LD26 Flashpoint: Webber’s Issues-Centered Shot at Political Rebirth

Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-26)

MOUNTAIN LAKES – A Republican official in Morris County observed Tuesday night that the Grand Old Party is practically “extinct” in New Jersey.

That’s an exaggeration, but the point is well-taken. Democrats control all levers of power in New Jersey and are now encroaching upon the Republicans’ traditional suburban terrain.

The proverbial silver lining in all this is that Republicans running for the Assembly this year can legitimately talk about the pitfalls of one-party domination. Democracy, after all, needs a strong opposition voice.

One such Republican seeking reelection to the Assembly this year in the 26th District is Jay Webber, who presided over a fundraiser that prompted the aforementioned comment on the party’s dismal status.

Webber, though, is upbeat. He said he gets a good feeling from voters when he goes door-to-door in a Morris-centered district that also includes parts of Passaic and Essex counties.

What’s the biggest issue?

“Property taxes are first, second and third,” Webber said.

Of course. Property taxes have been the biggest issue in New Jersey for years. Webber’s take is that the Murphy administration is not even talking about the issue.

In truth, both parties have been reluctant to truly look for ways to reform property taxes. One obvious reason why property taxes are so high in New Jersey is that the state has too much local government – too many small towns and too many small school districts.

Webber said he supports shared services among towns, but not “forced consolidation.”

And he also contends that if the state allocated school funding more equitably, property taxes in the district could be reduced. This is a common Republican argument, which, naturally, goes no where in a Legislature run by Democrats.

Webber and the district’s other Assembly member, Republican BettyLou DeCroce, are being challenged by Democrats Laura Fortgang and Christine Clarke. Webber says the Dems are far too left wing for a district the GOP won rather easily in 2017. That too is a typical GOP talking point.

Yet, one of those at the Tuesday event who definitely agrees is Mark Dunec, who ran for Congress in the 11th District in 2014  as a Democrat. Dunec caused a stir a year ago when he endorsed Webber for Congress instead of then-Democratic candidate and now Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill.

Why does he like Webber?

“I’ll give you one reason,” Dunec said. “Integrity.”  He then gave a second reason, “Sincerity.”

All that is well and good, but Dunec lives outside the district in Livingston.

As for those living in the district, an open question for both parties is how many people are going to vote in an election where the state Assembly is at the top of the ticket. Or more bluntly, do people care?”

“You have to make them care, these (state) issues are important,” Webber said.

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One response to “LD26 Flashpoint: Webber’s Issues-Centered Shot at Political Rebirth”

  1. Yes these issues ARE important: Equal Pay for Women- Jay Voted NO, Planned Parenthood Funding- Jay & BettyLou Voted NO, Both also co-sponsored a Personhood Bill much like those that passed in GA, AL, MS that criminalize abortion and seek to charge women and doctors criminally, Common Sense Gun Reform— Jay & BettyLou Voted NO, Environmental & Green Energy Legislation- Jay & BettyLou Voted NO, Jay specifically has Voted NO on funding public schools and construction but Yes on shifting funding to charter schools, also as far as Taxes go Jay supports the roll back of the SALT exemption hurting middle class families all over his district—Jay & BettyLou have “A” ratings from the NRA, 0 from the ACKU, 0 from Planned Parenthood, and their Environmental scorecards from League of Conservation Voters- Jay: 29%, BettyLou: 24% and from Clean Water Action: Jay: 13%, BettyLou: 4%

    The extremists are the two that currently sit in the seats, who think they represent the Koch Bros (Jay is endorsed by Americans For Prosperity a Koch Bros .org with a 100% rating and Betty Lou has a 56%) not the constituents in their district.

    Christine Clarke and Laura Fortgang seek to represent all constituents- they support gun reform, environmentally friendly legislation and capitalizing on the Green energy boom to bring jobs to NJ, a women’s right to choose, believe Healthcare is a right and should be affordable to all, funding of public schools, Equal rights and Equal pay for all. We need to elect representatives that vote our values and show up (Betty Lou has missed or abstained from many, many important votes this term)— Christine Clarke and Laura Fortgang are those candidates.

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