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The Last Are First
Platform Priorities

In my career as a pastor — a calling that I believe holds within its definition community organizer, social entrepreneur and justice-seeker — my work has been guided by a belief that society is only as good as the life it provides for its most vulnerable citizens.  Accordingly, we should all do what we can to put the last first. As a church, and with interfaith partners and other people of good will, I've worked hard to listen to the voices of those struggling most here, and to organize creative responses to meet unmet needs.  I have built a better and stronger community as a result.  It is the guiding tenet of my faith, and my career, and if elected, would guide my administration.  

A healthy government should be more than a mere safety net for the very poor.  Safety nets seem to me to be a metaphor wedded to trickle-down economics and trickle-down-from-the-powerful decision-making.  By exercising common sense compassion, and enacting a platform of real change for the "last", I believe the trickle from above can be replaced with well-springs that start at the bottom.  I believe a more beautiful communal and individual life is possible for all of us.  If we can provide a fuller, richer life with more opportunity starting by prioritizing the last, we can experience something that more resembles a mighty stream. 

Peace, Seth
The Last Are First

The layout of this document places at the forefront three topics that I believe will dramatically increase revenue in this state, even as they serve the 'last are first' agenda in major ways.  Then, in light of new funds generated, I move into an extensive 'last are first' agenda

NJ Single Payer Medicare for All

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NJ Single Payer Medicare for All would provide first-rate health care for all New Jerseyans and would save the state, local municipalities, businesses and individuals, billions of dollars.  It is the single change most able to transform this state.

There is a growing awareness in America that the health care we receive is managed by an unnecessary and ridiculously expensive middle-manager — the health insurance industry.  As long as that industry is calling the shots Americans will be paying far too much for our health care.  NJ Single Payer Improved and Expanded Medicare is about Care, not Insurance.  The cost of the state of NJ running its own health care program is projected to bring down costs to employers, and to employees, in dramatic ways.  After eliminating insurance payments, an increase in payroll taxes (6% on the employer side, 2% on the employee) could put this program into effect immediately.  This plan would have no deductibles, no co-pays, no premiums and would mean that we’d stop differentiating the care offered to public workers, wall street bankers and the poorest of the poor.  Good health care is a right, not a benefit.  

Many in New Jersey live in fear of getting sick, not because they’re afraid of getting sick, but because you’re afraid of the cost of getting sick. It’s ridiculous for the state to be economically-sick because we’re throwing money away to what is an entirely unnecessary industry that overcharges many of us and is cost prohibitive to others.  The cost savings related to NJ Single Payer would allow us to: Fix the public workers and teachers pension problem as state pensions are currently linked with health insurance expenses, reduce municipal/school budgets, lower property taxes, make it easier for business to transition to $15/minimum wage and free people up for job-mobility.

 

New Jersey Public Banking

NJ invests it revenues into hedge funds managed by Wall Street banks. Our state pays excessive fees to allow Wall Street banks to loan our money anywhere in the world, often fueling wars or building oil pipelines rather than investing in the future.  A public bank would allow capital investments made by the people of New Jersey to invest in the future of New Jersey. The state would not only invest its revenue in a public bank with a clear mandate on how the money can be loaned, we would also be able to lend out $10 for every $1 in assets – that is how banks work.  We would also have access to loans at less than 1% interest, and we could pass on the low interest in loans to those who need them.  The mission for the NJ state bank will include providing low interest loans to counties and municipalities for infrastructure projects, buying out mortgages of homes in contested processes of foreclosure and re-negotiating fair mortgages and providing low interest loans to NJ university students to make higher education affordable. Banking professionals and stakeholders will play an important role in oversight of the bank to ensure it does not fall under the influence of politicians. We would partner with local community-based banks and credit unions to provide low cost loans to small businesses, rather than leaving them at the mercy of banking profiteers.

 

Carbon, Corporate, Sales, and Income Taxes Need to be Considered Through a ‘Last Are First’ Lens.

