Guest Column: A Member's View of Republicans' Debate

Editor's note: Recently, all five Republican candidates for the District 11 congressional race shared the spotlight in a candidate debate at the Randolph Diner, sponsored by the Morris County Young Republicans. InsiderNJ had a report (see link). Also in the audience was NJ 11th for Change member Siva Jonnada — and here is what he had to say about the event. It’s an interesting read for those of us who couldn’t be there.

This column solely reflects our guest columnist’s views, and does not represent any official positions of NJ 11th for Change.

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Primary Primer 2: Who's Who--Republicans


Republicans on the June 5 primary ballot. Top row: Jay Webber, Peter de Neufville, Antony Ghee. Bottom row: Patrick Allocco, Martin Hewitt.

It’s six weeks till Primary Tuesday. Do you know who’s on the ballot for the 11th District congressional race? Or what they’ve been saying about the issues? We’re here to help with Primary Primer, a series of posts providing a quick, informative look at the 11th District race.

Our first two installments cover the basic background on the candidates, Democratic and Republican. The next posts will outline what they’ve said about key issues. (Here is Part 1.)

Part 2: The Republican candidates vying for the seat being vacated by the retirement of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen.

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Primary Primer 1: Who's Who--Democrats


Democrats on the June 5 primary ballot. Top row: Tamara Harris, Mikie Sherrill and Mitchell Cobert. Bottom row: Alison Heslin and Mark Washburne.

It’s six weeks till Primary Tuesday. Do you know who’s on the ballot for the 11th District congressional race? Or what they’ve been saying about the issues? We’re here to help with Primary Primer, a series of posts providing a quick, informative look at the 11th District race.

Our first two installments cover the basic background on the candidates, Democratic and Republican. Future posts will outline what they’ve said about key issues.

Part 1: The Democratic candidates vying for the seat being vacated by the retirement of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen.  

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Election 2018: Important Dates


May 15

Primary: Voter registration deadline

May 29

Primary: Vote by mail deadline


October 16

General election: Voter registration deadline

October 30

General election: Vote by mail deadline

November 6: ELECTION DAY 


Not sure whether you're registered to vote?

Click this link to check. 



Town Hall For Our Lives: Morristown Edition



The student organizers of March for Our Lives Morristown kept up the energy (and the tough questions on gun laws) at a Town Hall on Saturday, April 7, with candidates in the NJ 11 House of Representatives race. Planned and led by high-school students, the forum was co-sponsored by NJ 11th for Change.

The audience at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Morristown heard a thoughtful, spirited give-and-take on topics like banning assault rifles, the NRA's influence on legislation, and the particular threats posed by gun violence to people of color and targets of domestic abuse. 

Moderated by Caitlyn Dempsey of Randolph High School, the student panel included:

  • Brianna Arends (Randolph HS)
  • Bella Bhimani (West Morris Mendham HS)
  • Isabella Bosrock (West Morris Mendham HS)
  • Natalie Gemici (Kent Place HS)
  • Meghana Maddali (Morris Knolls HS)
  • Evie Mason (Chatham HS)
  • Carina Pacheco (Academy of Saint Elizabeth)


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Power of the People- Frelinghuysen Retires

Rodney Frelinghuysen’s retirement is the culmination of a year-long accountability campaign carried out by the constituents of NJ’s 11th District. It is a testament to the power of people, united in a goal, who refuse to give up.  For over a year, we asked nothing more than an opportunity to meet with our Congressman. Instead, Frelinghuysen hid from us, refused all invitations, and actively avoided interactions with those in the 11th District — the very people he was supposed to represent in Washington. With vote after vote, we were betrayed. And yet, his constituents continued to call and rally at his offices, writing letters and asking to be heard. 

Frelinghuysen’s retirement is an example of what can happen when engaged citizens challenge the status quo, raise their voices, and take action. This is exactly what democracy looks like.

Rodney Report: Welcome to the Spin Cycle


Nothing like starting off the New Year with a large grain of salt, which is likely the best way to take Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s first 2018 newsletter.

First, he assures us he’s just as upset as we are that Donald Trump’s administration canned the Gateway Project so vital to our region’s commuter infrastructure. (He has even written a letter to the administration about it.) He then plunges into a laundry list of 2017 “achievements” by the GOP-led House of Representatives, which is pretty much a master class in spin cycling. Oh, and it carefully skirts mentioning the fallout from the GOP’s new, Trump-lauded tax code whose impact continues to look terrible for average taxpayers.

Looks like we’re in for a dizzyingly spinworthy year of newsletters, to judge by this edition. Here’s a quick sampling to give you an idea of what lies behind the pleasant phrases.

Funding the War Machine

Frelinghuysen lists among his biggest accomplishments the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act and the House's approval of his twelve appropriations bills, alleging that this legislation is necessary to ensure our national security.  Indeed, these bills increase defense spending by a whopping $70 billion.  It’s strange that amid all this concern for national security, Frelinghuysen remains quiet about Trump’s breathtakingly reckless twittering about nuclear buttons. He also fails to mention that the increase in defense spending comes at a steep cost to critical domestic programs, including cuts to the EPA, Pell Grants, the National Endowment for the Arts, and infrastructure programs.  The Trump-Frelinghuysen budget means more money for tanks and bombs and less money for clean water and education.

