Here’s why we enthusiastically endorse Caren Fitzpatrick for LD2 Assembly:
The “County Line” in primary election ballots: Being placed in a preferential ballot position unfairly benefits some candidates and disadvantages others. Recognizing the outsize influence of the “county line” primary election ballots on the outcomes of elections, and the considerable voter confusion that they cause, I will support changing the NJ primary ballot to an “Office Bloc” design as is used in every other state and in some counties in NJ (see http://ggcnj.org/resolution for more information).
Comment: I have benefited from the county line ballot, but do see the benefit to an open ballot.
Ballot Order: Following best practices in 16 states, I will support implementing a rotational ballot order system that ensures to the greatest extent possible that all candidates running for the same office receive the first and subsequent ballot positions in an equal number of election districts and no candidate is advantaged over other candidates on the basis of their ballot placement (see http://ggcnj.org/resolution for more details).
Comment: Our county does have a convention where candidates are endorsed. This should also be considered.
Voter access: I support adopting parts of H.R.1 in New Jersey in order to increase voter participation, ensure access to the ballot box, and strengthen elections, including specifically same day registration, early voting and a paper trail for machine voting that enables verification.
Comment: Every eligible voter should have access. And registration should be automatic upon reaching 18 years old.
Ethics reform: I support ethics reforms that would require broader disclosure of financial information and the release of income taxes by candidates for county-level and state-level public office, as a means of transparency.
Comment: Even at the County level, we cannot see where candidates’ financial support comes from. This information is important to voters.
Campaign funding: I support the public funding of campaigns for all state-level elected offices (i.e., the state legislature and gubernatorial elections).
Comment: To even the playing field.
Redistricting: I support placing a nonpartisan commission in charge of the legislative redistricting process.
Comment: Gerrymandering of the districts is the most basic form of “fixing” elections and keeping segregation among elected officials (Black towns elect Black representatives, White towns elect White representatives).
Public Advocate: I support passing legislation to reinstate the statewide Office of the Public Advocate that was eliminated in 2010.
Comment: We need as much advocacy for the public as possible. Corporations have access to paid lobbyists.
Posting of bills: I support requiring bills to be posted a minimum of 72hrs prior to voting in the legislature, to allow legislators to read bills thoroughly and obtain feedback from the public.
Comment: I encounter this issue at the county level, we get agendas on Friday for Tuesday meetings, sometimes with 20 issues for which we vote.
Legislative meetings: I support making all committee meetings accessible to the public for attendance and testimony by online means (e.g., via zoom) and streaming of voting sessions even after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, to increase availability and transparency of government.
Comment: The public simply doesn’t have enough access to elected officials or the government in general.
Full time legislature: I support making the state legislature full-time and prohibiting the simultaneous holding of other paid positions, so as to eliminate conflicts of interest and sources of influence and pressure on state legislators.
Comment: This would encourage more good people to run for office, rather than those who can take time off work, or are retired from outside work.
More information about Caren Fitzpatrick:
Campaign website: https://www.carenfitzpatrick.com
Social media: @carenlfitzpatrick, facebook; @carenfitzpatty, Twitter
Party affiliation: Democratic party
Date of Birth: 2/13/1959
Current Occupation: Sr Director Finance Administration
Education: AAS, Atlantic Cape Community College; BSBA, Thomas Edison University; MBA, Stockton University
Public/party service: Elected Atlantic County Freeholder, 2017; re-elected 2020; running for State Assembly, 2021