Seth Kaper-Dale – Candidate for Governor

Candidate information:

Phone number: 866-SKD-4-GOV
Social ,
Date of birth: 07/20/1975
Education: Graduate, Accredited Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE), Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick, NJ, summer 2001; M. Div., Princeton Seminary, Princeton, NJ, 1999 – 2001; B.A., Hope College, Holland, MI, 1993 – 1997 (Major: religion/Eng. Lit.)
Occupation: Pastor at Reformed Church of Highland Park
Party affiliation: Green
Public/Party service: Affordable housing: Founded Reformed Church of Highland Park Affordable Housing Corporation in 2006, providing homes for justice-involved youth, chronically homeless mentally ill adults, homeless veterans, women aging out of foster care, and adults with developmental disabilities.

Immigration: Founded and currently oversee Interfaith RISE, an official NJ State refugee resettlement agency and DIRE, a grassroots emergency response immigrant support team; accepted an invitation by Senators Booker and Menendez to an immigration reform fast in 2013; extended Sanctuary at my church to 9 Indonesians for 11 months in 2012; developed a Congressional Bill, involving Indonesian immigrants across U.S., the Indonesian Family Protect Act, which did not pass but helped persuade I.C.E. to drop pursuit of Indonesian communities I was advocating for; provided office space and support for a community effort that assisted 85 victims of labor trafficking in their legal cases; spoke at a major immigration rally, April, 2010, on Mall in Washington, before 500,000 people as a guest invited by Sojourners; led a program providing detainee visits and advocacy, and community-based housing and social services for dozens of migrants being released from detention centers.

Community Programs:
I. I founded and presided for 5 years over Who Is My Neighbor, Inc., offering: Better World Cafe, which employs refugees being resettled in New Jersey to cook delicious meals daily from their countries of origins served by volunteers and enjoyed by the public for just $5; Fair Trade Store from 2003-2007 which led to corporate 10,000 Villages opening a store in Highland Park; The Cave, an after school safe haven for community youth that to the present day operates weekdays in the lower level of the church building; the Family Den, a free drop-in parent-child educational play center; and a summer day camp operated by Youth Director with lots of support from RCHP and community volunteers and serving mainly low-income children.
II. I founded Neighborcorps citizen re-entry program in 2013.
III. I founded Hurricane Sandy Relief Ministry which has hosted over 1,000 volunteers, and raised over $160,000 for building supplies and which distributed nearly $70,000 of emergency goods in the weeks after the storm hit.

Environmental efforts: installed solar panels on roofs of two of my affordable housing buildings as well as the two large sections of the church I pastor; recruited 29 churches into GreenFaith environmental advocacy coalition; sponsor with my church monthly community nature hikes for children & adults and a community-wide program that collected 3,000 pounds of toxic waste.

LGBT: I have an openly inclusive congregation in a conservative denomination; advocate at national level of denomination; have appointed lesbian and transgender student ministers and associate pastors; served 2 years on a committee that organized, raised funds, and planned conferences on theology and sexuality to promote tolerance of same-sex relationships and to create safe space in churches.

Interfaith activities: provide weekly use of church building for Chinese, Indonesian and French Speaking Christian congregations; and use of building for Jewish and Buddhist congregations; interfaith services with Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, and Muslim communities; held an interfaith walk for Pakistan after major floods, raising over $10,000 with 300 participating.


Position on good government initiatives:

  1. Would you support reinstituting the statewide public advocate and making it a directly elected position? Yes. I fully commit to restoring the Department of the Public Advocate for bringing more accountability and responsiveness to New Jersey residents. My campaign is borne out of the call for accountability in New Jersey. In 2013, 60 elected Democratic officials publicly endorsed Chris Christie against their own candidate for governor, Barbara Buono, who was fighting corruption. It was extremely apparent then that there is only one party in New Jersey, of and for the rich, until we beat them through a grassroots campaign. My campaign is centered around getting money out of the private health insurance industry, out of the private prison industry, out of the private banking industry, and back into our communities.
  2. Would you support measures to increase voter participation (eg. same-day registration, early voting, vote by mail)? Yes. Voter participation and voter access to information must both be revived in New Jersey. Only 39% of registered voters came out for the last governor election in 2013. From what we hear from constituents, they don’t feel represented by the 2-party duopoly. Yet, information about our campaign is suppressed by both the media and legislative barriers. On August 21st, just ten weeks before the election, Christie signed a bill into law ending the practice of the state mailing written candidate statements to voters’ homes. This is an outrage. So, yes, supporting measures like same-day registration, early voting, and vote by mail, and making Election Day a holiday, as well as expanding debate access and resuming candidate statements are actions I will help move forward.
  3. Would you support ethics reforms that would require broader disclosure on financial information and the release of income taxes by candidates for public office, as a means for regulating campaigns and limiting corruption? Yes. I spoke at a Tax March and Community Unity rally on Tax Day in Plainfield where I supported the call for Donald Trump to release his taxes, and I also publicly announced the complete details of my own tax return a few months before that. It is of particular concern that my opponent in this race who continues to make millions a year from investments in destructive Wall Street activities was granted immunity from disclosing this important information.
  4. Would you support changing the nominating process for members of state-wide Commissions and Boards to have panels of nonpartisan experts nominate candidates, with full public disclosure of the candidates’ credentials, and to have the legislature vote on the nominations? Yes. The Governor’s seat in New Jersey is a much too powerful seat and I am very eager to increase the status of democracy particularly in the context of of our commissions and boards. When I scroll through the government web pages for the different commissions, I am very concerned by the lack of racial, gender and age diversity that is visible and skeptical about the full inclusion of people with invisible stigmas attached to them like mental illnesses and LGBTQ identities. Furthermore, our environment is an example of an area that is suffering from people being put in charge of its protection who do not have the relevant qualifications. I will seek input from the Good Government Coalition of New Jersey when I create nonpartisan expert panels to nominate candidates for membership on Commissions and Boards.
  5. Would you support placing a nonpartisan commission in charge of the legislative redistricting process? Yes. The 2-party system controls way too much of what goes on in our state and entire country and are often indistinguishable in terms of their true loyalties. Non-biased, democratically chosen commissions are necessary, especially in the area of legislative redistricting. Non-partisanship reduces conflict of interest that favors trickle-down economics. All of our policies are based on a Last Are First, wellspring from below approach.
  6. Would you support public funding of campaigns for all statewide offices, including the legislature? Yes. This is a need that I am all too familiar with. As the Green Party candidate, I have been systematically excluded from the debates because our $100,000 raised was not enough to meet the strictly financial threshold. My fellow Green candidates running for local offices have experienced similar frustrations. Public funding for statewide campaigns is a no-brainer.
  7. Would you support making the state legislature full-time and prohibiting simultaneous holding of other paid positions? Yes.
  8. Would you support reforming New Jersey’s Primary electoral ballots to give all candidates an equal chance of being elected? Yes. As we all know, ballot location plays too big a role in our elections and gives the Democrat and Republican parties a free pass from running exciting candidates with substantive, differentiated campaigns. I will support reforming the Primary electoral ballots and also opening Primary voting to undeclared and independent voters.