As part of our coverage of the upcoming New Jersey election, we attempted to contact, usually by e-mail or Facebook, all twenty-four major party New Jersey Congressional candidates and both Senatorial candidates. Those who responded were sent a list of questions, basically the same questions but modified for specific information already available about each of them. Their responses to these "e-mail interviews" are being organized into individual articles and published in the order in which the responses are received, and indexed here with other election coverage.
Janice Kovach is running against incumbent Republican Congressman Leonard Lance in the 7th Congressional District. Her district has favored Republicans for quite a while, so we asked the Democratic candidate what motivated her to run.
I decided to run because of my frustration with Washington's inability to work together--the lack of focus on issues important to my family, my community and my state. I feel that I am no longer represented in Washington by my Congressman--that many issues addressed are not driven by the voters but the special intrests.
Of those issues, we asked what were the most important and what kind of solutions she hoped to bring.
Jobs and the economy I see as the number one priority. NJ is lagging in economic and job growth. As a mayor I speak with residents who are dealing with job loss, foreclosures, and issues that impact them locally. They want someone that will listen and help.
We asked what appeals to her about the Democratic party personally.
I am a democrat because my social values are more closely aligned--but I am also not defined strictly by my party affiliation. I don't feel that I must agree with every principle--I am allowed to develop opinions and can discuss my views without censure.
To the questions of how liberal or conservative she rated herself, and in what ways she agreed and disagreed with her own party, she gave us these thoughts:
I don't measure myself by "liberal" or "conservative" standards and I'm sure that there are many differing opinions as to that measurement. So how do I describe myself? I am fiscally responsible--I understand that we must work within the means that we are provided but I also know that money must be spent to ensure that infrastructure is always sound. I will not spend unnecessarily but I will spend to ensure the health and public safety of my community. But I also have strong social values that are very important to me--such as a woman's right to choose, the need to fund the unemployment extensions, a livable wage, social programs that provide a safety net for our most vulnerable, and common sense gun control (i.e. Universal background checks).
Part of the job of being in Congress is guiding the country for the good of the country, but part of it is representing the interests of New Jersey and of one specific Congressional District. We asked about this balance, and what Kovach sees as the needs on both sides.
Before Congress can accomplish anything for any of our states or constituents they must put aside their rhetoric--until there is an agreement to come together and work together for the good of our country we will continue to see a divided body that focuses not on fixing what is broken but continuing to point out what is broken and who broke it.--I liken it to when my kids break something and when asked who did it both say "not me".--I honestly don't care who broke but I do want to fix it and see this body of elected officials come together.
As far as what does this district and the state need--it is the support and resources for putting our residents back to work and back in their homes--it is the money to fix the crumbling infrastructure, it is affordable healthcare, the tools for training and re-training our unemployed. Support for our small businesses, the care and stewardship of our environment and the education of our children.
Sometimes voter apathy is driven by the perception that all the candidates are the same, so we wondered what Kovach thought most distinguished her from her opponent.
I believe my approach to the work that needs to be done--I have not allowed a party affiliation to define the work that needs to be done as a councilwoman or currently as the Mayor of Clinton. My sole focus has been on getting the right work done in my community--not the politically correct or expedient.
For those who want more information about Kovach, her positions, and her campaign, she says:
They can find me on:
Finally, we gave her the opportunity to say whatever she thought was important enough to add that we had not covered, and she gave us this:
Regardless of your party affiliation or non affiliation--it is important for every registered voter and every eligible individual not registered to register to vote and then to ensure that you vote.
Thank you, Ms. Kovach, for participating in our interviews. We wish you the best in the upcoming election.
We will continue providing coverage of all major party Congressional and Senatorial candidates, with focus articles like this one on those who reply to our invitation. If you would like to see coverage of a candidate outside that list, send a note identifying the candidate and the office and we will attempt to make contact.