New Jersey Citizen Action Endorses 2019 Assembly Candidates

Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-28).

Highland Park — New Jersey Citizen Action (NJCA) today endorses 17 incumbent state Assembly members in the 2019 Assembly race for their consistent support of, or leadership on, progressive policy issues that improve the lives of people we fight for – families, women, workers and consumers. NJCA also endorses six non-incumbent candidates who have made strong commitments to social, racial and economic justice for low and moderate income New Jerseyansand are challenging sitting legislators with weak voting records.

Our progressive priorities include paid time to care for working families, consumer financial protection, increasing access to affordable, quality health care for all, equal pay, addressing the student loan debt crisis, tax fairness and government that works for everyone, not just for corporate interests, the wealthy and the politically connected.

“We want to congratulate and thank these Assembly members for steadfastly championing policies and legislation that make life better for low and moderate income New Jerseyans,” said Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, Executive Director of New Jersey Citizen Action. “All those endorsed demonstrated the strongest commitment to our progressive policies. Some incumbents supported our stance on all of the nine progressive policy issues NJCA prioritized, including reform of the state’s corporate subsidy programs run by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. Others played key roles in landmark laws giving workers and consumers new rights and protections. None of the progressive policies NJCA supported prevailed without opposition from special interests who hold major influence over the New Jersey Legislature.”


New Jersey Citizen Action 2019 Assembly Endorsements


Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (LD -20)

Assemblyman John McKeon (LD-27)

Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (LD-27)

Assemblyman Gary Schaer (LD-36)

Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker (LD-28)

Assemblywoman Brittany Timberlake (LD-34)

Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (LD-28)

Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (LD-16)

Assemblyman Dan Benson (LD-14)

Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (LD-15)

Assemblywoman Linda Carter (LD-22)

Assemblywoman James Kennedy (LD-22)

Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (LD-33)

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (LD-38)

Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (LD-35)

Assemblywoman Joann Downey (LD-11)

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (LD-19)


NJCA endorses these 6 non-incumbent candidates on the strength of their answers to the NJCA 2019 Candidate Questionnaire.


Democratic candidate Wayne Lewis (LD-9)

Democratic candidate Christine Clarke (LD-26)

Democratic candidate Laura Fortgang (LD-26)

Democratic candidate Dan Smith (LD-24)

Democratic candidate Allison Friedman (LD-13)

Democratic candidate Denise King (LD-23)


NJCA’s endorsements were awarded with the following considerations:

  1.     An incumbent Assembly member’s voting record on NJCA’s nine priority policy issues. NJCA’s board also took into account any outstanding leadership that a legislator provided to advance any of the organization’s nine priority issues, or their role in advancing legislation opposed by NJCA.
  1.     The answers provided on the 2019 NJCA Candidate Questionnaire.Only legislators who provided extraordinary leadership on one of nine priority issues, or who had a perfect voting record were considered without a returned questionnaire. Legislators with a weak voting record were not sent a questionnaire and not invited to seek an endorsement.
  1.     An Assembly candidate’s position on the need to reform the state’s EDA corporate tax subsidy programs weighed heavily in NJCA’s endorsement decisions. Nearly all the endorsed Assembly candidates either voted against A5343/S3901, the bill extending the EDA programs without meaningful reforms, or indicated support for all five reforms proposed  in their returned NJCA questionnaire.

“Reforming our corporate tax subsidy programs is critical to both revitalizing  New Jerseys’ fiscal health and ensuring a prosperous future for our working and middle class families,” said Dena Mottola-Jaborska, Associate Director of New Jersey Citizen Action. “We can no longer afford to put corporate interests above the need to solve our pension crisis, replenish our state’s depleted rainy day fund. and ensure all New Jersey residents have access to healthcare, housing, education and transportation.”

Endorsement decisions for non-incumbents  were based only the strength of candidates’ answers to the questionnaire. All endorsed challengers supported the five EDA reforms and the majority of positions covered in the questionnaire.

NJCA will continue to monitor the voting record of legislators on priority issues for our next round of endorsements in 2021, this time for the Senate and Assembly races. Some of the issues we are tracking include drivers licenses for immigrants, expungement of marijuana offenses, health care coverage for kids, budget and tax policy, for-profit college accountability and student debt relief, redistricting, voting rights, fair work week, which were all covered in the 2019 questionnaire evaluated for today’s endorsement.

New Jersey Citizen Action’s endorsements will include outreach and e-mails to the media, our partner organizations, allies, affiliates and 20,000 members throughout New Jersey.


NJCA’s Nine Progressive Priority Issues 2018-19

A5343 /S3901 (Sen Ruiz / Asw Pintor Marin) – extends the Economic Development Authority’s corporate tax subsidy programs without meaningful reforms needed to overhaul these flawed and failing programs.

S1149/A455 (Sen Cunningham /Asm Schaer) – regulates student loan servicing companies operating in New Jersey and establishes a Student Loan Ombudsman, increasing protections for student loan borrowers.

S104 /A 1 (Sen Weinberg /Asw Lampitt) – establishes the Diane Allen Equal Pay Act, which strengthens tools for women, people of color and other protected classes to pursue wage discrimination cases and win 6 years of back pay, as well as treble damages for unequal pay.

A5499 /S49 (Sen Pou /Asm Conaway) – establishes a New Jersey-based Affordable Care Act healthcare marketplace exchange with the purpose of increasing access to quality, affordable healthcare for all New Jerseyans.

S15 / A15  (Sen President Sweeney /Asm Coughlin) – increases  New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024.

S485/A2039 (Sen Vitale /Asm Coughlin) – establishes the Out of Network Consumer Protection Act, protecting healthcare consumers from surprise medical bills.

S2171 /A1827 (Sen Weinberg / Asw Lampitt) – establishes the New Jersey Earned Sick and Safe Days Act, which entitles most New Jersey workers to earn 40 hours of earned sick and safe time they can use for both themselves and chosen family.

S2528 /A3975 (Sen Sweeney/Asw Quijano) – expands and improves New Jersey’s paid family leave and temporary disability program, making it more affordable and accessible to more workers.

S3516/A1094 (Sen Gill /Asw Downey) – prohibits employers from asking or considering salary history when hiring or deciding on salary for new hires.

NJCitizenAction 2019 Assembly Candidate Questionnaire
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