Our tax codes and tax policies have been looked at through a ‘first are first’ lens for long enough.  My Administration, without the burden of decades of promises to big donors, and with an eye for caring for the last, can take a fresh look at taxes in this state. 

Currently, NJ has a 7 bracket state tax system. High wage earners pay more based on reaching the next plateau in the bracket. Our tax bracket has remained stagnant even as wealth has dramatically increased among the highest wage earners. I propose that we, like other states, add new brackets.  I propose we add an 8th and 9th bracket, so that those who have the good fortune of exorbitant wealth can contribute more to our state. Right now all monies after $500,000 are taxed at 8.97%. I propose $500,001-$750,000 at 10.50%, and $750,001 and above at 12%.

I also propose that the Estate Tax be reinstated. The 20+ Democrats who voted to fund the Transportation Trust Fund even as a deal was cut with Governor Christie to eliminate the Estate Tax, have led us in a dangerous direction.

Corporate welfare tax credits should be scrapped. If NJ goes with a NJ single payer Medicare for All, NJ business will have such incentive to do business in the state that there wouldn’t be a need for any additional tax credits.

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Some of our Children Are Hungry, and Last, So They Shall be First

A comprehensive process needs to be implemented throughout New Jersey to identify hungry children and to combat hunger directly.  Hunger compounds tremendous disadvantages for children that are often already at risk.  If we fail our children in this most basic way we cannot expect children to flourish.  In the months to come we will pull together experts on hunger who can help craft meaningful policies that build on the good work already being done by various state and non-profit agencies.  

 

SOME OF OUR CHILDREN ARE Homeless, AND LAST, SO THEY SHALL BE FIRST

Children need to know that they have a safe and stable place to call home.  They should never fear uncertainty about where they will lay their head at night.   The State Rental Assistance Program should invest in housing vouchers based firstly on the need of a child. 

Vouchered Rental units should be made available in every municipality in New Jersey.  Today some towns in New Jersey have effectively become too rich to welcome families with vouchers.  This weakens society by creating a bigger gap and causing an even larger chasm between the life experiences of New Jerseyans of different means.  State Rental Assistance Programs, under my administration, will secure that low-income families with school-aged children are placed in every town, and that once placed there, they are advocated for and supported.

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Homeless

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THE HOMELESS ARE LAST — AND NEED HOUSING AND SUPPORT SERVICES — THEY SHALL BE FIRST

One way to recharge the economy is to increase access to affordable housing for all NJ residents.  By committing $600 million of state funds annually toward affordable housing development/support through HCDNNJ's Build a Thriving New Jersey plan we will create construction jobs while simultaneously creating a healthier life for our poorest residents.  They, in turn, well-housed, will become increasingly stable and able to more effectively plug into our economy and communities.

Many of New Jersey’s homeless are Medicaid “high-utilizers.”  Evidence-based interventions of rapid rehousing and high-fidelity Housing First (HFHF) creates a healthier environment for those who need more services. 

Just recently New Jersey moved to a Medicaid fee-for-service payment model.  The pursuit of this model has been suspect from the beginning.  New Jersey should expedite the development of a values-based purchasing strategy that includes data-driven performance measures. My administration would extend state "bridge funds" to cover the shortfall and keep programs open until the values-based payment model goes into effect.

Seniors

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SENIOR CITIZENS ARE LAST, AND THEIR CAREGIVERS TOO—THEY SHALL BE FIRST

Staffing Levels In Nursing Homes are a serious problem.  It is very important that seniors in nursing homes, whose age and physical condition leave them very vulnerable, are treated with dignity and respect and are given the highest level of care.  I would fully support legislation that increases staffing levels for those in nursing homes and other care facilities. 

Proper funding of Nursing Homes, by securing proper Medicaid reimbursements, and providing stop-gap funding if there is a short-fall, needs to be a state priority.  If legislation came across my desk to increase funding for quality care it would not be met with a veto.  As we build a NJ Health Care Single-Payer system there must be in place a clear plan for how the state plan can cover deficits in Medicaid reimbursements.  