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Betrayed: Frelinghuysen votes "yes" on Concealed Carry Reciprocity

Yet another betrayal: The vast majority of Rodney Frelinghuysen’s constituents strongly backs New Jersey’s strict controls on gun ownership. But Frelinghuysen once again put his party bosses first, voting yes on a measure that’s top-priority for the National Rifle Association.

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act dramatically lowers the bar for carrying concealed guns everywhere in the United States. In bowing to the NRA’s and his Party leaders’ agenda, Frelinghuysen runs roughshod over our own state’s robust gun-safety laws, putting his constituents in peril. The act requires all states to recognize concealed-carry permits valid in any other state. Even from one of the 12  states such as Alaska and Mississippi that require NO permits, NO training whatsoever, and even from states that allow convicted violent stalkers from carrying weapons.

This act compels us to roll out the welcome mat for whoever conceal-carries-- teenagers, people with no safety training, who may never have even fired their weapon, and people with dangerous violent histories from other states to carry hidden loaded guns around our kids, in our restaurants, our sporting events, and our churches.

This legislation ignores both constituents concerns and statistical analysis on effective ways to diminish the plague of gun violence in our country.

The NRA has successfully stifled government research on gun violence prevention, and Frelinghuysen has been consistently complicit in supporting that gag-order in each Appropriation bill for the past 20 years, hoping and praying that the data, analysis and facts will not interfere with gun policy at the federal level.  Despite the difficulties, more long term studies into community gun safety have been completed recently, and their conclusions give the lie to the NRA’s fantasy-based refrain about “a good-guy with a gun.”

  • Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas -- none of which requires a license, registration or permit to buy a gun --  rank within the top 10 for firearm mortalities.
  • Violent crime increased year over year in states with Right to Carry Laws rising 14% after 10 years of the new legislation.
  • States with the strongest laws had 6.64 fewer deaths per 100,000 residents than the states with the weakest.
  • A meta-analysis of 16 studies examined the relationship between firearms and gun deaths. Gun ownership doubled the risk of homicide and tripled the risk of suicide.


The GOP’s actions are a direct assault on the safety of our community, and Frelinghuysen’s support is a complete betrayal of our communities. We at NJ 11th For Change demand leadership that puts our communities' well-being ahead of lobbyists and party. We need our Representatives to be strong and stand up for us.

 NJ 11th for Change

Frelinghuysen: A Failure of Leadership for NJ Taxpayers

Frelinghuysen: A Failure of Leadership for New Jersey Taxpayers

A bill that will increase taxes for many – though not the wealthiest District 11 taxpayers –  could pass in a matter of days. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen could have lobbied to change the House tax bill’s most harmful provisions. Instead, he was the only N.J. Congressman to remain silent. He voted ‘no’ only after Republican leaders determined they didn’t need his vote.

  • The best chance to stop this tax bill was when the House voted on a budget resolution in October. The bill included many of the worst parts of the final version, and yet Rodney was the only N.J. representative to vote for it. This bill passed by an extremely thin margin; if only two more representatives had voted NO, the resolution would have failed.
  • He was silent on the provisions that in his words “could do much damage to the business climate in our state, a trend we must never tolerate, let alone encourage. … I simply could not support the legislation due to very negative impacts it would have on so many of my fellow New Jerseyans.” If that’s how he really felt, why was he the only member of the NJ delegation to allow this bill to pass through budget resolution, where he had the power to stop it?  And why did we have to wait until after the bill passed to state the obvious?
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Rodney Report: It’s trickle-down economics time, folks.

UPDATE 11/13/2017: According to The Hill, House Republicans say they have the votes they need to pass their tax package; a Rodney_artfloor vote is expected in the House this week. Now is the time to tell Rodney Frelinghuysen what you think.

  • D.C. office: (202) 225-5034
  • Morristown office: (973) 984-0711
  • Morristown fax: (973) 292-1569


This week, the Republicans unveiled the House and Senate versions of competing tax bills. They share the same vision of what’s good for America: a fat, juicy tax cut for corporations and the biggest investors,  while waving away a loss of revenue so big it will rip a gaping hole in the budget and inevitably lead to cuts in programs, services, and institutions that benefit the rest of us.  Rewards in the tax code for “good behavior” -- like going to college or getting a graduate degree, buying a house, taking care of your health, or giving your money away, are all eliminated as if these no longer interest the majority party.

 In fact, a look at the tax cuts proposed across the next decade shows that they aren’t cuts at all for many Americans. By Year Ten, the evaluation of the House bill by the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank, shows the bill for what it is: a $900 billion corporate cut, a $400 billion break for non-corporate business owners, a $127 billion estate tax break. What little is left over falls squarely in the pockets of the richest 1%.

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