A New Jersey For People
In New Jersey, the strength and vitality of our communities are grounded in the everyday efforts of our healthcare workers, first responders, educators, labor unions, and countless others who dedicate their lives to serving and enriching our lives. But 'Supporting Our People' isn't just about recognizing those professionals; it's about recognizing you. It's about every resident, every family, every individual who calls New Jersey home. For Gabe, it's a commitment to tangible policies that uplift and fortify not only those who make our state thrive but every single person who calls New Jersey home.
Ranked Choice Voting, Automatic Voter Registration
Empowering voters is the backbone of representative democracy and Gabe is committed to policy that ensures New Jersey is a state where the voice of its people guides its destiny, rather than entrenched interests or political insiders. As we've seen, maintaining the status quo can often silence the many for the benefit of the few. We need to chart a new course, bolstered by reforms that amplify the collective voice of our people.
Ranked choice voting is a practical and necessary solution. By allowing voters to rank candidates by preference, we can ensure that our elected representatives genuinely resonate with a majority of their constituents. This method not only encourages greater voter participation but also motivates candidates to engage with a wider range of voters, fostering inclusive discourse.
Introducing automatic voter registration is another straightforward, common-sense move that New Jersey needs. By automatically registering eligible New Jerseyans when they engage with government agencies, we're eliminating needless bureaucracy and opening the doors of democracy wider than ever before. It's about ensuring that every voice has the opportunity to be heard, without the impediments of outdated systems.
And the structure of our ballots should be clear, fair, and intuitive. The "county line" practice has long clouded our electoral process, often leading to confusion and unintentional bias. By reforming this system, we can provide New Jersey voters with a straightforward and honest voting experience, ensuring their choices are made with confidence.
Moreover, the introduction of term limits is a declaration of our commitment to constant evolution and growth. While we value the dedication of our long-serving representatives, we also recognize the importance of fresh perspectives and ideas and no one should hold an office for life. Term limits promote new voices contributing to our future.
In the same spirit as our drive for government transparency and the fight against corruption, our dedication to voter empowerment is immovable. Through initiatives like ranked choice voting, automatic voter registration, ballot structure reform, and the introduction of term limits, we will take actionable steps to reshape New Jersey's political landscape. This is our pledge: to build a state where every vote carries weight, every voice is heard, and the promise of democracy is accessible to all.
Creating Governemnt Transparency
A commitment to government transparency is at the core of ensuring that our leaders work for the betterment of all rather than a handful of contributors or special interests with ulterior motives. Unfortunately, legalized corruption has become all too common, with contributors often having business with municipal and other candidates. These legal contributions have the practical effect of influencing legislation and awarding government contracts in ways that can be contrary to public interest, adding significant costs to taxpayers.
To combat this, the support for campaign finance reform, stricter lobbying laws, and initiatives to track government spending must be paired with actionable steps that promote real accountability and public trust. This includes supporting legislation that would compel municipalities to post budgets on municipal websites in searchable formats and requiring that budget hearings must take place well after business hours to afford residents the opportunity to attend. Furthermore, itemized capital improvements in excess of $10,000 must be required, bringing greater transparency to public spending.
Additionally, efforts will be made to meet with constitutional scholars to draft legislation that aligns with Supreme Court mandates, precluding large contributors from participating in government contract bidding. These measures are not only about upholding ethical principles; they are about creating a system that benefits all of us, ensuring that public resources are utilized for the public good and not for the interests of a privileged few. This comprehensive approach to transparency stands as a bulwark against corruption, can lower taxes and build a government that truly serves the people of New Jersey.
Supporting Healthcare Workers in New Jersey
The alarming rate at which frontline healthcare workers are leaving their professions due to untenable working conditions threatens to bring our healthcare system to the brink of collapse. Driven largely by chronic understaffing, these conditions have led to unbearable levels of stress and burnout among our essential medical personnel. In turn, patient care and safety are compromised, and the entire healthcare system is in a state of crisis. The problem of short-staffing is neither new nor unrecognized, but it has now reached a critical point that cannot be ignored. Every healthcare worker and patient in New Jersey is feeling the pain of this systemic failure, even as healthcare executives continue to profit. Gabe is committed to taking decisive action, addressing the root causes of this crisis, and ensuring that our healthcare workers have the support, staffing levels, and resources they need to provide safe, quality care for every resident of our state. This means standing with our healthcare workers and supporting existing bills such as NJ S304 that prioritize their well-being and the well-being of those they serve. If the pandemic taught us anything in New Jersey, it’s that healthcare workers are indispensable to our communities.
