NJLP Candidates Discuss Campaigns

Darren Young
Assembly, 21st District

Darren YoungDarren Young ran as a trademark candidate in District 21 this year. There were no debates, and his two Republican opponents were both very well-liked and very prolimited government. In any case they easily won with about 65 percent of the vote. He is hoping to once again run against pro-Bush, big-government Republican Mike Ferguson as the NJLP Congressional candidate next year from District 7. He has garnered significant positive publicity for the party by making numerous television appearances during the four other times he has run for this position.

Darren is aware that next year there may be some friendly competition for the right to represent the NJLP in District 7. His sister, Dolores Makrogiannis, who lives in the same district, ran her first NJLP campaign as an Assembly candidate in District 20. She enjoyed running for office so much that she has expressed an interest in being the party’s Congressional nominee. Also, newcomer Sean Colon, who also lives in the district, proved to be one of the NJLP’s best and most energetic candidates to come along in years. Fortunately, unlike for state offices you do not have to live in the district to run for Congress, so next year the NJLP may have the luxury of having two “spare” candidates to distribute. Next year will be interesting indeed!

Although my campaign was fairly limited, I was received quite well by all of the people I spoke to. All in all, I think many people in my area have quite a lot in common with the Libertarian Party ideas. I still believe the party needs to make more of an effort to show that it is in fact socially liberal, while politically/financially very conservative, as many people seemed to believe that the party is pro life/anti gay marriage, etc.

I also think that the party should at least try to develop feasible plans to combat some state issues such as state spending and revamping the education system. I had some talking points on these issues, but most of the party’s stance seems to be too broad without having clear cut methods on how to approach some of these problems. I worked with Steve Lonegan and the Americans for Prosperity by canvassing some areas, putting up signs, posting stickers, handing out flyers, etc. and I ultimately went to the AFP post
election party which was quite a lot of fun. I think it's great that 2 of the ballot questions were rejected, and hopefully this will help send a message to Trenton that nonstop spending and the size of our state government are completely out of control.

Sean Colon
Assembly, 22nd District

Sean ColonSean found this election year to be promising for the Libertarian Party. Most of the people he met were dissatisfied with NJ government. He believes the proof of this was the rejection of the Stem Cell ballot issue by voters, when it was expected to win. This shows clear dissatisfaction with the fiscal policies of the NJ Democrats and Republicans.

"This past election has encouraged me to run again because I a m confident that with what I have learned I can be more successful during my next campaign. I believe that if we declare ourselves as modern day Libertarians, ones with new ideas, lots of energy, and enthusiasm, that the people of NJ will be more open to listening to us. This will be key in the next election, to shake off the misconceptions about our party and show them our true colors: red, white and blue."

Ken Kaplan
Assembly, 26th District

Ken KaplanKen said he decided that the paperwork was “too onerous” so heran a campaign with zero spending. He found the results were “about the
same” as he had found previously, in this “overwhelmingly Republican” district, although the number of questionnaires was much greater
than it had been before.

Ken and two Green Party candidates were interviewed for The Daily Record newspaper and he said it was a “nice interview.” . Here are some quotes from The Daily Record article:

Kaplan said he wants to protect the individual rights of voters and believes that less government regulation should be a key goal. "I want to restore individual liberty," he said. Kaplan said he would repeal the Highlands Act because it takes away individual property rights. He said water quality would be protected through common law practices already in place. "There is no such thing as the common good when it results in the alienation of individuals," he said.

On education Ken said that the tax system should be converted to a system that funds public endeavors through fees, such as a tuition based public education system. He said he would like to see more choice in education, to allow families to opt out of public schools for private or parochial schools, if they feel change would be better for their children. Such a tuition based system would open up school competition and relieve taxpayers of the burden of funding schools not attended by their children.

Ken said that if voters had the power of initiative and referendum, whereby they could generate ballot questions, there would be less corruption in New Jersey. An answer to affordable housing would be to allow homeowners to expand their homes without so much government interference. Finally, all three candidates supported the use of medical marijuana.

The League of Women Voters of Montville-Boonton sponsored a debate and all seven candidates showed up. Ken said the debate “went rather well.” The Brookside senior citizens forum invited the Republicans and Democrats to appear on different nights and they also invited other candidates to come either night. Ken accepted an appearance for both nights, but because of another engagement he was only able to come once and debate the Republicans.

Paul Tahan and Derek DeMarco
Assembly, 40th District

Derek and Paul had perhaps the most awful ballot position in the state. Derek reported that they were at the bottom of the ballot with six blank spaces between them and the other candidates. He added that his family could not “even see me on the ballot” because of the location. Paul says that “we did everything we could” and it was a “good experience” to run this year. Derek said that they did get on Comcast TV and that experience was rewarding. He says “I’d like to run again ... it was fun.”