Home Care Crisis: Part of the reason there is such disarray around the question of home care is that each individual home care situation is so unique.  As a pastor of a church, regularly visiting elderly members in their homes, I have seen a variety of unique and creative solutions to meet the home care needs of elderly people.  There is a lot of anxiety among people coming up with solutions that may or may not be 'legal' in their minds.  They may be paying an undocumented worker, they have someone they really like-but that person isn't trained or, they are paying an agency and realize that the person actually caring for Mom or Dad is getting paid only 25 cents on the dollar they pay to an agency.  An open forum on home health care is in order—a place where the state, at the highest level, is really taking in the reality 'on the ground' of how aging individuals, their families, and workers are creating meaningful late-in-life care decisions.  The sharing of solutions and challenges could pave the way for creative new ideas.

Programs like "the Senior Freeze" should be kept in place, and the rules adjusted, to make the program more just.  Seniors should not be penalized simply for moving from one location to another within the Garden State.

Women’s Rights and Women’s Health Have Been Last—So They Shall Be First

Women have led the call for protecting healthcare and transforming it from a for-profit-industry to a public service. In accordance with the National Organization for Women’s recommendations, my healthcare policy will allow patients and doctors the exclusive power to determine what medical care is best, including a full range of reproductive services. Unlike our current governor, I am committed to signing an equal pay bill like S992 the first time it is presented to me. Women in New Jersey will no longer settle for 69.8 cents per dollar earned by men.

Violence against women is an intolerable offense that must stop:  While we consider lessening sentences on minor drug crimes, I want to look very seriously at increasing the consequences of the criminal justice system against those who do violence toward women.   

My administration will promote educational programs addressing physical violence against women, all forms of gender-based denigration and abuse and a woman’s right to control her own body.

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Undocumented/Unauthorized New Jerseyans Are Last, So They Shall Be First

Undocumented immigrants in New Jersey need to be treated with dignity and respect.  Our broken federal immigration system does not excuse our state from recognizing the gifts of those who live among us and offer themselves to NJ as workers, volunteers, parents and friends.  Children of undocumented immigrants need to be cared for and protected.  Keeping New Jersey immigrant families together should be a central focus of our attention.  My Administration will vigorously advocate that a process be put in place whereby families can contest the deportation of a parent by arguing that breaking families and communities through deportation is damaging our state.  A process will be put in place where the people of the state are invited into this advocacy process, collectively, as well.  Imagine…millions of New Jerseyans arguing with Enforcement and Removal Operations that a particular father shouldn’t be torn away from his family.  

Drivers Licenses should be issued for all adults in NJ, regardless of citizenship or immigration status.  Unregistered people without licenses who are living in New Jersey are driving, out of necessity, and their inability to drive legally leaves them, and the public, at high-level risk.  Let the federal government make immigration decisions, but let’s not let their bad decision-making lead to our roads having unlicensed, uninsured drivers.  We can issue drivers licenses at a state level that don’t expose undocumented persons to the federal government. 

Given the rhetoric of hate being perpetuated by our 45th President it is important that states take a stand in defense of their undocumented residents.  These residents are integrally woven into our lives and to not create sanctuary for them is to create a state of chaos for all of us.  My administration would declare New Jersey a Sanctuary State.

 

ASYLEES AND REFUGEES ARE LAST, SO THEY SHALL BE FIRST 

Asylum Seekers, placed in NJ by our federal system, need to be better cared for while detained in our state, and they need to be treated with respect and dignity upon release.  The for-profit detention centers that are financially benefiting by locking up brown and black people from around the world are a scourge on our nation.  Also, asylees under the current administration, even upon winning their cases, are released without a dollar, without a social worker, without a liaison to help them navigate life in New Jersey.  This lack of official transition services puts the asylee, and the community, in an uncomfortable, unwelcoming situation.  This is far from the example we should be setting for one another, the country, and the world. In my Administration the state could work creatively with the federal government to pilot humane housing and welcome programs for asylees that move away from a detention model.  

