Malinowski Tells Commuters Kean has no Budget Plan

SUMMIT – The sun was just coming up when Tom Malinowski climbed the train station stairs early Thursday morning to meet with at times sleepy commuters.

He had an obvious conversation starter.

People, naturally,  “want the trains to run on time,” he said, adding that the massive infrastructure bill Congress passed earlier this year will help make that happen. It includes money for the long-sought Gateway Tunnel, a new rail passage under the Hudson.

Dropping by train stations is a traditional rite of campaigning, although it may seem less vital in a much more technological universe. Still, the Summit station was a pretty busy place this morning.

It also has been a good place for Malinowski, who won the town by around 2,400 votes both times he has run. Now that his 7th District has become more Republican, you figure he needs to duplicate that winning margin – and then some – to survive.

He got mostly encouragement today.

One commuter said she likes the fact that Malinowski looks at “all aspects” of an issue before commenting.

Another pledged support after saying, “I recognize your face,” as the congressman made his way along the platform. That’s not surprising; Malinowski’s face is a pretty constant presence on TV these days, showing up in ads for both him and his opponent, Tom Kean Jr.

With one voter, Malinowski tried to draw a contrast.

“The guy I’m running against, we ask what you want to do about inflation and he says ‘cut spending.’ But where?”

When Malinowski pressed Kean on that issue during two debates this campaign season, the Republican was not forthcoming. But he has faulted the incumbent for backing a COVID relief bill that Kean says fueled inflation.

The Kean campaign has not responded to a number of requests dating back to August to see their candidate on the trail.

As is to be expected, not all commuters Malinowski confronted were enthusiastic supporters. Some didn’t take the literature his campaign team was handing out.

One young woman admitted not knowing that much about him, but promised to read his material on the train.

To her, Malinowski said that the election is about a lot of things, including the “right to choose” and “gun safety.”

But he said it’s also about something else, the basic, democratic idea of accepting election results.

Telling one commuter that he knows people want trains that run in time, he added:

“They also don’t want crazy people in Washington D.C. that are going to burn our democracy down.”

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