Barbara Buono, the Democratic candidate for Governor of New Jersey, visited KACE (Korean American Civic Empowerment) on August 12, 2013 in hopes of reaching out to the Korean American community. Senator Buono who received 88% of the votes during the special primary election held last June, became the Democratic candidate to run against Governor Chris Christie on Election Day (November 5th).

Coming from an immigrant family, Buono is supportive of immigrants and the DREAM Act. Her father came from Europe in the 1920s and as part of the generation of children who had to support their family rather than go get a post-secondary education, he became a butcher instead of his dream to become a medical doctor. Buono grew up with immigrant values of working hard and self-discipline. She understands the minority and is in full support for diversity. It is her belief that diversity in New Jersey is vital and hopes to encourage minorities to become active in the judicial and executive branch.

Elected in 2002 as a Senator, Buono has been making changes for the benefits of the people as she sees that New Jersey is slipping away and wants to bring back the New Jersey of opportunity – the American Dream.

In 2009, New Jersey had the highest unemployment rate. Four years later, New Jersey remains with the highest unemployment rate according to Buono. She continues to say that New Jersey has become one of the ten worst states to do business in. In response to this issue, Buono released a plan last month in order to help this situation and plans to implement it. The plan involves investing in small businesses which constitutes of 90% of businesses in New Jersey as well as infrastructure.  Chris Christie denied an ARC tunnel, which Buono claims would have been vital for NJ citizens in that it would have created not only more jobs, but also a more efficient way to travel. She wants to focus on the “crumbling infrastructure” in New Jersey through this plan.

Buono remains faithful and passionate about the education system and the future children. She sees that with the cut in education Christie implemented, it rose property taxes since this is what funds the public school system in New Jersey. In her college experience, she reaped the benefits getting a post-secondary education with little to no debt, which were not difficult to pay off. Through this encounter, Buono feels that she understands the importance of education and as Governor, hopes to further STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) in New Jersey for this field will be vital in the future.

Through her plans, Buono is confident that she can turn New Jersey around to its former glory of being  a state full of opportunities for immigrants and citizens alike.

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