I believe that we need more people in Congress who are willing to work across the aisle – with Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – to get things done for our families and for children. Here’s the truth: our taxes are too high, the tax code is too complicated, and we simply have too many out-of-date and over burdensome regulations. We are losing businesses, jobs, and people by the day. We need to make our state more competitive and attractive to companies, small and large. Our schools are some of the best in the country, but we still have work to do to make sure they are preparing our children for the jobs of tomorrow. Our roads and bridges are crumbling and our transportation system is not what it should be. Our pipes are old and I’m concerned about lead in our drinking water. We need to invest and build infrastructure above and below ground.
Here is the good news: we live in the greatest country in the world and we can overcome any obstacle and seize on any opportunity. But it will take someone willing to put aside partisan differences to get things done for the American people. I’m a moderate — fiscally-conservative and socially-progressive. For me, it’s not about labels; it’s about our values – Jersey Values.
What does that mean? We need to treat everyone with respect and dignity. We need to move beyond the bickering and insults, seize on our country’s opportunities, and solve our most pressing challenges. I believe we need comprehensive tax reform and fewer regulations, clean drinking water, top-notch schools and STEM education for our children, and investment in our roads, bridges, and tunnels – so we can cut down on our commutes and attract new businesses. We need to stand by our seniors, veterans, and first responders, so our families are safe at home and around the world.
The bottom line: I’ll bring a get-things-done approach to Washington. I’ll bring the same approach I learned working in the private sector, at Ford Motor Company and Microsoft, where it’s not about party but about progress. We need someone who understands how to make the public and private sectors work together to keep and bring jobs back to New Jersey. As Americans, we are always stronger when we work together and remember that our best days are ahead of us.
From our property and local taxes, to our state and federal taxes, homeowners here pay some of the highest taxes in the nation. It’s part of the reason we’ve seen people and companies, small and large, packing up and leaving town, and taking good-paying jobs and their investment with them. In the last few years alone, we’ve lost part or all of Sony, Mercedes, and Hertz – as well as so many small and medium size businesses that have had to close up shop, too.
But here’s the good news: New Jersey is in the economic heartland of America; the heart of our nation’s financial infrastructure is only a few miles away and some of the top life science companies in the world, beginning with Johnson & Johnson, call our state home. We also have some of the fastest broadband in America right here in our district, which is why the whole back-end of the New York Stock Exchange sits in Bergen County. When it comes to human capital, we have some of the top colleges and brightest minds right here. The question is: How can we maximize these assets and get our economy humming again?
In Congress, I will work across the aisle to pass comprehensive tax reform, like President Ronald Reagan and Speaker Tip O’Neill did in 1986, so we can lower tax rates, close loopholes, and cut out out-of-date regulations. We need to eliminate incentives for moving headquarters, jobs and production overseas, shrink our deficits, and reduce our debt. We also need to fix the tax code to bring back the $2.1 trillion sitting overseas and set aside the revenue for an Infrastructure Bank to rebuild our transportation and infrastructure. We should also invest in R&D, so we can continue to pump out first-rate innovation.
We have some of the most talented people in the world here and proximity to the economic engines of our country, top-notch schools, and beautiful communities. We need to harness this potential.
When you add up our local, property, state, and federal taxes, one thing is clear: Our tax code is a mess and it’s crushing our residents and pushing dozens of businesses out of our state — taking jobs and dollars with them. We have the third highest corporate tax rate in the world; twice as many US companies have moved overseas to escape our high taxes in the last ten years than in the twenty years prior.
First and foremost, we need to cut unnecessary spending and waste, close loopholes, reduce our deficit, cut the debt, and pass comprehensive tax reform. Like President Reagan and Speaker O’Neill did in 1986, we need to draft a new tax code that lowers rates, encourages investment, keeps jobs here, brings new companies to the state, and repatriates corporate dollars stuck overseas.
Second, I want to keep dollars with our citizens and companies, not the IRS. But until we cut our taxes altogether, we must fight to bring more of the tax dollars we send to Washington back to New Jersey – dollars for basic needs like grants for our schools, clean water, fire trucks and infrastructure.
The American Society for Civil Engineers gives the US a D+ when it comes to our infrastructure. New Jersey would have an even poorer grade. One-third of New Jersey’s bridges are considered unsafe for travel, and driving on our deteriorating roads costs drivers an average of $1,951 a year. NJ Transit has the second-worst breakdown record in America and yet, the prices keep going up. Each year, the average commuter in our state spends $605 dollars fixing their cars from pothole damage and $861 dollars sitting in traffic. That’s time away from the dinner table with our families, and money out of our pockets.
Right now, because the Hudson Tunnel into New York City is 88 years old and in massive disrepair after Hurricane Sandy, NJ Transit riders face service disruptions and erratic train schedules between Secaucus and Penn Station on the weekends due to track repairs. That simply doesn’t make sense in the core economic corridor of our country. We can’t attract new residents and businesses to a state where our roads, tunnels and bridges are crumbling.