Furthermore, Gabe firmly supports the right of healthcare workers to collectively bargain. This right establishes an equal platform for workers to negotiate with management, ensuring essential protections, fair pay, and comprehensive benefits. Collective bargaining is not just about empowering healthcare workers; it is about enhancing their ability to serve patients effectively and fostering a healthcare system that supports both workers and patients.
Addressing these issues about healthcare workers' needs isn't just about improving conditions for those in the medical field; it's about enhancing the quality of care and safety for everyone who lives in or visits New Jersey.
Supporting First Responders
In New Jersey, our public workers are the bedrock of our communities. They rush into danger, save lives, and maintain the peace, often under immense pressure and at great personal risk. These dedicated individuals include our firemen, police officers, public EMTs, and volunteers, all of whom deserve unwavering support and acknowledgment.
Gabe’s approach to supporting these heroes is diverse, reflecting the complex nature of their roles and the varied challenges they face. We recognize that it's not enough to merely offer praise; we must provide tangible resources, effective training, and compassionate care. This means establishing regular funding, investing in health and wellness, fostering community engagement, and promoting professional development. By doing so, we ensure that our first responders are not only equipped to serve but are also appreciated, protected, and integrated into the fabric of our communities.
Protecting Pension Funds: Ensuring that state pension funds are protected from being borrowed or misappropriated will secure the financial future of our dedicated law enforcement personnel.
New Jersey Arrive Program: Making the program permanent will empower law enforcement with alternatives to address mental health crises. By involving social workers and mental health experts in responding to non-criminal emergencies, we can reduce the burden on police officers, ensuring that individuals receive appropriate services and resources.
Community Policing Initiatives: Advocating for increased funding for initiatives like the Policeman's Athletic League can enhance community engagement and trust. This promotes positive interactions between law enforcement and residents, fostering relationships that build mutual respect and understanding.
Continuous Training and Education: Investing in ongoing training in areas like community engagement, mental health intervention, and de-escalation techniques aligns law enforcement practices with community needs and values.
Enhancing Wellness and Mental Health Support: Providing confidential counseling, peer support, and stress management training ensures that our officers have the tools they need to remain resilient and effective in their roles.
Regular Funding for Volunteer Fire Companies: Volunteer fire companies are integral to our emergency response network, often being the first on the scene in many rural and suburban areas. Ensuring that these essential organizations receive regular, consistent funding will prevent them from having to rely on uncertain grants or temporary funding sources. Such stable financing will enable them to maintain their equipment, train their members, and respond promptly when called upon, enhancing the overall safety of our communities.
Health and Wellness Support: The physical and emotional demands of firefighting require comprehensive health and wellness support. We must prioritize programs that include regular medical check-ups, mental health resources, and targeted fitness training. Such support recognizes the unique challenges firefighters face and ensures that they are physically and mentally prepared to carry out their life-saving work. This investment in their well-being is not only beneficial for the firefighters themselves but ensures that our communities are served by healthy, focused, and dedicated professionals.
Community Engagement Initiatives: Strengthening the relationship between fire departments and the communities they serve is vital for mutual trust and collaboration. By increasing funding for community policing projects, we can expand initiatives like open houses, school visits, and public fire safety education. These programs foster a sense of unity and cooperation and make our neighborhoods safer and more resilient. They help officers feel part of the community and provide citizens with valuable insights into fire safety and prevention.
Note: Gabe is currently meeting with firemen and fire companies across the state to discover firsthand what challenges exist and how the state can provide solutions. We are committed to hearing their voices and working together to make New Jersey a safer place for all. Please check back for updates on these important conversations and the innovative solutions that arise from them.
