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VOTE411 Voter Guide

16th District Assembly {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The NJ General Election will take place on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Voters will head to the polls to select a Governor, State Senator, and State Assembly Members, as well as a number of county and local elected officials.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • Mark Caliguire (Rep)

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    Roy Freiman (Dem)

  • Donna M. Simon (Rep)

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    Andrew W. Zwicker (Dem) Head of Science Education at the Princeton University Plasma Physics Laboratory

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Biographical Information

New Jersey has some of the highest property taxes in the nation. What, if anything, do you propose to lower property taxes?

New Jersey's state pension system has recently been named the worst-funded state retirement plan in the country and is arguably one of our largest financial problems. How do you propose to address our state's pension issues?

How can New Jersey meet our energy needs while protecting our environment? For example, would you support energy conservation, expansion of renewable energy projects, hydraulic fracturing, and pipelines, etc?

What would you do to promote job growth in our state?

Please indicate three additional state priority issues for you (not already listed in this questionnaire) and explain how you would address them.

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Qualifications/Experience Roy was the Vice President of Strategy and Analytics, for Prudential Financial. Roy managed data analytics and new marketing and distribution within Prudential’s Individual Life Insurance division.
As a person who has spent my professional career in business, I understand the pressures of managing a budget and competing priorities. New Jersey finances has suffered from years of poor fiscal management by our elected officials. I plan to utilize my business expertise to find waste and efficiencies within the budget to cut down on costs and to ensure the taxpayer’s dollar goes further than before.
People, companies, and institutions, usually find the resources for those things that they value the most. The funding of the state retirement plan is a matter of priorities. Unfortunately, this issue has been ignored by political leaders for years and now it has grown into a significant problem. Our failure to fund our pensions has hurt the state’s economic stability, led to credit downgrades, and threatened the economic futures of New Jersey families. We need to make our pension obligations a top priority. The employees in the state retirement plan should be treated with fairness, and not suffer due to government's failure to properly fund the pension system.
New Jersey need to invest more into clean renewable energy sources (solar and wind). This would bring significant long term construction jobs to our state, while safeguarding our environment.
As per the previous question, investment in renewable energy sources (solar and wind) would bring long term construction jobs to the state. New Jersey needs to become a magnet for new business and industry. This can only occur if the state has a complete set attributes that attracts businesses to NJ that go well beyond enticing short term tax incentives. New Jersey must have a strong, well educated, skilled, and diverse talent pool for employers. This means we need to maintain our investment in education, and commit to ensuring a well maintained infrastructure so people can get to work, and a regulatory environment that is well balanced and not heavy handed.

Women’s Health Funding: we need to fully fund Planned Parenthood and women’s health programs. These programs have been cut every year under Gov. Christie. High Stakes Testing: High Stakes testing is teaching our children how to take tests, but at the expense of significant instruction time. PARCC testing is a valuable macro level measurement data source, but they are being overused with unintended consequences. We need to take steps to ensure testing is used in ways that are as effective and minimally invasive as possible. Health Care: As ACA issue plays out in Washington, this will impact the residents of New jersey. No one should lose their insurance or be forced to lose coverage due to increased premiums from Trump’s changes. We need to be ready to take steps to protect our families.
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Twitter @AndrewZwicker
Qualifications/Experience Andrew, a lifelong New Jerseyan, currently represents New Jersey’s 16th legislative district in the Assembly. Andrew is the Head of Science Education at the Princeton's Plasma Physics Laboratory
One of the main drivers of high local property taxes is the increasing cost of running our public schools, since towns rely heavily on local tax dollars in the absence of state school funds. The most important step that we can take to curb the rise of local property taxes to fully fund the state law governing school funding. Local property taxes are also driven by increasing healthcare costs. Municipalities and school districts are virtually powerless to determine the premium increases imposed every year by the insurance companies who insure our public employees. I believe the state has an important role to play in controlling these premium increases every year, so that the burden of paying for insurance companies' profits each year doesn't fall so heavily on local property taxpayers.
About 25 years ago, the political leaders in our state in both parties, stopped doing their job to protect and fund our state's pension system. There are no simple fixes to this crisis. But there are a few critical components to what will be a multi-faceted, long-term solution. First, we need to re-thinking our budget priorities. Second, just as in other states that have successfully begun to address a public pension crisis, the state must set reasonable, evidence-based revenue projections when funding its obligations. Third, and this is the scientist in me talking we have to look at the data from other states. What have other states done well, or not so well, to address their own pension funding problems? We can and should learn from the best practices others states put in place.
When it comes to protecting our environment, it is of utmost importance that New Jersey join the multi-state consortium called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. I am proud to be a prime sponsor on a bill that would require New Jersey's participation in that effort. New Jersey must also develop a more thoughtful, muti-faceted energy policy, one that includes both mandates and market-based incentives, to move power suppliers and utilities away from non-renewable and fossil-based sources of energy generation towards solar, wind, biofuels and other sustainable, environmentally sound energy sources. There are several bills currently in our state legislature that in combination would change our state's legal and regulatory system to accomplish this, and I am proud to sponsor many of them. 
An innovation economic policy must focus on all aspects of the economy and job growth. Our state's strategic location and livability will remain valuable assets and attract businesses and people if we support and restore our transportation infrastructure. Investing in our transportation infrastructure also creates a loop of job creation and economic strength. Our state's economic policy has relied heavily on broad tax breaks. The data we have, shows that the way these tax breaks have been created have not led to attracting new companies or job growth over time. We need to reconfigure our corporate tax system to ensure that we are not starving our state of much-needed revenues while also targeting credits and incentives in ways that lead to economic benefits for our state's residents. 
1. Making higher education affordable: I have been impressed by efforts of other states, such as New York and Tennessee, to curb the skyrocketing costs of higher education and to reduce the necessities of high student debt and would look to recreate those efforts in NJ. 2. Affordable housing: The problem is one of compliance with both legal and ethical obligations of maintaining economically diverse, safe, well-run local communities, while not imposing burdensome and unattainable affordable housing obligations on small towns. Campaign finance reform: A problem affecting our civic life at all levels. I am proud to be a prime sponsor of two bills, that would make important changes in the state's campaign finance laws, to reduce the influence of money in political campaigns and elections.

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