Democrats Sherrill and Gottheimer Undertake Traditional Rites of Politics

Sherrill and a constituent

PARAMUS – Josh Gottheimer spent part of his Thursday morning outside a firehouse talking about the millions of dollars he has “clawed back” to New Jersey since entering Congress, money that he said may have found its way to such “moocher states” as Alabama and Mississippi.

Mikie Sherrill, meanwhile, was walking on Main Street in Boonton, dropping in on merchants and talking about federal help for small businesses.

Fellow House members Bonnie Watson Coleman and Frank Pallone have events set for Friday on planned improvements to Route 29 and access to safe drinking water, respectively.

With the House not now in session, it’s time for a traditional rite of politics – visiting your district to highlight what you’re doing. This is very much a bipartisan activity, although in a state where Dems control 10 of the 12 House districts, the four members cited here are Democrats.

Gottheimer long has trumpeted his work to bring federal money back to New Jersey.

He’s on solid ground with that one. It’s no mystery that state taxpayers send much more money to Washington than the state gets back in aid and/or grants.

Gottheimer, who has made trying to rectify that problem a crusade of sorts, was at the firehouse to talk about securing about $363,000 from the feds for portable radios for the department. More broadly, he said that since he joined Congress in 2017, the amount of federal aid coming back to his politically competitive Fifth District has increased by 112 percent.

These events are official business and as such, are non-political. But the reality is that politics can’t be avoided. After all, House members are just about always running.

Gottheimer said the district had been leaving “gobs of money” on the table, observing that, “My predecessor – this wasn’t a priority for him.”

That would have been Scott Garrett, a staunch fiscal conservative.

Gottheimer said his strategy in seeking a variety of federal grants comes down to a rather simple proposition – “If we don’t ask for it, we don’t get it.” Now he’s asking.

As for Sherrill, whose CD-11 district is also competitive, her visit to Morris County was two-fold – to talk about a county-led small business program that uses funds from the American Rescue Plan and her recently-introduced bill to help homeless children.

It was explained at an afternoon press event with housing advocates in Parsippany that the legislation would broaden the definition of homelessness throughout all relevant agencies. This certainly seems a bit wonkish, but the real impact would be to help children who may have temporary lodging, but no permanent home.

In Boonton a few hours earlier for a morning stroll, the congresswoman visited a number of small eateries  – Boonton Coffee Company, Chili Willies and Creations by Sabrina, a bakery. As all elected officials are wont to do, she bought something at every stop, including burritos and a number of decorative cupcakes.

One sobering experience for elected officials venturing out is that average people may not know who they are; it’s even true for members of Congress.

A worker at the bakery said he was unfamiliar with Sherrill and the owners of Chili Willies, a Mexican restaurant, said they were new to American politics, but they wanted to learn. Lesson one was that New Jersey has 12 House members and that Sherrill is one of the 12.

One man who stopped Sherrill on the street was local architect Larry Korinda. who talked about a number of projects he is working on and also about the need to relocate the town post office, which is on Main Street.

Korinda said he’s been talking about the post office with two local officials – state Sen. Anthony M. Bucco and County Commissioner Doug Cabana. Both are Republicans from nearby Boonton Township.

Post offices are federal responsibilities, but you had to like the bipartisan touch.

(Visited 46 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

News From Around the Web

The Political Landscape