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A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains - Fanwood Thursday, February 3, 2000 Page 5

CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK Cicatiello, urged supporters to get

out on the campaign trail and “raise some ‘Kean. ’”

Among those persons serving on Mr. Kean’s campaign committee are William J. Palatucci of Westfield, a former member of the town’s Board of Adjustment and the New Jersey statewide campaigns for former President George Bush; Hazel Gluck, former Transportation Secretary under Governor Kean and Governor Whitman’s first Chief of Staff; Leonard S. Coleman Jr., former National League President for Major League Baseball; Nancy Becker, Vice Chairman of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority; Ronald R. Gravino, New Jersey Highway (Garden State Parkway) Authority Vice Chairman; Philip D. Kaltenbacher, former Port Authority Chairman; Lew Eisenberg, current Chairman of the Port Authority, and former Congressman William Martini.

Jon F. Hanson, Chairman of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, is serving as Campaign Finance Chairman.


Kean Jr. Five Republican District Seven Congressional Candidates State Backgrounds,

Positions During Forum Sponsored by Mountainside Republican Club By PAUL J. PEYTON

Specially Written for The Westfield Leader

MOUNTAINSIDE — From Social Security to increasing the percentage of federal dollars coming into New Jersey, five of the seven Republicans seeking the GOP nomination in the June 7 Primary for the Seventh Congressional seat faced off during a forum January 28 sponsored by the Mountainside Republican Club.

Appearing at the forum were Tom Kean Jr., the son of the former twoterm Governor; Assemblyman Joel Weingarten of Millburn; Mike Ferguson of Warren, the GOP nominee in the Sixth District in 1998; Pat Walsh, Mayor of Green Brook, and Ken Gardner, former City Council President and Fire Chief of Woodbridge.

A lifelong resident of the Seventh District, Mr. Gardner has served the past six years as Chairman of the Woodbridge Republican Organization. He said if elected he would hold at least two meetings annually districtwide with all county committee members and Republican activists.

The candidate noted that of the Republican candidates, three hopefuls have never lived in the district or held elected office, a reference to Mr. Ferguson, Mr. Kean and Patrick Morrisey of Westfield. Mr. Morrisey, a former Congressional staffer, was not present last week.

“I really believe those are two giant steps backward that we can’t afford to take,” he said. He also noted that he is the only Republican who is a “true fiscal conservative” in that he has never voted for a tax increase.

Mr. Gardner said he is the only candidate who has been “truly battled tested,” noting he had gone up against Woodbridge Mayor and 1997 Democratic Gubernatorial candidate James McGreevey both as Council President and when he ran against Mr. McGreevey for Mayor in 1995. Democrats outnumber Republicans in the city by a 51 tally.

The candidate said it is important in the Congressional race that the party captures those voters “in the middle” if the GOP is to hold onto the seat.

Born in Livingston, Mr. Kean noted that he attended grade school and high school and taught Sunday School in the district. He was living in Cambridge, Mass., completing his doctoral dissertation when GOP leaders called and asked him to run for the seat.

He emphasized that he is the only candidate who has worked at the federal level “directly on behalf of the interests and people of this district,” having worked for British Petroleum in Greece, in Congressman Bob Franks Washington office and for the Environmental Protection Agency.

When looking at why he would make a good candidate. Mr. Kean mentioned his “dedication to public service; a history of getting involved, of solving problems, of making a difference.”

While working for Mr. Franks, Mr. Kean worked on issues ranging from dredging of major regional shipping ports and on North American Free Trade Agreement.

“We need to send someone down to D. C. who reflects the values and inter ests of this district,” he said.

The candidate said he wants to protect Social Security and work “to dissolve the competing interests of Environmental Protection and infrastructure development.” Ms. Walsh said she brings to the table 30 years of direct health care experience and six years of government experience. She said as a mother for 27 years, she also is experienced in child care, working mother and stayathome mom issues.

She said she believes senior citizens should not have to choose between buying food and prescription drugs. Ms. Walsh also said Americans should

terms of Republican values, by fighting hard for what we believe,” he said. Mr. Ferguson, noting his background is in education, called himself a “fiscal conservative.” He said New Jersey residents pay 40 percent of their gross income in taxes.

Responding to a question from the audience on the budget surplus in Washington, all the candidates favor some sort of tax cut. Mr. Weingarten said the money should be returned to the taxpayers, noting if Congress is given the opportunity to spend the surplus, they will do so on new and expanded programs.

Mr. Gardner said while he favors a families can use these extra funds on

health care and child care and other programs.

“If we are not going to offer a tax cut when we have a surplus, when are we ever going to offer a cut?” he questioned.

Mountainside Mayor Robert F. Viglianti asked the candidates how Congress can pay for additional programs without raising taxes and how far the government should go in taking care of people such as providing health care.

Ms. Walsh said she would support increasing earning levels for seniors on Social Security so they have more money to support themselves. Also, the candidate favors basing the cost of prescription drugs on income levels.

In addition, she said, Congress may have to take action to ensure that medical treatments such as reproductive surgery are funded.

Mr. Gardner said he would push for a change in Welfare reform. He proposed having the first three years of the new fiveyear Welfare reform program as a reimbursement program, with the remaining years given as a loan such as a payroll tax.

