With the new year brings hope and optimism that Mr. Murphy's time in office will be coming to any end. The lockdown, a chaotic vaccine roll-out and massive debt have been the hallmark of his authoritatively poor leadership and lack of vision.
A few weeks back I interviewed Greg Mele who is seeking the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Gubernatorial nomination. This month I sat with Eveline Brownstein who would like to be the Lieutenant Governor of the once proud Garden State.
MG: Thank you Eve for taking the time to sit with me. I'd like you tell me a little about you background and how it prepared me for lieutenant governor:
EB: My qualifications to run for Lieutenant Governor are the same as the qualifications are the same as those for Governor. Must be at least 30 years of age - I am. Must be a citizen of the United States for at least 20 years - I was naturalized in 1994, so I have been. Must be a resident of New Jersey for at least seven years - I have been living and working in New Jersey since 2008.
I think there are more qualifications than these, but the candidate should be seen as someone who can be the Governor should that be required. Therefore, it is right for voters to demand that the Lieutenant Governor candidate be appropriately qualified. I have been a Human Resources professional for over 35 years. That experience has taught me how to listen to people, regardless of what role or position they hold. From entry-level to executive leader, delivering for both is a skill I hold. As your lieutenant governor I would faithfully represent every citizen of New Jersey, regardless of status. All voices should and will be heard.
I am also a business owner and work diligently for a small business. I have also worked for a large corporation. Once again, my experiences from all types of businesses give me a thorough understanding of the challenges of being an employee, being the owner of a small business and being responsible for shareholder outcomes in a large corporation. Everyone has an interest in the businesses in our state, whether they are large, medium or small. I understand what keeps the sole proprietor awake at night. I understand what gives the executive leader sleepless nights. All voices should and will be heard.
I teach adults anxious to make themselves more valuable to their employers. Each one brings unique experiences into my classrooms from which we all learn something useful. It is not enough to just listen to others. We must be willing to learn from them too. I am.
I am the mother of seven adults. Managing different personalities and negotiating for the best outcome to resolve conflicts and disagreements is something I am very adept at. My children have taught me that. I proudly bring that to the role.
MG: Specifically, where do you see Phil Murphy has let down the people of New Jersey?
EB: He doesn't listen to all his constituents. He only listens to the people in the state who agree with him. It is the duty of a Governor to represent every citizen in this state. His tax policies hurt the poor, the middle class and those who are blessed with more. He seems to make decisions based on what feels good to him, rather than what would serve the needs of our citizens. During the pandemic he has held daily briefings to tell us what he demands of us, but none of these have been open forum discussions so we can tell him what we are experiencing and how he might help us. He has made arbitrary decisions for parents, business owners, and our youth without having a single conversation with any of them. He has created committees of select executives to advise him on business issues, but not a single small business owner has been represented on those committees. He has invited unions to weigh in on schools and business issues, but has not asked a single parent, nor a single business owner what their government can do for them. He hasn't been listening, he's been telling. That's infantilizing our citizens, rather than partnering with them to build a New Jersey that cares about all its citizens. We don't need a parent in a Governor. We need someone who listens to the people of this state. All the people.
MG: How would like to see the direction of New Jersey change?
EB: I think the people know best how to change the direction NJ is on. It's time to hear when citizens say that property taxes are too high. We can and should act to reduce or eliminate them. It's time to hear when citizens say that personal income taxes are too high. We can and should act to reduce or eliminate them. It's time to hear when people who were promised pensions say they have been underfunded to the detriment of the state's credit rating. We can and should have a plan to guarantee those pensions. We need to take a good long and hard look at our state budget and actively listen to the people about how to put us back on a strong footing. I can tell you that I strongly believe it can be done without raising taxes and can be done by reducing taxes and looking for alternative revenue streams that do not put the entire burden on the hardworking citizens of our state. We need to build a state for all generations - our young people are leaving so they can live independently, our families are leaving so they can have quality home lives and our retirees are leaving because the constantly rising costs of living in the state cannot be sustained by a fixed retirement income. It's going to take more than just politicians meeting around a table to fix this.
MG: A common question our candidates are asked regularly, is why are you running as a Libertarian?
EB: I have been a Libertarian since 1996. The party platform of diversity and inclusion for all people appeals to me. The party platform that challenges its politicians to find creative ways to reduce or eliminate taxes is one that I embrace. We have some of the best minds in the world. The Libertarian challenge of being fiscally responsible by reducing government to as small as possible and leaving people alone to live freely while being responsible for their impact on their fellow humans is one I wholeheartedly embrace. It's easy to be a politician. It's an exciting challenge to be a Libertarian politician.
MG: I met with a famous pollster 4 years ago and asked why he didn't include our candidates in polls, his answer was "how much money have your raised?" So I ask you, how will you be able to raise funds?
EB: Gregg and I are determined to raise enough funds to run a successful campaign, but we will not be obligated to special interests who can come to us for special favors after we win. We will be listening to the people and we intend to be fiscally responsible with their donations. We hope they will be inspired to help us win.
MG: So unlike the other two parties you will not be soliciting funds from big companies or special interests with the promise of favorable corporatist policies for their funding?
MG: Last election cycle we experienced how hard it was for the Libertarian Party to gather signatures and meet the public due to the Covid-19 restrictions. How will you overcome those obstacles as we expect the pandemic to carry through at least the early part of the summer?
EB: There are many ways to set up listening sessions with the people of New Jersey. Safety of all citizens is very important. That will be in the forefront of all the events we plan. Gregg and I will be readily available to anyone who wants to tell us what they feel we need to know to govern the State appropriately to meet their needs. Being in the center of the state means we are at most two hours away from anywhere in the state. We can be wherever people are who want to be heard - I think that's the entire state.
MG: Eve Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today, I know members of the party are excited to hear from you as we move closer to our March 13th convention.
EB: My pleasure Mike