can’t we agree that we all want to give all our children the possibility to succeed in realizing the American Dream? We can, and we must.  Let’s find and support a candidate for NJ7 who will bring to Washington the ethics and moral standards we all try to bring to our private lives.  
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Make America Dumb Again

It’s hard to throw a brick at the tax “reform” legislation ricocheting around the walls of Congress without hitting something malignant, malodorous or both.  Let’s have a look at education.  Does anyone seriously believe that college education is a bad thing?  Does anyone deny that the chances of getting a university education significantly improves the prospects for a well-paying job?  Is there serious debate about the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) in improving our global competitiveness?  Why, then, would any administration roll logs in the path of those seeking undergraduate or graduate degrees?  A Bachelor’s degree is worth $2.8 million on average over a lifetime.  Bachelor’s degree holders earn 84 percent more than those with just a high school diploma. Wouldn’t we want to encourage students down this path?  Yet initial versions of the tax legislation would eliminate a deduction on interest paid on student loans, include major reductions in the tax credits for tuition that help students and their families offset college costs, and move to treat employer-provided tuition payments as taxable income.    And if you think it is bad for undergraduates, it is a disaster for graduate students – those pursuing PhD’s, or other higher degrees. A graduate student on a stipend from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) makes $23, 844 a year.  To help out, Universities often waive tuition fees.  At MIT, that would be $49,000 per annum.  The average is more like $16,000.  Under the proposed legislation those waived fees would be counted as taxable earnings, and would add thousands of dollars to a student’s tax burden.   And all this for the sake of what? Increased corporate profits?  Elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax for the President and his family? Repeal of the Estate Tax for the Koch brothers?  If we do not nurture and value higher education in this country, we will reduce to rubble a pillar of American competitiveness and become a “me too” player in the global economy.  Is that what “Make America Great Again” means? Really??  Support education, and hold our Congressman accountable for this disastrous legislation.  
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“Frankly, My Dear, I Don’t Give a Damn!”

     When it’s tax cut season, deficit hawks fly south for the winter. But we may be sure that when spring arrives, those birds of prey will be back, looking for easy pickings amongst the "poor and the maimed and the halt and the blind" (Luke 13: 21).   Although we may focus on the iniquity of the trillion-dollar handouts to the donor classes, the sucker punch is in the direct and indirect impact the legislation will have on the rest of us.   Without the ability to deduct SALT, and with a cap on mortgage deductions, state and local governments will be constrained in their ability to support local infrastructure projects, public transportation or social services. That is why the National Governors Association, the United States Conference of Mayors and the National Conference of State Legislatures have denounced the measure.   Only the Wizard of Oz believes that the bills in the House and Senate can generate meaningful job growth and economic expansion. And when Congressmen are shocked-- shocked!-- to learn that the Wizard was dreaming in technicolor, you may be sure the talons will be unsheathed.   Medicaid, we know, is already targeted to pay for reducing Mr Trump’s intolerable tax burden. Those 89,000 Maine residents who think they gained coverage in the recent State ballot will probably discover that the package is largely empty when theytake off the ribbons.   We know that some 13 million people will lose healthcare coverage if the Individual Mandate is eliminated, and Insurance premiums are expected to rise by 10 percent.  Wait, there’s more. The Congressional Budget Office said on Tuesday that a law passed in 2010 would necessitate cuts to Medicare of as much as $25 billion next year and could reach almost a half trillion dollars over 10 years, according to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.  This legislation is a one-two punch, designed to entrench a plutocracy and establish a permanent underclass.   And Congressman Lance, I am sure would echo Rhett Butler in saying, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!”
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Spread the Message- Leonard Lance Must Go

Our messaging campaign begins today! Can you help us by sharing the link to this video? Our goal is to reach as many voters as possible that reside in NJ 7th Congressional District. Messages must reach Independent and Unaffiliated voters. If you would like to see more videos go viral, please consider donating to our 2500 Challenge!  DONATE NOW Don't forget to contact Congressman Lance about the tax scam and make your voice heard! (201) 225-5361      
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NJ7 CITIZENS FOR CHANGE HOLDS VICTORY PARTY FOR WESTFIELD ACTIVISTS

