BY JOE MANGINO
We created our very first endorsement committee and a decided to get involved in elections for the first time this year. It was exciting to bring together NJOP members from across our region and party affiliation – thanks to the twelve people who served on the committee- to make a plan to put our issues and our community first in the 2018 elections, not party politics as usual. We ended up working in the Stafford mayor and council race to elect me and a great team (thanks everyone for all your work) and to educate voters about Rep. MacArthur’s terrible record on the issues that matter to us.
The election results were a mixed bag. Though we did not win in Stafford, in only eight short weeks, we ran a powerful campaign. I got 45% or 5,103 votes, a record for a Democrat in our town and more than Republican Gubernatorial candidate Kim Guadagno in 2017 who won Stafford with 4,471 votes. The good news is we all know, I don’t need to hold public office to be a difference maker. So this loss won’t stop me from fighting for my community. The better news is our positive, issue-based campaign energized residents across the political spectrum who are now engaged and committed to holding our newly elected officials accountable and making sure our issues are heard and our residents are treated fairly.
We’re excited to have a new Congressman to work with in district 3. When Rep. MacArthur first took office in 2014, we worked with him on flood insurance, Sandy Recovery, and healthcare. At first we were optimistic. Rep. MacArthur seemed concerned about all of these issues and wanted to work with us for the benefit of all South Jersey/Jersey Shore residents. Unfortunately, in 2017 we started to disagree on some key issues – how to improve our Flood Insurance Program, and how to help more families afford quality healthcare. That’s why we knocked on more than 6,000 doors in Ocean County before the election to talk to residents about our communities’ future, and how Rep. MacArthur did not stand with us. As always, we don’t base our opinions around party affiliation, just on who will stand with our community. We’re hopeful and ready to try again for affordable flood insurance that lets our communities prepare for future storms and increasing access – including for treatment and services for those struggling with addiction – to affordable quality healthcare.
We are excited to work in future elections to move our vision for our community forward and put people before party politics as usual.