Stable Funding for Volunteer EMT Organizations: Just like volunteer fire companies, volunteer EMT organizations play a crucial role in responding to emergencies. We must ensure they receive regular, dependable funding rather than having to seek temporary grants or other unreliable sources. Such stability will enable them to maintain necessary equipment, offer quality training, and provide timely life-saving services. This will enhance their readiness to respond, supporting both the volunteers and the communities they serve.
Professional Development and Training: The rapidly evolving field of emergency medical services requires continuous professional development and training. By investing in ongoing education, we can ensure that all EMTs, whether public or volunteer, have access to the latest medical practices, technologies, and protocols. This ensures the best possible patient care, enhances the professional fulfillment of EMTs, and maintains a high standard of medical response across the state.
Health and Well-being Support: The demanding nature of EMT work necessitates robust health and well-being support, including mental health resources. Providing comprehensive health care packages, stress management programs, and counseling services recognizes the unique challenges faced by EMTs. Supporting their well-being leads to a more effective, focused, and compassionate emergency medical workforce, benefiting everyone in New Jersey.
Community Integration and Awareness Programs: Fostering strong connections between EMTs and the communities they serve can lead to improved public awareness and collaboration. Initiatives like community workshops on basic life-saving techniques, public health campaigns, and regular engagement with local communities can build trust and mutual respect. These programs educate the public and enable EMTs to become more integrated within their communities, creating a stronger, more responsive emergency medical system. They can also have the effect of encouraging others to volunteer thus improving service delivery.
Supporting our public and volunteer EMTs goes beyond ensuring prompt and professional medical care; it also builds confidence within our communities. Because by bolstering our emergency medical services, we can remove the fear and hesitation that some New Jersey residents might feel when calling an ambulance. No one should ever have to worry about receiving a surprise bill they can't afford when they are in dire need of medical assistance.
Supporting Labor Unions
Labor unions are vital to the health and well-being of New Jersey's working class. They are the most effective means to ensure fair wages and represent the collective strength, aspirations, and rights of workers across New Jersey. Gabe understands the importance of labor unions in shaping fair workplaces and a healthy economy and is committed to policies that empower and support them.
Fair Wages and Benefits: Labor unions fight for fair compensation and essential benefits. Gabe will stand with them in these efforts in Trenton and on the picket lines, advocating for policies that ensure workers receive wages and benefits that reflect their skills, effort, and the cost of living in our state. He recognizes that unions are the best vehicle for workers to achieve these goals, and he will work to strengthen their ability to negotiate on behalf of their members.
The Right to Organize and Collectively Bargain: Gabe will vigorously defend the rights of workers to organize, form unions, and engage in collective bargaining. He recognizes that these rights are fundamental to democracy and a just society, and he will work to strengthen laws that protect them.
Safe Working Conditions: Union advocacy plays a crucial role in maintaining safe workplaces. Gabe will support unions in this vital work, ensuring that safety regulations are robust, enforced, and that workers have a voice in shaping safety policies.
Inclusive Dialogue with Union Leaders: Effective policy-making requires the insights and collaboration of those on the front lines. Gabe will promote open dialogues with union leaders, recognizing their unique perspective and expertise in crafting laws that genuinely support workers.
Legislation to Prevent Union Busting: The erosion of union rights undermines workers and harms our communities. Even though laws are in place making it illegal to prevent union formation, these are often circumvented. Gabe will oppose any efforts to weaken unions through so-called "right to work" laws or other means designed to dilute the power of collective bargaining. He will also work to fortify legislation that effectively prevents union-busting tactics and penalizes those that try to use them.
By standing with labor unions, Gabe hopes to create a New Jersey where the rights of workers are respected, where their voices are heard, and where their well-being is a shared priority. This support for labor is not just about economic policy; it's about our values, our community, and the kind of state we want to build. In supporting labor, we reinforce a vision of New Jersey that honors work, promotes fairness, and recognizes the dignity of every person who contributes to our great state.