“This would be something where we are helping our people, but not allowing them to live off the taxpayers’ backs,” he explained. Mr. Gardner also said he favors disaster grants to assist Americans with “overwhelming” problems such as with flooding from Tropical Storm Floyd this past fall.

Mr. Ferguson said he believes the federal government needs to create an environment whereby states and local governments can provide health care or other services. He said health care

Westfield Democrats To Hold Fundraiser

For Mayor Jardim

WESTFIELD — To support the reelection of Westfield Mayor Thomas C. Jardim, the Westfield Democratic Committee will be hosting a fundraiser on Sunday, February 6, from 3 to 6 p. m. at Raagini Restaurant on Route 22, East in Mountainside.

The guest speaker will be James J. McGreevey, Mayor of Woodbridge and former democratic gubernatorial candidate. Suggested contribution for attendees is $75. For more information, please contact Ken Rotter, Westfield Democratic Committee Chairman, at (908) 2336481.

Cheri Rogowsky for The Westfield Leader and The Times MAKING A POINT... Republican Seventh Congressional District 7 candidate Ken Gardner of Woodbridge, center, makes a point during last week’s forum sponsored by the Mountainside Republican Club. Looking on are candidates Mike Ferguson, left, of Warren and Tom Kean Jr of Westfield.

Cheri Rogowsky for The Westfield Leader and The Times LISTENING INTENTLY... Seventh Congressional District candidates Pat Walsh, Mayor of Green Brook, and Assemblyman Joel Weingarten of Millburn listen to one of their opponents during last week’s forum.

not have to work five months a year just to pay their taxes.

Ms. Walsh also favors returning health care issues to doctors and their patients and away from the insurance companies.

“Government, like everything else in life, has to change,” she said.

The candidate supports tax reform, noting that “it (tax dollars) should be (put) back in the hands of those who make it.”

Mr. Weingarten noted he has served at three levels of government starting with the Millburn Township Committee. In Essex County he served under County Executive James W. Treffinger. As Acting Director of the Essex County Office of Management and Budget Director, he drafted a $516 million spending plan with the largest spending cut not only in the county, but in state history.

The candidate was elected in November to a third term in the Assembly representing the 21st District. As an elected official, he said he has voted 16 times to cut taxes. He sponsored legislation to increase property tax deductions for veterans, worked to pass a property tax freeze for seniors on fixed incomes and sponsored Work First New Jersey, the state’s Welfare reform program whereby persons are helped in their efforts to get off public assistance within five years.

“We need someone in that office who will do us proud by standing tall in

tax cut, he stated that the Social Security and Medicare programs must be protected for future generations.

Ms. Walsh said Congress needs to look at reducing the national debt and at ways of “reducing the tax burden on the American public.”

In addition to returning federal dollars to taxpayers, Mr. Kean said Congress also has a responsibility to pay down the national debt.

Mr. Ferguson said he supports lowering the tax burden on families and businesses alike. The candidate said

needs to be made affordable, acceptable and accountable. The candidate said HMOs have reduced the cost of health care but have not done a good job on accountability.

Mr. Kean said the federal government needs to allow the private sector

to operate “efficiently and effectively” in providing services. He said government should provide a “safety net” for when “things get out of hand.”

Mr. Weingarten, calling himself a “Reagan Republican,” said the nation must move away from the mentality that says government’s main role is to “engage Welfare distribution.”

He said this concept “undermines liberty and people’s rights to solve their own problems.” Mr. Weingarten said Work First New Jersey provides “health, respect and dignity” and helps move away from the previous policy of transferring funds for a life dependency of public assistance to individuals who are able to take care of themselves.

Mr. Weingarten also sponsored a law which requires persons who commit crimes against victims to pay into a compensation fund that reimburses victims for any injuries they sustain as a result of a crime.

The candidate said Congress needs to move in a direction towards a “free and level playing field” where patients will have greater control of their own health care.

On the issue of bringing a fair share of taxpayer money back into New Jersey, Mr. Ferguson noted that the Garden State is 49th in the nation in the amount of money collected in taxes versus what is returned in aid. The candidate said New Jersey is currently under represented on key House committees such as Ways and Means and Tax Writing.

“I think you need to go down there and start turning tables over” in order to get more federal dollars back into the state, he said.

Mr. Gardner, employed with the New Jersey Commerce and Economic Growth Commission, said he favors

creation of a regional committee represented by New Jersey, New York and Connecticut to look at the procurement issue whereby large and small companies are giving a shot at obtaining government contracts.

Mr. Kean said the key is that New Jersey’s Congressional Delegation “has been unable to work together.” He said it is important that the new Congressman works together with other state Representatives, regardless of party affiliation, on issues that impact the entire region.

Ms. Walsh noted that a few years Medicare changed its funding formula resulting in New Jersey receiving half the funding that southern states got. The state fought back and some of the funds were reinstated.

Mr. Weingarten said he would push for a mandate that indicates to taxpayers what they are paying into the government versus what they are getting back. He said this would force New Jersey Congressional members to fight for “a more equitable situation.”

Rather than changing the formula for how federal dollars are calculated per state, he proposed block grants to states so local officials can make the decisions on how the funds should be used.

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Copyright 2000 - The Westfield Leader and The Times of Scotch Plains-Fanwood
Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)