New Jersey should welcome Global Refugees.  The state needs to immediately reinstate the position of State Refugee Coordinator that was discontinued by Governor Christie.  Only a few hundred refugees are actually coming to New Jersey each year.  The unfair language about refugees ‘flooding our shores’ and the story of the danger they bring is short-sighted and embarrassing.  My Administration would work to put New Jersey among the leaders in refugee resettlement.  

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Those In Prison and Jail Are Last, So They Shall Be First

Solitary Confinement should not be a tool used by prisons or jails.  It serves no rational purpose for discipline, protection or any other reason and must cease.  The bills that were introduced by Senator Lesniak and Assemblywoman Pinkin, that passed both the Senate and Assembly, should be signed into law by Governor Christie.  If he will not sign it, I will sign it—or I’ll work to support an even stronger bill.

The Office of the Public Advocate should be reopened and prepared to receive grievances from inmates, their families, and human rights advocates.

Meaningful reform must take place to ensure Black and Latino children are not disproportionately waived to the adult system. 

Meaningful re-entry services should begin in earnest on the day of entry into prison/jail.  Prison serves as a tool of correction, which means it should also be a launch pad for meaningful opportunities to live a better, safer life. 

Minimum wage jobs (or better) should start during a prison sentence.  Currently those who are serving time are paid slave-wages.  Especially with the racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system the resemblance of people working for virtually no pay, at the expense of rich owners, or the state, brings back haunting memories.  No prison system should present opportunities for market investment or economic growth. 

Exorbitant commissary and phone card prices in jail and prison must cease. 

Meaningful support for children with an incarcerated parent needs to be implemented.  When a parent is incarcerated it impacts the life of his or her children.  An imprisoned parent should still be able to do paid work, inside, that results in child support for children on the outside. 

All citizens should be able to vote.  A felony conviction should not limit this right.  In a state where the racial injustice in our criminal justice system is so clearly documented we should not allow the state to suppress voters from the polls because of felony convictions.  New Jersey’s racial disparity in State Prisons is the worst of all 50 states.  Prisoners should have a say in who leads the government, and a voice in policymaking, just like everyone else.  This is the case in Maine and Vermont and my Administration would push for this in New Jersey as well. 

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COMMUNITIES OF COLOR ARE LAST WHEN IT COMES TO THE RELATIONSHIP WITH POLICE AND ENFORCEMENT, SO THEY SHALL BE FIRST

Relationship strengthening between police and the communities will take a balance of legislated changes that bring accountability and intentional and meaningful dialogue in communities. Careful work with the Police, Black Lives Matter, NAACP, local churches and other community groups will be a focus of my administration.

All police shootings should be investigated by an Independent Prosecutor in a process overseen by the Attorney General.

Police forces in our country have, in some cases, begun to look less like civilian police forces and more like small armies. Deescalating conflict between the police and community means also strengthening protocols around acceptable forms of police weaponization.

Racial impact statements should be used to evaluate the possible inequitable implications proposed legislation can have on communities of color. 


Black Lives Have Been Last, So They Shall Be First

The history of slavery in this country, and the racist policy-making that defines most of race-relations since then, has denigrated African-Americans to last, often with tremendous disadvantages.  The areas of life were African-Americans have been made last cuts across the categories of “the last are first” agenda.  It would be a goal of my administration to reduce the racial disparity in our economic, social and political system.  However, to really begin to make things right, real reparations are owed to African-American families.  This Administration, led by a white governor, does not pretend to have the answer to reparations, and feels it would be entirely inappropriate to offer something concrete.  However, a Black-Ribbon Panel on Reparations would be one of the first special councils formed during my administration, with the expressed purpose of presenting to the Administration, and legislature, a proposal for reparations.  