In a free society, government does not interfere with personal and private medical decisions, including those concerning reproductive rights. The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson, tragically undermines this principle, abandoning nearly 50 years of precedent and taking away the constitutional right to reproductive freedom. This decision, paved the way for states to ban a woman's right to choose, causing untold harm to human rights and individual autonomy. Many have already done so leading to tragic cases where children who were raped are forced to carry to term and women are forced to deliver nonviable pregnancies, suffering untold emotional trauma.
In light of this devastating ruling, it's more crucial than ever that New Jersey takes a strong stand to protect reproductive rights. Therefore, I support the following measures:
Enshrining Reproductive Rights in the NJ Constitution: By aligning our state constitution with the principles of Roe v. Wade, we can ensure that the right to choose is a guaranteed protection within New Jersey. This is vital to safeguarding reproductive freedom from any future federal erosion and establishing the state as a haven for individual freedom and reproductive rights.
Legislating Insurance Coverage for Reproductive Care: Ensuring that insurance companies cover abortions and reproductive health services is about justice and accessibility. No one should be denied the right to choose based on financial barriers or their insurance status. By mandating coverage, we can create a more equitable healthcare system where everyone, regardless of economic status, has access to necessary reproductive care.
Recognizing the Human Right to Choose: The Court's decision, which may force people to travel extensively or carry pregnancies against their will, represents a grave violation of human rights. As such, I am committed to fighting any attempt to limit these rights within New Jersey.
In the pursuit of a stronger and more equitable education system in New Jersey, the focus must remain on core principles that empower every student, educator, and community member. Not only is education an obligation to our young people, but it is also among the few paths forward to an affordable New Jersey where graduates are empowered to launch successful careers. The challenges are many, ranging from the physical safety of our schools to the fairness and accessibility of higher education. The following principles outline a commitment to a comprehensive approach, one that seeks collaboration, transparency, and innovation. Through a dedicated, community-centered effort, the goal is to foster an education system where opportunities are abundant, standards are high, and the potential of every individual is fully realized.,
Healthy & Safe Schools:
Working with teachers, parents, students, mental health professionals, and community leaders, the focus will be on creating safe, healthy, and nurturing learning environments. This includes improving school infrastructure, enhancing mental health support for students, advocating for comprehensive gun safety legislation, implementing trauma-informed programs, and otherwise ensuring schools are places of growth and understanding.
All public schools, including charter schools, should be held to the same standards of transparency and accountability. Amending the Charter School law to require detailed budget, financing, and performance reporting, as well as mandating local community representation in charter school boards, will foster an educational system that is fiscally responsible, inclusive and responsive.
High Stakes Testing:
The prevailing reliance on Chris Christie era high stakes standardized testing has imposed constraints on educators that hinder their ability to teach effectively. These tests are not only inadequate in assessing teachers but also serve as an impetus for many well-qualified teachers to leave the profession. An approach that acknowledges standardized tests as one aspect of a multifaceted evaluation system is needed. In working with education stakeholders, efforts will be made to advance legislation that revises both student assessments and educator evaluations, fostering a more equitable and comprehensive framework. This includes peer reviews, classroom observations, and student feedback, all aiming to build a nuanced approach to assessment. Education must focus on holistic growth and not just on high test scores. Collaborative efforts with organizations like NJEA will help shape this more balanced, supportive, and effective approach to measuring success.
Addressing Staffing Shortages:
Addressing the staffing shortages in our schools is not only essential for an effective education system but a matter of fiscal responsibility. Continuing to invest in inadequate or failing systems amounts to a waste of valuable resources. To tackle this issue, incentives such as loan forgiveness and competitive salaries must be promoted, along with fostering diverse and inclusive work environments, and providing clear, structured career ladders for Education Support Professionals (ESPs). Such an approach ensures that education remains an attractive and fulfilling profession, reflecting a commitment to not only our students but also to the judicious use of taxpayer funds. By investing wisely in our educators, we lay the groundwork for a thriving and affordable educational system in New Jersey.
Upholding our American Values and Fighting Extremism
In New Jersey, our diversity is our strength, and Gabe's vision is grounded in the values that unify us. As a Latino and a product of immigrants, many of these values are not just ideals but his lived experience. He stands firm against extremism, racism, and discrimination, and is committed to upholding the freedom to be who you want to be, love who you want to love, and practice whatever religion or no religion at all without government interference. While the below principles don't all outline specific policies, they represent the core values that will guide every piece of legislation that Gabe proposes and every action that he takes in service of New Jersey residents. He believes in building a New Jersey where everyone can live openly and without fear.
