Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Clarion Call Has Sounded - Independents Are On The Rise And Here To Stay!

Dear Family, Friends, and Fellow Citizens in the 25th District,

Although my hopes may have been dashed, my resolve has been strengthened and I'm confident this also holds true for you. The entrenched political party machine held fast in this election but the indefatigable spirit of Independents has risen and cannot be suppressed! I greatly thank and congratulate all those who voted for the purpose of enlightenment and change in our state government and am deeply honored by your belief in me as a leader in this movement.

The power for change is in the hands of the people and we must use it. Citizens must become informed, get involved, and commit to action by getting out the vote for viable, independent candidates. By doing so, we can bring about the needed structural reform to our political system that will upend the political party politicians gripping our lives and create a deliberative, reflective democracy that works for the common good and secures the improvement of quality of life for all.

Our mission to break the hold of a two-party system that does not represent the fastest growing block of voters has been dealt a blow, but it cannot be stopped. So, stand proud! Together, we have sounded a rousing clarion call proclaiming Independents are on the rise and here to stay, and together, we will persevere!

I leave you with the words of our nation’s great, pertinacious President, Abraham Lincoln. Although Lincoln lost more elections than he won, he never let his political defeats or his personal travails diminish his belief in himself, his fellow citizens, and the ideals of our great democracy.

This excerpt from a statement by Abraham Lincoln was published in The Sangamo Journal in 1832. Lincoln was seeking his first seat in the Illinois General Assembly. He lost the election, running eighth in a field of 13 candidates.

“Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition. Whether it be true or not, I can say for one that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem. How far I shall succeed in gratifying this ambition, is yet to be developed. I am young and unknown to many of you. I was born and have ever remained in the most humble walks of life. I have no wealthy or popular relations to recommend me. My case is thrown exclusively upon the independent voters of this county, and if elected they will have conferred a favor upon me, for which I shall be unremitting in my labors to compensate. But if the good people in their wisdom shall see fit to keep me in the back ground, I have been too familiar with disappointments to be very much chagrined.” - Abraham Lincoln

With Humble Appreciation,
Maureen Castriotta, your fellow citizen

Republicans dominate 25th District, dash independents' hopes for insurgency


Louis C. Hochman/ By Louis C. Hochman/ The Star-Ledger
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on November 05, 2013 at 10:05 PM, updated November 06, 2013 at 3:58 PM

A highly visible and well-funded campaign wasn't enough earn independent candidate Rebecca Feldman a win over longtime Republican Michael Patrick Carroll in the 25th District Assembly race Tuesday.
"I don't know what she spent her money on," Carroll said while watching television reports of other legislative races from the Famished Frog, where Republicans from throughout the county gathered for election night.

Feldman and fellow independent Jack Curtis had set their sights on Carroll, running separate campaigns — though both were also running in opposition to Republican Anthony M. Bucco.
Neither came close to displacing either Republican candidate — nor did Maureen Castriotta of Roxbury, running against Bucco's father, incumbent Republican state Sen. Anthony R. Bucco.

Feldman made the best showing of the independents in a race that saw no Democratic ticket. But as unofficial results came in Tuesday night, she had only about a quarter as many votes as either Republican.

The Republicans even led her in Morristown, where she has served as a councilwoman.

"When a Republican beats you in a Democratic town, your own town, you know you've got a problem," Carroll said. "Maybe if she'd run as the Democrat she really is, she would have done

Feldman could not be reached for comment immediately Tuesday night.

Feldman, like Castriotta, has eschewed party labels in the race — Feldman said she once registered as a Democrat to run in a primary, but she has only held office as an independent.

She and Curtis, a former Dover alderman, both criticized the libertarian-leaning Carroll as too extreme for New Jersey politics. Feldman's platform also included reform to sick leave payouts, incentivizing "smart growth" projects, finding alternatives to New Jersey's current balance of income, sales and property taxes, developing connections between universities and the private sector and fostering upward mobility for workers."

Curtis, in his campaign materials, said  the state should not give tax breaks and subsidies to large corporations. He said it should push harder to get more federal money invested in New Jersey, said bridges and other infrastructure should be made a high priority and advocated reducing the blood alcohol limit for drivers from .08 percent to .05 percent. He's a supporter of heavier taxes on millionaires and wants a comprehensive plan to stop beach erosion.

Carroll has said he'd like to see school funding formulas in New Jersey changed to distribute state aid more evenly. Currently, aid is given to certain districts deemed in greater need to ensure their students receive education in line with constitutional requirements. A change to a more equitable disbursement, Carroll said, would be a "huge, huge" benefit to 25th District towns.

More generally, he favors a minimalist approach to government, and boasts that he's never voted in favor of a tax increase.

Carroll has also been among the legislature's stronger advocates of gun rights — which put him in opposition to Feldman's advocacy for universal national background checks and a federal assault weapons ban.

Both Buccos have said New Jersey needs to do more to keep businesses in the state, and said more progress needs to be made on the Gov. Chris Christie's "toolkit" —  a package of proposals meant to provide property tax relief.

Castriotta had argued an independent voice would be valuable in the state legislature. She also said she's support a constitutional convention to overhaul New Jersey's tax system.

The 25th District includes a large portion of Morris County and Bernardsville in Somerset County.


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