Dist. 10 race demands community’s attention

Dist. 10 race demands community’s attention

CRC forum to feature four candidates vying for Rep. Payne’s seat

On June 5, primary day, District 10 in New Jersey will be having two parallel elections. The first primary is for the late U.S. Rep. Donald Payne’s unexpired term (November 2012-January 2013); the other is for the Democratic congressional candidate (January 2012-January 2015) for the new Legislative District 10.

Voters will be asked to select a candidate to fill Payne’s unexpired term, and then also to select a candidate for the full, two-year congressional term.

As a result of redistricting, the new district will be changing in parts of Union County and has expanded to include additional areas in Essex County, including in West Orange and Montclair.

There are currently four Democratic candidates running for one or both of these seats. The four candidates are: State Sen. Nia Gill, Newark Councilman Ron Rice, Newark Councilman Don Payne Jr., and Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith.

This election has important implications for the Jewish community. None of the four candidates is an incumbent. None has held national office and only one has had experience at the state level. None has a public record on Israel, working to stop Iran’s nuclear capacity, or homeland security. Yet they all have shown strong commitment to the betterment of their community and to being a voice for the most vulnerable among us — priority concerns of the Jewish community.

This is a historic opportunity — to elect a new fresh voice to Congress representing New Jersey. It is important that as the Jewish community, we ensure that this new member of Congress will be a friend to our community and a strong advocate for Israel. Therefore it is important that those who live in both the old and the new District 10 stay educated, vote, and urge others to vote. This official may be in office for many years to come and will be instrumental in setting policy and appropriations for a multitude of issues and concerns that impact many of us.

In addition, one of the benefits of being affiliated with United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ and the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey is our strong relationships with elected officials. Through the Community Relations Committee of MetroWest and Central NJ, our federations work in close collaboration with our senators and representatives in Congress to move forward the legislative agendas and priorities of our own organizations and the national agenda of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. We visit and collaborate with them locally and in Washington. Because of our unique local and national work and connections, we often form strong connections and establish lines of respect. We also encourage our leaders to stay engaged in this process.

The current priorities of the JFNA system include:

• Solving the debt crisis while protecting the most vulnerable

• Maintaining cost-effective and efficient Medicaid

• Supporting charitable-contribution deductions

• Increasing jobs for the un- and under-employed

• Helping seniors age in place

• Ensuring a strong, secure, democratic State of Israel

• Ending Iran’s nuclear capacity

• Deterring human trafficking

To get to know these candidates better, the CRC is sponsoring the Essex County District 10 Candidates’ Forum on Wednesday, May 23, at 8:30 a.m. at the Cooperman JCC in West Orange. Brigid Callahan Harrison, professor of political science and law at Montclair State University and a frequent political commentator for NJTV, and Andrew Silow-Carroll, editor-in-chief of New Jersey Jewish News, will moderate the program.

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