Home Cranbury Press Democratic candidates candidly speak during forum

Democratic candidates candidly speak during forum

Democratic candidates candidly speak during forum
State Sen. Linda Greenstein (left), Assembly candidate Tennille McCoy (center), and Assemblyman Dan Benson (right) during the candidate forum inside Cranbury Public Library on July 20.

Forum hosted by Indivisble Cranbury

Democratic candidates for state legislature in District 14 and Mercer County executive highlighted their work, introduced themselves, and heard directly from voters ahead of the fast approaching November general election.

New Jersey Sen. Linda Greenstein, Assembly candidate Tennille McCoy, and Assemblyman Dan Benson, spoke directly to current and prospective constituents during a Candidate forum hosted by Indivisible Cranbury at the Cranbury Public Library on July 20.

Greenstein is running for re-election in District 14 as the Democratic nominee. McCoy is a newcomer running for Assembly to succeed Benson and running with Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo. And Benson, who is finishing out his term in the 14th district, is the Democratic nominee in a general election race for Mercer County executive.

This year’s general election takes place on Nov. 7.

In the library’s meeting room, Greenstein said if she were to win re-election affordability would be a top issue she would seek to address in a new term.

“We are always interested in doing something about property taxes, but we have done some really good things now, whether it is the new StayNJ program, ANCHOR program and so many others,” she said. “Affordability is I think by far and away the most important issue.”

A second top issue of focus for Greenstein is clean energy and clean water.

“… I have a trillion bills on that, some of them big bills and some less so, anything I can do in that regard is important to me,” she said. “In addition, I’m working on the PFAS [per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances used in daily products that contaminate drinking water] issue. I am doing my best to see if I can get a lot of the groups on the same page.

“That is not easy to do, but I have done it for example with a bill called Carbon Concrete. Concrete is one of the largest sources of carbon. [There is a] certain type of concrete that essentially deals with this issue of carbon. We passed a bill to make it available to people.”

Greenstein said she decided to run for re-election because she enjoys the job and believes she can “still do the job well.”

In the general election Greenstein will face Republican candidate Patricia Johnson. Johnson, who is from Mercer County, said she wants educational support for children in New Jersey and enhanced intervention for children with disabilities.

Additionally, she wants to ensure small businesses get the support they need and shrink government, according to her campaign website.

McCoy is running for Benson’s Assembly seat.

If elected, McCoy said at the top of her agenda is addressing education and the environment.

“Coming out of the public school systems and going off to Virginia State University, Rutgers University, and the London School of Economics, [I know] it is really important for our students to have a good education, but at the same time being part of [the] Mercer County Vo-Tech Board of Education, I understand the importance of individuals being able to have a trade,” she said.

“[We need to be] making sure individuals have the necessary tools and resources to be successful for the future of work, having conversations with employers and seeing what their needs are, and what type of leadership skills we need to bring to the work force are critical.”

For the environment, she said it is important to have clean water, clean air, and a sustainable infrastructure.

“I was born and raised in Hamilton off of Assunpink Boulevard across from Assunpink Creek,” she said. “I remember as a kid the constant flooding we had in our neighborhood. These are things we are going to have to combat and prepare for.”

During the campaign so far, McCoy said she is hearing from voters about healthcare, jobs and taxes, all of which she seeks to address if elected.

“How long has it taken you to get an appointment with your primary [doctor] and how long has it taken to get an appointment with a surgeon?” she hypothetically asked. “It is taking so long for people to be able to get medical assistance. This a conversation we need to be talking about and that is where jobs come into play.

“Making sure talent is on the ground, building talent pipelines working with community colleges and Vo-Tech schools, knocking down barriers such as nurses gaining licensures and certifications are critical.

“I threw my hat into this race because I am a community servant and this something my parents taught us. It is crucial to give back,” McCoy said.

McCoy is running on the Democratic ticket with DeAngelo, who is seeking re-election. They are facing Republican candidates Adam Elias and Skye Gilmartin for the two Assembly seats in the 14th district.

Mercer County

Benson is running in a race to become the next Mercer County Executive as the Democratic nominee. He seeks to succeed longtime Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes, who is retiring.

If he is elected, Benson will seek to clean up County finances and reinvest into Mercer County.

“A part of the reason why I ran was to clean up some of the financial mess that we are seeing at the county level right now,” he said, adding a lot of work needs to be done to “straighten out both our finances and capital sheets.”

Benson said they need to reinvest into Mercer County to help create jobs as well as create excitement.

“We really need to kind of inject more of that public investment, so that Mercer County can continue to be a place that everyone loves and wants to come to,” he said.

Benson noted that he is hearing from Mercer County voters about transparent government and the county working with their local officials.

“They want to see a very transparent government that is responsive and works with their local officials,” he said. “Mercer County is like the rest of New Jersey. They know their mayors and really support their local officials and want to see a county that supports them and achieves their goals in their own town rather than be an impediment.”

With years at the local level in Hamilton and the county level and 12 years serving in the Assembly working on legislative issues, Benson decided to run for Mercer County executive to have “a more direct hand in implementing policies” for residents.

“As an executive I really get to roll up my sleeves and have direct change in implementing, some of the policies I fought for at the legislative level,” Benson added.

In November, Benson is facing Republican challenger Lisa Richford for the four-year term as Mercer County executive.

“Some of the reasons I am running for County Executive is to bring real leadership to the Office of the Mercer County Executive after 20 years of one-party rule, focus on budget transparency, and bring real solutions to the diminished quality of life for many of our Mercer County residents young and old,” Richford said on the Mercer County Republican Committee website.

As well as tackle election integrity and voter disenfranchisement, Richford said, noting the unprecedented and epic countywide machine fail during the 2022 November general election.