Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Dist. 7) joined congregants at Congregation Israel of Springfield after services Oct. 2.
Lance spoke in the sanctuary to a gathering of about 200 people, and then adjourned with them for refreshments. “We had a kiddush — is that the right word?” he told NJ Jewish News.
Lance, a first-term incumbent seeking reelection in November, said he told the congregants about the eight-day trip he and his wife took to Israel last year and his feeling for the country. “I told them I support Israel 100 percent, as the only true democracy in the Middle East,” he said.
He also discussed Iraq and Afghanistan and the threat posed by Iran, and measures he has sponsored or cosponsored on the issue.
“I think we have to be extremely careful about Iran. I think that they are developing fearsome nuclear weapons apace,” he said. “I regret that sanctions weren’t imposed earlier. I don’t know what else can be done, but I don’t think that any options should be taken off the table.”
Lance, a fiscal conservative, said he thinks that the federal debt is out of control, and talked about the need to regain fiscal responsibility. Given the economic mess, he said, “the question is whether this is going to be the second American century, or whether we will be ceding leadership to another power.”
Lance’s opponent is Democratic challenger Ed Potosnak, an educator who has taught at Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School and as an adjunct professor at Rutgers University.
Lance said his remarks were not partisan, except when he talked about the November elections. “I’m hoping that my side will make gains,” he said, “and that if we are the majority, we will be involved in governance again, which we haven’t been for a while. But I’m not counting any chickens before they’ve hatched.”
Congregation Israel’s Rabbi Chaim Marcus had hosted Lance at his home a while back, when he came to meet with other Orthodox leaders. Lance also hosted a gathering last September in his office in Washington, DC, of representatives from the Orthodox Union, which facilitated both the meeting at the rabbi’s home and at the synagogue.