WESTFIELD, November 18, 2017—Fresh off the heels of Westfield’ New Jersey’s historic municipal election, in which twelve years of Republican rule was upended in the biggest democratic sweep in almost 300 years of town history, NJ7 Citizens for Change hosted a victory party for the town’s formidable grass roots group, Westfield 20/20.    Congratulations were in order for the advocacy of the group’s members, whose efforts at holding local town officials accountable led to the realization that the status quo was no longer tenable.  Although Westfield 20/20 was originally formed in response to national political events, members of the group played a vital role in shaping the dialog during the election season, by attending local town halls, asking the necessary questions, and challenging the dismissive attitude of town officials toward their constituents.  When the local slate of democratic candidates—all newcomers to the political arena-- came together to challenge all five of the eligible seats, it was predicted by local pundits that it was unlikely that all the seats would flip.  While Westfield 20/20 itself did not officially endorse any particular candidates, many members of the group used their activist skills to assist in a variety of volunteer and canvassing activities for the local candidates of their choice.  Not only were the local pundits proven wrong, but history was made in more ways than one.  A democrat won a town council seat in the toniest ward in town—a first ever.  A woman won the mayoral seat—also unprecedented.  In fact, overnight, the town governing body went from eight men and one woman to five men and four women.  Now Westfield has a truly bipartisan government and NJ7Citizens for Change couldn’t be prouder of our friends and neighbors in this inspiring community.  NJ7Citizens for Change is currently raising money to fund a video ad campaign to counter Lance’s so-called “moderate” image that is being portrayed by GOP Super PAC television ads currently running.  The video will be boosted to Undecideds, Independents and disenchanted Republicans.  The focus of the ad will be on Lance’s out-of-touch voting record and weakness in leadership.  The PAC is not at this time featuring any other candidates in the ad campaign as it supports the primary process. The PAC will support whichever candidate wins the primary.  Video ads are upwards of $2,000 to produce and cost money to boost.  To donate to the video ad campaign, please click here to DONATE.  
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NJ7C4C Fills important Need in 7th Congressional District

Who Are We? NJ7 Citizens for Change (NJ7C4C) is a federally-registered [ Super PAC (Political Action Committee)].  A Super PAC cannot contribute to or coordinate with a candidate or political party but may otherwise engage in unlimited political spending to advocate for or against a federal candidate.  Our mission is to promote Democratic representation for the 7th Congressional District of New Jersey.  Specifically, we seek to dispel the notion that Leonard Lance is the moderate that you see on MSNBC, CNN, and NPR.  In addition, you may be seeing ads that depict him as the protector of the middle class when we know that his voting record says otherwise.  These ads have been produced and paid for by GOP Super PACs. We want to produce quality video and print materials as well as radio ads to illustrate his voting record, which is consistent with the Trump agenda over 90% of the time. Virtually every dollar you donate to NJ7C4C will go towards fulfilling this goal.  We are all volunteers and have no paid staff and negligible overhead. Once we have produced issue-oriented videos, we will boost them, as well as other on-line content, to targeted audiences on social media.   There are over 20 grassroots activist groups active in New Jersey’s Seventh Congressional District.  We do not seek to duplicate their efforts but rather to work with them to produce materials that expose Lance for who he is and not who he pretends to be on TV. Most of these groups have no legal means to raise funds.  We all know that effective, far reaching messaging takes money.  We can provide paid messaging to compliment the on-the-ground work of the Grassroots groups.  It will take a great targeted effort to unseat Lance and to bring strong Democratic representation to New Jersey’s Seventh District. In terms of the current field of Democratic candidates, there are currently at least six individuals vying for the nomination.  We hope to see a fair and open primary process whereby a strong candidate will move forward into the General Election at which time we will wholeheartedly and enthusiastically support her or him. Please consider becoming part of our campaign for 2,500 donations of $25 in 25 days.  Give yourself the gift of a new Congressperson in 2018.  Donate Here  
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A Turkey Votes for Christmas?

  Congressman Leonard Lance is in a corner.  He voted “No” on the House tax reform measure, in accordance with the clear will of his constituents.  In a snap on-line poll he conducted, 85% of respondents agreed with his vote. So far, so good.  Clearly, the ability to deduct state and local taxes (SALT), and to retain the full mortgage interest deduction is critically important to voters in NJ7.  But that was the easy vote. The question is, how will Congressman Lance vote when a Senate version has passed, and a final yes/no vote is called on the Act of Congress that emerges from committee?  Our Congressman has declared himself confident that “there is room for compromise,” no doubt preparing the ground for a “Yes” vote after establishing his principled opposition.  It just won’t wash.  Whatever the final form the legislation takes, the “blue states” will be asked to give at the office again.  And should you hear talk that our “red state” colleagues are subsidizing those tax-and-spend “blue state” liberals by supporting the SALT deduction, remember this:  In 2015 , each NJ resident sent $2,659 more to Washington in taxes than she got back in federal spending--more than any other state.  
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2018 Election is Here!

