On October 17th, from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM, KACE hosted a “Meet the Candidate” with Josh Gottheimer for Congress, the Democratic nominee for New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District.
Anticipated to be the most competitive and the most expensive congressional district race of 2016, roughly 70% of voters in NJ-5 reside in Bergen County and is the second most Korean American voter population in New Jersey. According to the New York Times, analysts say incumbent Scott Garrett is facing the toughest race of his career. The voter turn-out rate in November 2016 is expected to rise as the heat continues to build in this upcoming election.
Josh Gottheimer is a previous speech writer for former President Bill Clinton and a former consultant for Secretary Hilary Clinton. As someone from an immigrant family himself, Josh Gottheimer emphasized the importance of breaking barriers in immigrant communities. He reiterated his promise to work directly for the 5th Congressional District and to attack the issues that his district holds dear. Community members were presented with the opportunity to listen to Mr. Gottheimer introduce himself and his plan for the Korean American community in Bergen County and beyond at this event, as well as ask questions on issues that directly affect the Korean American community in New Jersey. These questions were based on issues surrounding small businesses, senior citizens, U.S.-South Korea relations, and more.
KACE hosts “Meet the Candidate” events and candidate debates every year to help keep our community informed and actively engaged in elections.
The summary of the discussion from this event is as follows:
Mr. Gottheimer decided to run for office, after feeling tired of the gridlock in Washington. He hopes to make a better government and work to represent the values of New Jersey and the 5th district. As a Jewish American and son of a small business owners, he understands that the cost of living in the 5th district is too high. Furthermore, the district only gets back 33 cents per every dollar spent for federal taxes, far lower than the state average, because he argues, the incumbent Representative Garrett has not asked for the resources the district needs and deserves. He describes himself as “fiscally responsible and socially progressive.”
2. Plan for small businesses
Mr. Gottheimer said it is not easy to run a business in this district, regardless of size, and has pledged to make a more business-friendly district if elected. He will work to retain and attract large corporations in the district, without which the surrounding small businesses are affected immediately. He believes economy growth is driven by the private sector, and thus plans to keep government out of the way and use it only as a bridge to connect the right services to right vendors.
3. Plan for taxes
He argues that Representative Garrett does not fight for the federal resources and benefits that the district deserves, which in turn cost each person in the district $14,000 every year in the form of property taxes and others. If elected, Mr. Gottheimer is determined to work to bring back all the resources the district can receive to get the full value for the federal taxes paid by the 5th district.
4. Any committee of preference
If elected, Mr. Gottheimer hopes to serve on the Financial Services Committee and Small Business Committee to help drive the economic growth. Also, he hopes to join the Intelligence Committee, as national security is one of the most important issues to him. Through his service on the committee, he would like to bolster the key relations with Israel and South Korea, both of which he described as “the crucial ally in the region.” Mr. Gottheimer added that South Korea is a close friend and an important partner in trade and military.
5. Position on Comprehensive Immigration Reform
“We are a nation of immigrants, and it seems like we have forgotten that,” said Mr. Gottheimer. “This is not the time to turn our backs on immigrants. We cannot just put a drape over the Statue of Liberty, the beacon of freedom and democracy all over the world. And it was the first thing immigrants saw when they arrived at Ellis Island.” He hopes to help pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform. He is determined to stand up for immigrants and the marginalized of our society and will treat everyone with respect, not bigotry.
6. Any additional plan for the Korean American community
Mr. Gottheimer said he really appreciates the hard work and ingenuity the Korean American community has shown and the contribution it has made to Bergen County and our country.
As a Jewish American, a son of a small business owner, and a father of two children, Mr. Gottheimer said issues like small business, education, family values are incredibly important to him.
He further argued that when it comes to foreign policy or taxes, he and Representative Garrett are similar; however, when it comes to social issues, he argued that Representative Garrett is anti-immigrant, does not treat women with respect, and puts Tea Party values before the district’s interests. He asked for the votes of the Korean American community, as he holds the similar values as our community, will stand up for immigrant communities, and take action to bring real change to the economy.
KACE runs various community education initiatives throughout the year, such as meet-the-candidate, annual Korean American voter data analysis, and voter guidebook.
For more information, please contact us via Facebook, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or by phone (201) 488-4201.