Criminalizing Marijuana Has Led People of Color To Be Treated Last

American society has been rethinking its assessment of marijuana for some time. Why is it treated any differently than cigarettes or alcohol? Several states, including Colorado, have legalized marijuana and embrace it as part of an active economy. It is difficult, here in the state of New Jersey, to justify why a disproportionate number of young black and brown men are locked up for smoking a joint while white young men are starting legal businesses based around selling weed. This administration would sign legislation that legalizes marijuana for recreational and medical use. The legislation would regulate an appropriate age for legal use, and design careful legislation about what locations are appropriate for usage (much like cigarette laws). A tax on marijuana would be used for education about the risks associated with marijuana-use and for drug treatment programs. Fiscal gains from new marijuana-based businesses should benefit urban enterprise zones. Additionally the state of NJ would partner with poor communities and groups of people stigmatized when seeking work (the disabled, transgender persons and the formerly incarcerated) to launch partnerships between the state and workers for the production and sale of marijuana in order to power a people’s economy.  Under our plan workers would truly benefit from their labor rather than allowing big companies to monopolize this new economic opportunity.  Finally, this administration would seek legislation to allow current sentences of inmates for marijuana related offenses to be reconsidered within the state’s new legal framework around marijuana.

 

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First Nations Have Been Last, So They Shall Be First

First Nations in New Jersey need a voice at the table of state government.  As Governor I will immediately move to re-affirm the recognition of the First Nations within our territory, reversing the current Governor's move to rescind their status which continues in litigation.  Since it is unlikely that a fairly small population will have potential to move a legislative agenda the administration should deepen its commitment to First Nations people by funding a governmental liaison which considers the work of the administration and legislature through a First Nation's lens.

Muslims Have Been Treated As Last, So They Shall Be First

Islam, like all religions, should be celebrated as a wonderful religious tradition that brings meaning and purpose to life on earth.  The state of New Jersey should celebrate the longstanding place that Islam, and Muslims, have held within the state and work to further develop healthy and supportive relationships with leaders in the Muslim community. 

Transgender Persons, and LGBTQ Have Been Last, So They Shall Be First

LGBTQ Rights are Human Rights.  Transgender people have suffered long enough.  Their rights and protections have been pushed to the bottom so often that when Seth is governor trans rights will be a first priority.  Yes, there have been great strides made to support LGB people in our state, but there are still so many hurdles to jump over.  Trans students have to fight to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. Trans men and women suffer from depression and suicidal ideation at alarmingly high rates as compared to their LGB siblings.  We must make New Jersey safer and more inclusive for everyone in the LGBTQ community.

While a few insurance companies in New Jersey cover mental health therapy, sex reassignment surgeries and hormone prescriptions, most do not.  This is unacceptable.  New Jersey must pave the way for the support the LGBTQ community needs and deserves within our proposed universal healthcare system and until it is implemented.

LGBTQ teen and adult homelessness is at an all time high in our region, as well.  Too often, LGBTQ teens are thrown out of their homes when they come out to their families.  These teens have no one to turn to. There is not one LGBT teen or adult homeless shelter in our state.  Seth will make a point of addressing this critical issue on two fronts: the personal - to keep kids from being kicked out in the first place - and the systemic - to create safe spaces for these children to live and grow up.

Also, education about the LGBTQ community, specifically trans people, is essential for our state to move forward and grow.  These educational opportunities should be made available in hospitals, medical offices, schools, corporate offices and branches of government.  Everyone in New Jersey should be educated about sexual and gender identity.

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Hurricane Sandy Victims Have Been Last, and Shall Be First

If elected I will put a moratorium on foreclosures that are Hurricane Sandy-related, while homeowners continue to figure out their insurance, RREM financing and other financing to return home.

We would include nonprofit companies among the builders who are at the table as RREM financing is distributed.  Nonprofit builders are able to complete the jobs at much lower costs, which has been necessary for some homeowners to return home. 

