"Like many people who are new to politics, it is the future that my children face that motivates me to run for office."
LIST OF ISSUES
One of the most critical issues in our current era is the state of education in New Jersey. Robert has been actively involved in opposing the Common Core** and PARCC initiatives based upon the effect to the children of New Jersey. The standards have impacted our most vulnerable children most appreciably. This is an injustice to these young children, who have so much potential. The key to move out of poverty is encouraging the love of education, which is the opposite of Common Core & PARCC.
New Jersey has sufficient teaching talent within its colleges to define its own standard measures of College bound requirements for children. At the same time, we should acknowledge that pathways that do not include College are admirable. In fact, our trades roles are some of the most stable jobs in our present economic conditions.
Finally, we cannot address education without reviewing our statewide childhood literacy rate. This is a key predictor of future success and the foundation for the children's bright future. It should be the expressed aim to decimate childhood illiteracy within our state, which will have a pronouncing positive impact not solely on the children's lives but our economy and financial affairs.
*The nationally renowned Dr Sandra Stotsky is an advisor to the Education Platform
**Common Core is a set of education standards for teaching and testing English and Mathematics in grades K-12.
New Jersey has become reknowned as current business unfriendly climate. We see this alone in the flow of businesses from our state. How do we make New Jersey competitive again? How do we stem the flow of businesses and citizens fleeing to other states due to the lack of jobs and high taxation? Half measures cannot resolve our present predicament. Our legislature needs to enact policies that incubate conditions to attract business. This will require the courage to consider new ideas and tactics.
Our tax situation is deeply related to two issues described above. Education taxes constitute a large percentage of New Jerseyans commitment. At the same time, our tax dollars have not shown a major improvement where they have been allocated the most. It is imperative we use prudence when making a decision to resolving the above issue. We are not truly talking of tax dollars, but children. A "fair" tax plan would see us, the tax payer, see the children succeed.
Our pension commitments is another grave concern. It seems unconscionable to renege on the commitment made to our public workers, especially given they planned their lives around promises made to them. At the same time, we must acknowledge that we the tax payers voted in politicians based upon unrealistic expectations. And, we cannot speak of this topic without acknowledging that the bargaining for these rights may have pushed finances beyond their means. It would seem there is equal fault in a number of parties. Do we have representatives with the courage to define measures to solve this issue once and for all, or is it our plan to continue half measures?
No one statistic better defines our present situation than the Labor Participation Rate. Millions of Americans have stopped looking for work, which has resulted in our low unemployment rate. This low rate has been touted by many politicians but the people of New Jersey understand that there is a malaise atmosphere in our economy.
There are other underlying signs that our job market is in distress. Historically, in an economic recovery, employers would increase their wages by 5-10%. However, in our present job market wages have been increasing 2-3%. This implies that employers are aware of the job market conditions and not concerned with employees leaving.
It would be noted that the Nationwide Fight for 15 minimum wage movement is not without some level of merit, for these individuals find themselves trapped in a role that was never intended to be a permanent job. However, this is a symptom of a larger issue that those in office do not wish to discuss: lack of job growth and quality jobs to move to.
As technology and our job market adapts , and as we confront ourselves within a Global economy, we must resist the temptation to implement policies that will isolate us from the world market. Protectionist policies have historical precedent of further exacerbating a downturn economy. Our objective should aim to project market requirements and posture our labor force for success.