  2018 is here! Wow!  Was it just a week ago we were celebrating some great election news from NJ?  Time to sit back, and smell the roses, right? Wrong!  We are already in the 2018 electoral cycle.  Have you received your first election flyer from Leonard Lance yet?  If not, you will find it in your mailbox shortly.  Congressman Lance knows he will be in the fight of his life.  His future will be in OUR hands.  Did you hear of Elizabeth Warren’s response to the question, “who is the leader of the Democratic Party?”  Her response was “the grassroots”.  You better believe it.  The only way we will be able to replace Congressman Lance with a Democrat will be through a massive, district wide, disciplined and highly coordinated Get Out The Vote campaign, no matter who our final candidate is.  It is going to be on US, the grassroots.  Why do I say to that?  Well, close inspection of the result of last week’s gubernatorial race returns showed that in NJ7, with a turnout of about 35% of voters, some 14 000 more people voted for Kim Guadagno than voted for Phil Murphy.  If that had been the Congressional race, Leonard Lance would be back in office.  There will be no Trump/Clinton race next year.  It is likely that our scandal-plagued senior senator will head the ticket.    At the grass roots level, I know that many people have absorbed that lesson, and are already thinking about how to increase voter turnout, how to get an edge.  For example, I came into contact with Kristin Sanborn, from Summit, NJ.  Kristin is compiling a comprehensive set of spreadsheets, documenting every vote recorded in each of the last few elections in every district, in every township in every county in NJ7.  I can testify that it is dusty, dry, unglamorous work, But that information can help to build outreach into all corners of the district, to build local organizations, town by town, ward by ward.  And if we can connect those communities, share our learnings, our talents, our enthusiasm, our commitment, then just maybe we can send one big collective message to Washington.    And the message will be, NJ7 Citizens voted for Change.  And WON!!  
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Who Are They Kidding?

We continue to be told that the Republican tax cuts will benefit the middle class.  What kind of a people do they think we are??  According to calculations by the Joint Committee on Taxation, the House bill would deliver about $1 trillion in tax cuts to business.  And, writing in the WSJ, Richard Rubin said “Early estimates show that about $1 trillion worth of the tax cuts in the plan go to businesses, including pass-through ones, while about $228 billion goes to individuals and $172 billion goes to estates.”   Most of the “tax breaks” for individuals expire after a few years whereas the changes for businesses are permanent.  Further, it is individuals who are at risk from the cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, and now, we learn, from the repeal of the individual mandate, which will add 15 million people to the ranks of the uninsured.  What is more, the Senate version totally eliminates the deduction for State and Local taxes.  For Blue states like New Jersey, that will amount to a substantial rise in taxation. In NJ7, that deduction is taken by 53.3% of taxpayers, per Forbes Magazine.    Our Congressman, Leonard Lance, while declaring loss of the SALT deduction “unacceptable.” also talks of his confidence that a compromise can be reached.  No doubt his mind is being concentrated wonderfully by the SuperPACS running TV ads, thanking him for supporting the GOP tax plan that "gives all middle income folks a tax savings of $1200+ per year!”  These Super PACS-- 45 Committee, American Action Network, and Campaign for Liberty - are “dark money” organizations designed to protect the anonymity of the wealthy donors supporting them, who will be the big winners under this tax cut plan.  You can be sure they are not amongst the more than 400 American millionaire and billionaire members of Responsible Wealth, who are sending a letter to Congress this week urging Republican lawmakers NOT to cut their taxes.  Responsible Wealth knows that this is a tax cut for the wealthy 1% at the expense of the poor, the sick, and the elderly, and they reject it. So should your Congressman.  
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Old Chinese Proverb - “Eat bitter, taste sweet”

    Doesn’t it feels as though we have endured a year of eating bitter fruit? At last we tasted some sweetness in the elections this week.    I was a spear-carrier in the municipal elections in Westfield, where the Republicans held all 8 council seats and the mayor’s office. Shelley Brindle campaigned to become the town’s first female mayor, and lead a ticket including four Democrat candidates for the council seats up for re-election.  The campaign fed off the energy of the local “resist” movement, making liberal use of both traditional campaign tools and social media to mobilize a motivated base of all ages.  Shelley and her team certainly motivated me to get out of my armchair!  And the result?  A clean sweep! On a day on which the rain set in at around 4:00pm, the election generated a 45% voter turnout, compared with a statewide average of 35%.  Other local townships have similar tales to tell, I know  There are lessons to be learned here for our next task in the 2018 mid-term elections.  It will not be easy.  In the four elections in which Congressman Lance has run, his margin of victory has never been less than 9% and it has been as high as 20%, feeding off a solid base of support in the west of the state.  But in the gubernatorial election, in the counties that fall in whole or in part in NJ7, Murphy outpolled Guadagno. Murphy ran away with Union county; and came close in Somerset.  As in Virginia, the more suburban counties went heavily for the progressive message.  Of course, the counties don’t match completely with the Congressional map, but it is encouraging.  A strong candidate with a compelling vision; multi-generational and coordinated “resistance”; robust local organization; a high voter turnout.  Together, our citizens can indeed force change!  In the words of Winston Churchill, “this is not the end; it is not even the beginning of the end.  But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”  Sweet!  
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