Don’t forget that Sussex and Warren counties are in New Jersey. That’s the bipartisan message coming in the last few days from Rep. Josh Gottheimer and Republican state Senator Steven Oroho.
Rather sparsely-populated and remote – at least by New Jersey standards – and very Republican, it’s easy for the powers that be in a Democratic state to overlook the two counties on the state’s northern
and western borders.
Gottheimer, one of the few Democrats to represent parts of the region, fired off a release the other day calling on FEMA to add coronavirus testing sites in both counties. For the record, Warren will open a
testing site in Franklin Township on Wednesday.
But there also are concerns about money.
Cory Booker and Bob Menendez held a press conference last week – a bit extraordinary under the circumstances – trumpeting the award of $82 million in stimulus money to New Jersey counties and towns.
How much of the money is going to Sussex and Warren? None.
That prompted Gottheimer and Oroho, who often cooperate notwithstanding ideological differences, to write the governor asking him to send “discretionary dollars” the state received under the bill
to Sussex and Warren.
Why were Sussex and Warren bypassed in the first place?
It really doesn’t seem to be a sinister plot.
As Oroho and Gottheimer say in a release, neither county qualifies under the standards in place.
The formula used by the feds gives money to counties with more than 500,000 people, cities with more than 50,000 and to “principal cities,” a Census designation Sussex and Warren simply do not meet those guidelines.
So, Oroho and Gottheimer are asking Murphy to use his power to send some of the money New Jersey is getting to Sussex and Warren.
The officials from opposite sides of the aisle put it this way: “These two counties remain in the so-called ‘hot’ region of the outbreak in our state and need this critical funding to get through the challenging next weeks and months.”