The Environment Has Been Last, and So It Shall Be First

Hurricane Sandy isn't a once in a 100-year storm—not with the reality of climate change. A state plan needs to be put in place to address the rising tides that are washing away beaches and destroying wetlands that protect our shore communities. Through these protections we'd be more prepared for the next big storm. Our administration would take the reality of climate change seriously.

We would commit to a Clean Power Plan to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas co-pollutants while prioritizing the implementation of energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives in the state's poorest and most vulnerable communities. We would rejoin the Regional Green House Gas Initiative as long as we could guarantee measurable air pollution reductions firstly in the most vulnerable communities, which are often our inner cities.

We would finish construction of a demonstration offshore wind project off the coast of Atlantic City. We would begin construction of additional offshore wind projects with specific goals of dramatic increases in clean energy production by 2025.

We would end the annual Clean Energy Fund budget raids and commit to spending the funds in a socially just and labor friendly manner.

We would advocate for labor-friendly policies within the renewable energy sector to ensure the creation of good union jobs with a living/family wage in the new energy economy.

We would support a comprehensive infrastructure investment program to rebuild water, sewer, public transportation and school systems, utilizing a project procurement process that considers carbon content to reduce emissions and incentivize local production.

The matrix of pipelines that crisscrosses our state, and increases in size at an alarming rate, suggests that we are building a dirty-infrastructure ready for an energy economy of the past, rather than a renewable system for the future. Our administration would put a moratorium on state pipeline projects and create and enhance every possible measure that would keep the federal government passing through New Jersey lands with pipelines.

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Public Schools Are Not All Integrated—And Lack of Integration Makes All Students 'last'

Because of how our school districts are laid out some of our regions function as "separate but equal" districts.  Separate but Equal, we've known since Plessy Vs. Ferguson, is not equal.  It makes sense for New Jersey to proactively address where it functions with a segregated-school reality and to come up with redistricting that allows students of all races and ethnicities, and all economic strata, to be educated in public institutions together.  Redistricting, with the use of creative models of magnet schools, would spread school funding in more appropriate ways, and would allow students to move freely within a larger district for focused educational opportunities.  


Public Schools, and Their Teachers, Have Been Treated Last, So They Shall Be First

Public schools must be protected as an essential public good.  My Administration would make sure teachers are honored and their voices heard. I would push to remove student standardized test scores from teacher evaluations and I would work with teachers to make sure that the creativity that put you in the classroom in the first place still can be implemented within the school day.  

My Administration would put a moratorium on the building of new Charter Schools that are not run by democratically elected school boards or held to the same standards as public schools. 

To support schools means to fund schools.  Despite the School Funding Reform Act of 2008, the current governor has failed to find money to fund the formula any year but one during his time in office.  Fully funding the School Funding Reform Act would be a priority of my administration.  This would, of course, look different if redistricting were to occur in the state of New Jersey.

Negotiations between teacher's unions and the state, during the previous administration, have resulted in more costs for teachers (toward health care) and no increases in salary.  The lack of appreciation for teachers, shown through not playing fair with negations, must stop. 

To support schools means to celebrate schools.  It is time to confront the lie that our public education system is failing America.  It is wrong that for-profit companies, and out-of-touch billionaires (both liberal and conservative) run media campaigns, and political campaigns, that suggests public school is a failed experiment.  New Jersey, under a Kaper-Dale administration, would celebrate and honor public schools again. 


Higher Education Has Been Last, So It Shall Be First

Higher Education is key to shaping a well-rounded, educated citizenry.  While STEM related professions are certainly important, the imbalance in funding directed at STEM (from the federal government and private industry) suggests that state government should particular emphasize social sciences, humanities and the arts.  As governor I would seek to encourage more balanced state funding and support across all disciplines.

Scholarship that happens in collaboration with communities (civic scholarship) needs to be encouraged. State-wide programs for professors/researchers to work together across disciplines to shape policy and help serve the community should be celebrated as real and legitimate scholarship.  My administration would develop a policy supporting public scholarship that would increase funding to those departments who share their social and humanitarian research with the public.

