Elections are about choices. And this year you have a clear choice: do you want to continue the new path of fiscal responsibility that started in 2009 with the election of Chris Christie, or go back to the bad old days?
My name is Caroline Casagrande and I’m running for the Assembly in the 11th Legislative District, along with my friends Senator Jennifer Beck and Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini. I’ve served parts of Monmouth County in the Legislature since 2008.
I believe we are the best candidates to represent you and keep us on the path to fiscal responsibility. Making New Jersey affordable for families and businesses, creating jobs, and restoring faith in a government which had become a punchline for late-night comedians is something that affects everyone, regardless of your gender, religion, or sexual orientation.
Those are the things I’ve been focused on since being elected four years ago and those are things I will focus on if I am re-elected.
Dan has given me this space to introduce myself to you. I thought I’d use the opportunity to set the record straight, then tell you a little about myself in my own words, rather than you hearing about me from someone who’s constantly hyperventilating.
Dan had been attacking me lately for, in his view, not taking a position on gay marriage. What I’ve said is I’m not going to speculate on hypothetical legislation. On issues like this, it’s easy to be for or against something in theory, but the details are the difference. That’s the approach I take on every bill I vote on- show me the details. Unfortunately, in the black and white, Keith Olbermann- Sean Hannity world we live in, this approach is now seen as a moral failing.
Of course, being lectured on political cowardice by Dan is the ultimate irony. This is the same person who was voted out of office after only one term after voting for the massive $2.8 billion Florio tax hikes in 1990, because he caved when pressure was put on him by the Trenton Democrats. It’s easy to understand why Dan would want to talk about other issues with that hanging around his neck.
In this difficult economic environment, people want leaders with the courage to cut spending, reduce the size of government, and get out of the pockets of businesses and families who can’t afford to pay any more. On those issues, the differences between us are clear: I’ve been a fierce advocate for them, and Dan voted for the largest tax increase in state history.
Let me explain a little about myself and why I’m so concerned about the direction of our state. I was born and raised in Monmouth County and I am currently raising my own family here with my husband Steve and our two young sons, Harrison and Teddy. I graduated from Red Bank Catholic, Penn State University and received my law degree from Rutgers. I am on the Board of Trustees of the Girl Scouts of Monmouth County and the Visiting Nurses Association.
In 2007, I decided to run for the General Assembly because runaway property tax increases (and tax increases of every other kind) were making New Jersey unaffordable for many families and businesses.
I come from a close-knit family. I want my parents to stay in New Jersey. I want my brothers and sisters to be able to afford to live here so my kids can hang out with their cousins. Government shouldn’t be taxing and spending to the point of breaking up families, but that’s what was happening. New Jersey was on the brink of financial disaster and no one seemed to care.
For example, in 2007 the Democrat controlled Legislature passed a $33.5 billion budget, capping a five year span where they raised the budget, $10 BILLION. That’s 50%! In just 5 years! Rather than do something crazy, like maybe spend less money, Governor Corzine was considering selling the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike.
Since 2009 with the election of Governor Christie, we have been able to start to undo the bad economic policies of the past that lead to tens of thousands of people and jobs fleeing our state. We have begun to restore fiscal sanity to our state and create private-sector jobs.
Last spring I voted for bi-partisan reform of the state’s pension and benefits system that will save taxpayers $120 billion over the next 30 years, and preserved the retirements for thousands of workers.
I voted to enact the 2% municipal cap legislation that forces local governments to live within its means and helps stabilize property taxes.
I have made it a point to root out arrogant and wasteful spending of your tax dollars. I’m leading the fight to forbid public employees from cashing in any unused sick and vacation time. I changed the law this year to increase penalties on people committing Medicaid fraud.
I created a web site www.stopgovernmentwastenj.com, for public workers to report waste, such as the fact the state used to waste $3.2 million per year on unused phone lines.
I will continue to fight for taxpayers and look for more ways to reduce the size and cost of government. Unlike my opponents, I will never support job-killing tax increases and will work to find bi-partisan solutions to the challenges facing our state. I hope I have earned your support on the issues that matter most to working families.
To learn more about our campaign, please visit www.team11nj.com