Fighting Political Extremism:
Gabe's vision is deeply rooted in his experiences as a Latino millennial shaped by immigrant and New Jersey values. Recognizing recent regressions, from extremist threats against marginalized communities to growing polarizations, Gabe seeks to actively counter political extremism by advocating for inclusive policies, championing community dialogues, and leading campaigns against hate-driven narratives. With a mission to both celebrate diversity and confront divisive forces head-on, Gabe commits to ensuring New Jersey remains a beacon of unity, acceptance, and mutual respect for all.
Anti-Semitism in New Jersey is a rising concern and we are now third in the nation for antisemitic hate crimes. The Anti-Defamation League's 2022 report reveals a 10% increase in antisemitic incidents in the state, contributing to a worrying national trend. This includes increases in vandalism, assaults (some life-threatening), and concerning spikes in incidents at Jewish institutions and non-Jewish K-12 schools.
These figures are not isolated statistics but symbols of a growing threat to democracy, diversity, and human dignity. The numbers highlight the disturbing reality of targeted attacks against Jewish residents and the pervasive use of Nazi symbols.
The rise of antisemitism is a concern for all of us, reflecting a deeply unsettling trend in our society. In New Jersey, we must reaffirm our commitment to embracing diversity and turn the tide against this pattern, ensuring that New Jersey is a place where all can live without fear of hate or prejudice.
Protecting LGBTQIA+ Community
Gabe, as a millennial, grew up in a time where inclusion was becoming more the norm, and it appeared that society was moving in a direction where everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, could feel accepted and safe. This progressive movement resonated with Gabe and many of his generation, as they saw barriers breaking down and communities growing closer together.
Unfortunately, recent times have seen a disheartening regression. The once-promising progress toward acceptance has been overshadowed by a resurgence of intolerance and hate. Some extremist groups are even making horrifying calls to "exterminate" trans Americans. This chilling rhetoric has rekindled fear within the LGBTQIA+ community, making many feel unsafe and marginalized once again.
Gabe believes in the inherent dignity and worth of every individual, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The current state of affairs is a stark reminder of why protection and support for the LGBTQIA+ community must remain a priority. Gabe commits to being a voice for those who feel silenced and an advocate for policies that promote fairness, equality, and respect for all.
Separation of Church and State
The separation of church and state is a foundational principle of American governance, going back to the Founding Fathers and even earlier. Thomas Jefferson famously wrote in a letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802, "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."
This concept is not only a cornerstone of American freedom, but it's also one that resonates with Gabe personally. Though a person of deep faith, having served as a youth pastor and Christian missionary in his past, Gabe steadfastly stands by the separation of church and state. He recognizes that permitting religion to enter public government inevitably favors one religion over another and can lead those who don't share that faith or any faith at all to feel ostracized.
For Gabe, his faith guides his personal life, but he embraces that in the public arena, respect for all beliefs is paramount. He understands that America's strength lies in its diversity, including religious diversity, and that the government must be a neutral arbiter that protects the freedom of all citizens to believe as they choose.
In a nation founded on the principles of freedom and equality, Gabe is committed to upholding the delicate balance that allows faith to flourish freely without imposing it on others. This balance ensures that all Americans, regardless of their religious convictions, can live in a society that respects and values their unique perspectives and rights.
The principles and policies outlined above are not an exhaustive list but a reflection of Gabe's deep-rooted commitment to the people of New Jersey, including you. He recognizes that leadership requires adaptability, empathy, and an unwavering dedication to those he serves. By embracing these values, Gabe pledges to lead with integrity, innovation, and an inclusive vision for our state's future. His leadership will be guided by these and many other principles that align with the unique needs and aspirations of our diverse and resilient community. Together, we will build a New Jersey that stands as a beacon of hope, justice, and opportunity for all, where every person is seen, heard, and valued.
To learn more about other core issues, please explore the links below.