My administration would seek to increased funding to curb the use of non-tenure-track part-time lecturers  and to instead push for more full-time positions with benefits and union representation across the state.


Young People in New Jersey Struggle to Pay for University, and the Loans Make Them Last

The cost of college and university means that those who seek to prepare themselves so as to contribute needed skills to the world do so to their own peril.  Many students find that the loans they pay for school almost equal a second rent.  A Kaper-Dale administration would increase state support for programs like the Education Opportunities Fund, a proven program of financial and academic supports, that helps students with high economic need, and maybe some additional academic supports, to thrive.  Also, the proposed state-run public bank would be set up to make very-low-interest loans to students.  Lastly, NJ Medicare for All would save universities millions of dollars from their budget.  It would be the goal of a Kaper-Dale administration to see the savings on health care go directly into the reduction of tuition across the board.  

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Unions and Organized Workers Prevent People from Becoming 'The Last' And Shall Be Celebrated for Their Fights to Counter the Great Wealth Divide in Our State
 

The financial problems our state experiences are not the result of greedy workers who are clamoring for unfair pieces of the pie.  Historically, unions have been essential in helping workers gain reasonable work hours, quality benefits, and decent wages. Despite their importance, for the past few years, many unions have been disrespected by the Christie Administration.   This approach to unions must change.  Collective bargaining rights will be expanded when working with a Governor who is interested in workers being respected and playing a vital part in our state's ability to move forward economically.  My Administration will promote full respect for the Wagner Act and the right to organize.  Together with unions and businesses we will convert the Department of Labor and Workforce Development into an entity that protects workers rights in our state.

Workers Have Been Last, Because of Stagnant Pay and Other Unconscionable Policies

A $15 minimum wage is a necessary corrective to the current minimum wage in order to keep up with the cost of living in New Jersey today.  Leaders in the senate and assembly have not shown a real commitment to bringing up the minimum wage.  Instead, they intentionally tied the issue up in the knots in December, 2016, keeping it off the 2017 ballot as a constitutional amendment.  My administration would work with legislator champions to get this done.

Earned Paid Sick Leave Is A Must: Work is important, but the work of caring for oneself and one's family while in crisis is more important still.  I would suggest that if the state really cares about this it not put the full onus of responsibility on small business.  There should be in place state matching funds to meet the costs of earned paid sick leave after a % threshold is reached annually by the employer.  

I would never sign legislation that prevents workers' right to organize.  Unions are so important to the backbone of a healthy society.  Government and business needs to listen to the voice of those who actually do the work that makes this country tick. 

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Guns On The Streets, Without Stronger Safety Measures, Make Us All Last

Background checks and closing loopholes are important, but there must be care taken not to create a system that unfairly targets communities of color.  A ‘bias assessment’ should be part of any gun safety initiative.  Many of the bills that Governor Christie has vetoed need to be reviewed to consider their racial impact, and, if cleared through that process, need to be signed into law.  

 

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'Love Your Neighboring Municipality As Yourself' Sensible Land Use Regulations (A Way to Make Sure We Don't Accidentally Treat Each Other As 'Last')

There are 565 Individual Municipalities in NJ that all make independent land-use decisions.  However, the close proximity of all these municipalities means the decisions in one place directly impacts life in other municipalities.  Regional impact studies, that are shared with neighboring towns, should be required for all land use decisions within municipalities. 

 

I am excited to be running for governor, and I pledge myself to work tirelessly for all of you, and with all of you, starting with the last.  

 
 

MUSLIMS HAVE BEEN TREATED AS LAST, SO THEY SHALL BE FIRST

Islam, like all religions, should be celebrated as a wonderful religious tradition that brings meaning and purpose to life on earth. The state of New Jersey should celebrate the longstanding place that Islam, and Muslims, have held within the state and work to further develop healthy and supportive relationships with leaders in the Muslim community. 

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