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.