Election 2006- Face the Facts

The New Jersey Senate election is coming up and, let’s face it, not a lot of people know who the candidates are. The Democratic candidate is Bob Menendez and the Republican candidate is Tom Kean Jr. I don’t mention third party candidates because, let’s face it, they can’t win any election. People may vote for Menendez just because his name is Menendez, which is a pretty stupid thing to do. People should be informed of politics and the candidates they vote for, otherwise they’re throwing their vote away.

But speaking of Menendez, here’s a good reason you shouldn’t vote for him. The Star-Ledger reported a couple of weeks ago that Menendez received rental revenues from the North Hudson Community Action Corp. totaling more than $300,000 and then sold the building it leases for $358,000 more than it paid. He secured millions in federal funding for the organization, steering hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to his wallet in his role as landlord. Now, ethics clearly state that a person’s official position may not be used for personal gain. This is called “exploitation.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of corruption in New Jersey: sick of an attorney general taking care of her boyfriend, sick of a governor who placed his boytoy ahead of my security, and sick of our current governor – you know, the man who promised to increase funding for higher education and then delivered the infamous budget cuts (toilet paper ring a bell?).

However, there is a candidate who is free of corruption – Kean. His father was one of the best governors New Jersey has ever had, which already makes him a well-known name. But he’s more then just a name. He’s humble, and he has experience in the State Senate and as the minority whip.

In 2002, he was named one of 40 state leaders in the nation to be recognized as a Toll Fellow by the Council of State Governments for high achievement and service to state government. Not only that, but for the second year in a row he received the Amerigroup Foundation’s Champion for Children award for his advocacy on behalf of children’s health issues.

Everyone I talk to says how personable he is and how he remembers everyone’s names. I heard a story where Kean responded to an e-mail personally and called the inquirer as well. Not only this, but this guy knows his stuff. He’s a moderate, which is a good thing. He knows that taxes are hitting New Jersey hard and he wants to provide relief to middle-class families that are struggling under this burden.

Kean leads on his own platform, while Menendez believes that hate words against Bush will win him the election. “Bush doesn’t get it,” he says all the time. And while personal beliefs may run either way, just taking gibes at Bush because many dislike him only makes him look stupid. Instead of stating the issues and what needs to be done, he hopes a tidal wave of hate will carry him over for the election.

Essentially, a candidate is not just a name or a face. We need to look behind the face and see who these people really are and what they want to do. For me, the choice is simple. Would you rather vote for a corrupt man who doesn’t have a real platform, or the guy who really believes that he can make a difference in New Jersey?