CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK
Joel Farley Becomes Fifth Democrat, 12th Candidate in District 7 Races
By PAUL J. PEYTON
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
WESTFIELD — A fifth Democrat has thrown his hat into the ring for the Seventh Congressional seat currently occupied by Republican Bob Franks. There are seven Republicans seeking to replace the fourterm Congressman who is leaving the House of Representatives to run for the U. S. Senate.
Joel Farley 46, of Westfield, an attorney, educator and civil rights advocate, has joined a Democrat field that includes Union County Manager Michael J. Lapolla of Westfield, former Fanwood Mayor Maryanne S. Connelly, H. Brooke Hern of New Providence and Warren Township Committeeman Jeff Golkin.
Republicans include Tom Kean Jr. of Westfield, the son of former Governor Thomas H. Kean; Assemblyman Joel Weingarten (21st District), Green Brook Mayor Pat Walsh, former District 6 contender Mike Ferguson of Warren, former Congressional aide Patrick Morrissey of Westfield, law student Eric Urbano of Scotch Plains and former Woodbridge Council President and Fire Chief Ken Gardner.
Born in Summit and raised in Westfield, Mr. Farley lived in Manhattan from the mid1980s to mid1990s where he had a fulltime law practice. While he split time between Westfield and New York, he did not gain residency in the town until a year ago. He has been active in the choir at the United Methodist Church in Westfield.
The candidate’s platform includes providing a tax credit to teachers for up to 50 percent of their federal taxes, preserving New Jersey’s open spaces and putting a halt to the shipping of New York City garbage into Union County, passing an effective gun control legislation with a requirement that gun owners be licensed, that they register their guns and that trigger locks become mandatory.
The candidate also favors an end to discrimination against homosexuals in the military, the utilization of the federal budget surplus “to strengthen and preserve the promise of Social Security” and to expand Medicare to include coverage of prescription drugs.
The candidate, however, has said education is the “cornerstone” of his campaign. His tax credit for teachers, he told The Leader and The Times, would provide a savings of between $3,000 and $4,000 for New Jersey’s teachers with an average income of $40,000.
The candidate also said he favors a $10,000 a year tax credit per year per child attending college. He said President Bill Clinton’s plan for a college tax deduction “doesn’t have quite
the punch that a tax credit has.” He explained that a tax credit is reduced directly from the individual’s federal income tax while a deduction is based on the individual’s tax base. He said someone in the 20 percent tax base might only see a savings of $1 per every $5 of earned income.
When reached for comment on his campaign last Friday, Mr. Farley told
The Westfield Leader and The Times of Scotch PlainsFanwood that he is different from other Congressional District 7 Democratic contenders in that, “I am really presenting some new and specific ideas that can help.” He said, in his opinion, the other contenders have spoken of “standard issues” without any “substance” behind those platform objectives.
Mr. Farley attended Westfield public schools from kindergarten through the 12th grade, graduating from Westfield High School in 1972 before heading on to Princeton University where he graduated with a degree in economics in 1976 from the
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He received his law degree from the Harvard Law School in 1983.
The candidate served as Massachusetts special district attorney and criminal prosecutor and represented individuals applying for political asylum in the United States. He also represented AIDS activists. Mr. Farley was also a staff investigator for the House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Employment and Housing as well as serving as a U. S. Senate intern.
Mr. Farley said he started out in politics at the age of 18 when he was elected as a Democratic Committeeman from Westfield for the Union County Democratic Committee. He was reelected the following year.
Mr. Farley said he wants to bring his campaign to the voters, noting that party leaders should not be the ones deciding who gets the party nomination to run in the November General Election.
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J. Brooke Hern Officially Launches Drive for District 7 Seat in Congress
NEW PROVIDENCE – After announcing his intention to run for the Democratic nomination for the Seventh Congressional District seat, J. Brooke Hern has made his candidacy official by kickingoff his fundraising efforts and forming a campaign committee.
An attorney in Roseland, Mr. Hern in a press release pledged “to fight for working families and senior citizens, to achieve healthcare reform by taking on the HMO’s and insurance companies, to make prescription drugs available under the Medicare program, and to transform the federal government into a catalyst for revolutionary change in education.”
When contacted Monday by The Westfield Leader and The Times of Scotch PlainsFanwood, Mr. Hern said he feels “very good” about his chances in the field of five Democrats seeking the nomination.
He welcomed Joel Farley of Westfield, an attorney in New York, into the race, noting that a larger field will only help the party.
“More participants is better than less and an open process is better than a closed one,” he told The Leader
and The Times.
Making a middle income tax cut the central issue in his campaign, Mr. Hern said that, “income levels that
make citizens of other states wealthy are really just middleclass wages in New Jersey.”
According to the Hern Campaign Committee, the candidate reported to the Federal Election Commission that through December 31 his exploratory committee had received contributions totaling $20,475. The committee also spent $6,222, thus ending the year with $14,253 cash on hand.
Mr. Hern has named former New Jersey Commerce Commissioner and Assemblywoman Barbara McConnell as his Campaign Treasurer and Brian Quinn, a principal in the American Fundraising Group, as his Fundraising Director. Mr. Quinn most recently served as fundraising director for former State Democratic Chairman Tom Byrne’s campaign for the U. S. Senate.
The committee also includes former Commerce Commissioner George R. Zoffinger, former Banking Commissioner Jeff Connor and former Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner and State Senator Jerry Fitzgerald English.
Mr. Hern told The Leader and The Times that endorsements aside, the people who put their names on a candidate’s campaign team indicate the values, character and ability of the candidate to lead, if elected.
The candidate said he has been running a “grass roots, personal” type of campaign that has included knocking on doors as a means to introduce himself to the voters.
The candidate is a 1998 graduate of the Southern Methodist University School of Law. He was Director of Public Affairs for the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Development from 1991 to 1994. After completing undergraduate studies in political science at American University in Washington, D. C. in 1987, Mr. Hern was an aide to then Congressman and now U. S. Senator, Robert G. Torricelli.
The Seventh District includes parts of Union, Middlesex, Somerset and Essex Counties. In Union County, the district includes Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood and Mountainside.
Cheri Rogowsky for The Westfield Leader and The Times OFFICERS FOR 2000... The Mountainside Republican Club elected its slate of officers for the new year at its meeting on January 26. Pictured, left to right, are: Florence Steigmann, Corresponding Secretary; Bill Lane, Second Vice President; Marilyn Hart, Outgoing Corresponding Secretary; Bill Sanders, President; Rosemary Graziano, Treasurer; Dona Osieja, Outgoing Second Vice President, and Clark Landale, First Vice President. Not pictured is Nancy Landale, Recording Secretary.
Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)