There are clear economic benefits to improving our infrastructure. Studies have shown that each dollar of infrastructure spending increases the gross state product by two dollars. Moreover, fixing infrastructure helps attract new residents, businesses, and raises property values. Most important, it allows us to go home earlier to see our families and tuck our kids into bed.
Here’s what we need to do: we need to bring light rail to Bergen County, build the Gateway Tunnel, invest in rail that goes straight to New York City without stopping in Secaucus, bring new bus and rail service to Sussex and Warren and ease our commute to New York City and within our district. I will push for comprehensive tax reform, including closing loopholes and lowering the corporate tax rate, which will help bring dollars back home. As part of these reforms, we should incentivize companies to bring their dollars sitting overseas back home through a one-time lower tax rate (the 500 largest companies hold more than $2 trillion in assets overseas) and then take that new revenue and allocate it for a new infrastructure bank. The infrastructure bank will invest in new roads, bridges, and tunnels.
As I learned growing up, we were all created in the image of God. I believe that everyone should be treated equally no matter what their background, race, sexual orientation, or station in life. We will only succeed as a nation if everyone is included and treated with respect and dignity. It’s what built America and allowed our economy and culture to flourish. I will fight to defend the hard-won victories enshrined in the Voting Rights Act. I will also work for prison reform for nonviolent offenders, an area with great bipartisan support. We waste massive amounts of money on strategies that make our communities less, not more, safe.
Our seniors shouldn’t have to worry that their Social Security checks, which they worked hard for, will always clear and that Medicare will be available to them. I promise to protect Social Security and Medicare for future generations and will oppose any attempt to privatize or cut the benefits of these essential programs. Instead, we should make our current programs more sustainable for future generations. Social Security and Medicare are the foundation of our retirement security; it should be a guarantee – not a gamble.
We live in a time where three women currently sit on the Supreme Court, women occupy twenty percent of all Congressional seats, and scores sit in America’s boardrooms – and a woman is running for President of the United States. The sky should be the limit, for all of our sons and our daughters.
I unequivocally support women’s reproductive rights and will fight any attempt to get between a woman and her doctor when it comes to making personal healthcare choices. I also believe women should have access to affordable health care services around the country.
We must also support families by providing new parents with Family Leave and quality, affordable childcare. We must ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work. We should also invest in stem cell research and ensure that the National Institutes of Health continue to fund ground-breaking research in cancer, autism, and other diseases.
Our District has the best K-12 schools in the country but we can’t afford to take our eye off the ball. We must aggressively push forward and ensure that our children are given every opportunity to succeed in the global, digital economy. At Microsoft, I saw first-hand how few engineers and computer programmers our country produces; we simply aren’t graduating enough of them. And, given our immigration policies, many of the engineers who graduate from our colleges can’t stay here. The result is a huge skills gap.
I support integrating education technology in the classroom and programs that greatly emphasize Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), skills that are increasingly necessary for children who will enter the workforce in the coming decades.
Providing our children with a STEM education will make the district an attractive location for companies from the technology industry, and position our children to compete for the high paying jobs of the future. Studies have shown that over time each high-tech job creates about five jobs outside of tech (two professional and three nonprofessional). It is critical that we have a representative in Washington who understands the needs of an increasingly important industry that has such dynamic economic potential if Northern New Jersey is going to be well positioned to have a vibrant economy in the future.
Beyond K-12, we also must take steps to make college more affordable. The costs of college tuition has skyrocketed 80 percent in the last decade. Seven in ten college graduates have an average debt of more than $35,000, and only 59 percent of students seeking a bachelor’s degree actually finish. We need to incentivize college completion, for both students and colleges, better match college training with employer needs, and address the runaway costs.
Israel is a bastion of stability in a region that is prone to radical, frequent change, and Israel’s commitment to equality, freedom of expression and religion, and democratic values is unprecedented across the globe, across history, and especially across the Middle East.
This is precisely why Israel is, and must remain, our closest ally. I believe we must do everything in our power to support the strength, safety, and prosperity of Israel. In Congress, I will work tirelessly to strengthen greater economic, diplomatic, cultural, and defense-related exchanges between Israel and the United States.
Standing Strong Against Terror, Standing by Our Veterans and First Responders
I believe that there is no room for compromise in the war on terror – against ISIS, against Al-Qaeda, and other burgeoning threats around the world. With the rise of ISIS and recent horrific terror attacks, we must be even more vigilant to protect our families and secure our citizens from threats, both foreign and domestic. We must eliminate ISIS to prevent the next 9/11, secure our nation’s borders, equip our military and law enforcement agencies with the training and cutting-edge resources they need, and protect our communities from lone-wolf terrorists. We must stand by our military, veterans and first responders who put their lives on the line every day and ensure that they have the best possible care, when they serve and after. There is no room for compromise against terror.