Why District 10 Elections Are Important to the MetroWest Jewish Community

Guest blog by Gordon Haas, chair, CRC Government Affairs Committee


On June 5, primary day, District 10 in New Jersey will have two parallel elections. The first primary is for the late Congressman Donald Payne’s unexpired term (November 2012-January 2013). The other is for the Democratic Congressional candidate (January 2012-January 2015) for the new Legislative District 10. This Congressional seat will be changing in parts of Union County and has expanded into additional areas in Essex County such as West Orange and Montclair. 


There are currently four Democratic candidates running for one or both of these seats: NJ Senator Nia Gill, Newark Councilman Ron Rice, Newark Councilman Don Payne Jr., and Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith.


This election has important implications for the Jewish community. None of the four candidates are incumbents. They have not held national office and only one has had experience at the state level. None have a record on Israel, stopping Iran’s nuclear capacity, or homeland security. Yet, they all have shown strong commitment to the betterment of their communities and have acted as a voice for the most vulnerable among us — all priority concerns of the Jewish community. 


This is an historic opportunity to elect a new fresh voice representing New Jersey into Congress. It is important that as the Jewish community we ensure that this Congressman/woman be a friend to our community and strong advocate for Israel. Therefore, it is imperative that those who live in both the old and new District 10 stay educated, help to get out the vote, and vote themselves. This official may be in office for many years to come and will be instrumental in setting policy and appropriations for a multitude of issues and concerns that impact many of us.


In addition, one of the benefits of being affiliated with UJC MetroWest and Central Federation is our strong relationships with elected officials. Through the Community Relations Committee of MetroWest and Central NJ (CRC), our Federations work in close collaboration with our Senators and Representatives in Congress to move forward the legislative agendas and priorities of our own organization and the national agendas of Jewish Federation of North America and the Jewish Council of Public Affairs. We visit and join forces with them locally and in Washington.


Because of our unique local and national work and connection, we often form strong, respectful ties. Therefore, we encourage our leaders to stay engaged in this process as well. 


Current priority issues of the Federation system, among others, include:

  • Solving the debt crisis while protecting the most vulnerable
  • Maintaining cost effective and efficient Medicaid  
  • Supporting charitable contribution deductions
  • Increasing jobs for the unemployed and under-employed 
  • Helping seniors age in place
  • Ensuring a strong, secure democratic state of Israel
  • Ending Iran’s nuclear capacity
  • Deterring human trafficking

To get to know these candidates better, CRC is sponsoring the Essex County District 10 Candidates Forum at 8:30 a.m. on May 23 at JCC MetroWest, 760 Northfield Avenue, West Orange. Brigid Harrison, NJTV commentator, and Andrew Silow-Carroll, editor-in-chief of the New Jersey Jewish News, will moderate the program. Please RSVP your attendance to crc@ujcnj.org or (973) 929-3064 as seating is limited.


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