LETTERS TO THE EDITOR for the week of Nov. 3


Coalition looks to provide
information on candidates
To the editor:
On Nov. 7, the New Jersey governorship and our whole legislature (40 senators and 80 General Assembly members) are up for election. New Jersey is one of only two states with gubernatorial elections this year, and the rest of the country will be watching.
This year, we all have to go to the polls and vote. We have to make sure our voices are heard and that we elect officials – legislators, sheriffs, freeholders, council members, board of education members – who truly represent us.
However, in this age of abundant data, it can be surprisingly difficult to learn who is running for office, and what their positions are on the issues. Do you want to contact your local candidates to ask their positions on issues they have not spoken about publicly? Good luck with that. All the state provides is the candidates’ names and postal addresses.
The Good Government Coalition of New Jersey (ggcnj.org), a new non-partisan grassroots group that grew up in Princeton, recently launched a campaign to correct this problem. GGCNJ created a database designed to provide information on all statewide candidates (and many local candidates) running this year.
Candidates are asked to state their views on a list of good government measures and supply personal contact information (email, phone, website, social media) as well as biographical information (occupation, education, previous public service). This information is then posted on the site so voters can make informed decisions.
GGCNJ is calling on all candidates to help by providing their information to the database – every candidate should want informed voters. (Email [email protected] to get an electronic survey form.) We also encourage all citizens to make use of this database before they cast their ballots.
GGCNJ’s broader mission is to strengthen democracy in NJ by working with residents across our state to bring greater transparency, accountability and participation to our state and local governments. The coalition has identified several areas in which the current political system in New Jersey is broken. Too much power is concentrated in too few hands. This leads to a system that is dominated by those with money and power who shape decisions in backroom deals, leaving the public shut out of the process. GGCNJ aims to ensure that government, at both the state and local levels, works on behalf of all of us.
To find out more and to join us, please go to ggcnj.org. And don’t forget to vote on Nov. 7. This is our chance to make a difference in our state.
Julie Borst, Allendale
Kathleen Cassidy, Princeton
Karla Cook, Princeton
Kristina Corvin, Princeton
Nathaniel Daw, Princeton
Karen Haskin, Lawrenceville
Fatima Mughal, Ewing
April Nicklaus, East Windsor
Yael Niv, Princeton
Julia Sass Rubin, Princeton
Raisa Rubin-Stankiewicz, Princeton
Kristen Suozzo, Princeton
Roger Shatzkin, Princeton
Gregory Stankiewicz, Princeton
Laura Zurfluh, Cranbury
Support Michele Tuck-Ponder
for Princeton School Board
To the editor:
Michele Tuck-Ponder has given extraordinary public service to Princeton, and we wholeheartedly endorse her candidacy for the Princeton School Board. She will bring to the board the knowledge, leadership skills, and – most significantly – values of critical importance to the ultimate vitality of our schools and our community.
Michele is a public-school parent, a taxpayer, an attorney and a former mayor. She understands that a school system cannot truly achieve excellence unless it promotes the achievement of all of its students. She also knows well that an unaffordable school system threatens the very diversity that enriches our schools.
Michele will work to support a school culture that embraces high expectations for all students while also preparing them to navigate a multicultural world. She will work equally hard to hold the line on budget and to ensure that expenditures are cost-effective and serve our educational mission.
Her government experience includes policy-related positions as aide to a United States Senator, assistant counsel to the New Jersey governor, and mayor and member of Township Committee in the former Princeton Township.
She was centrally involved in overseeing the feasibility study, design and financing of the Princeton Municipal Complex and the negotiation and financing of infrastructure and siting for the Princeton Public Library.
In the non-profit sector, Michele has served as an executive of Women’s Fund and the YWCA and a member of the boards of New Jersey After 3 and the Girl Scouts. She has repeatedly met the challenge of serving the public interest while conserving scarce resources. This background will serve well the school board’s need to explore alternative sources of funding and carefully review the economics of our current commitments.
As enrollment grows, school board members will be called upon to make strategic decisions about facilities, infrastructure and the alignment of spending and mission. Michele will bring to these issues an ability to identify and ask the hard questions, well-known skills as a consensus-builder, and a deep commitment to a quality education for all students in our system.
We hope you will join us in supporting her candidacy.
Walter and Mary Bliss, Princeton
Virginia Kerr, Princeton
Beth and Jim Healey, Princeton
Andrew Zwicker’s work ethic,
bipartisan approach is refreshing
To the editor:
When we go to the polls on Nov. 7, it’s important to remember that New Jerseyans are voting not only for a new governor, but to fill every seat in the state Legislature.
Regardless of your party affiliation, I strongly urge voters to join me
in voting to return Andrew Zwicker to the Assembly in District 16. In
his first term, Zwicker has shown that he will reliably rise above the
name-calling and mudslinging that infects our politics today, and work
with people from any party or ideological background to find solutions
that benefit everyone.
Since he was elected to the Assembly in 2015, Zwicker has justly earned his reputation as one of the hardest-working members.  When it comes to serving his constituents around the district, from South Brunswick all the way to Readington and everywhere in between, Andrew’s record is impressive.  Claims clinics for veterans; job fairs; helping people get the services and support they need from state agencies – Zwicker is everywhere, working for everyone.
It feels to me like many of our politicians have forgotten who they work
for, but Zwicker’s work ethic and sensible, bipartisan approach as a
public servant is refreshing.
Let’s re-elect Andrew Zwicker to the New Jersey Assembly on Nov. 7.  He is exactly the kind of level-headed, smart representative we need working for us in Trenton.
Jeffrey Oakman
Zwicker among state’s top
environmental leaders
To the editor:
I write to urge voters concerned about the environment to send a clear message by supporting Andrew Zwicker on Nov. 7.  In his first two-year term Zwicker has quickly become one of the New Jersey Assembly’s top environmental leaders, and earned a reputation as proud heir to the scientifically-grounded, environmental tradition of Congressman Rush Holt.
Asm. Zwicker has sponsored legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the use of clean, renewable energy. With federal environmental protections evaporating, Zwicker has been a steadfast advocate for more robust state standards to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land on which we grow our food. Zwicker joined groups of concerned citizens to oppose pipeline expansion in environmentally sensitive or heavily populated areas, and earned the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters and the Clean Water Fund. Last week, Zwicker was one of 10 sitting Assembly members endorsed by Environment New Jersey, for his record of “marked environmental leadership and working to address environmental threats.”
In the wake of U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords, enhanced state and local action to defend our environment is imperative. A comprehensive report released last month by researchers at the Rutgers Climate Institute found that New Jersey lacks a detailed, comprehensive strategy to significantly reduce its carbon footprint by mid-century. Princeton has stepped up to do its part by embarking on a Climate Action Plan for the community; we need the support and cooperation of environmental champions like Zwicker at the state level.
This is an on-year election for the environment and every vote counts. Please use yours to help re-elect Andrew Zwicker to the New Jersey Assembly next Tuesday, November 7.
Mia Sacks