TENAFLY – Josh Gottheimer stood in the front of the room Tuesday afternoon flanked by at least 50 people – some elected officials, but mostly members of the AAPI, or Asian-American and Pacific Islander community.
Officially this event at the Korean Community Center launched AAPI for Josh, a group dedicated to the congressman’s reelection in CD-5.
Gottheimer spoke about diversity in both New Jersey and in the heart of CD-5, Bergen County, where Asians make up about 17 percent of the population.
The congressman stressed his work in Washington to seek practical solutions, highlighting, as he often does, his membership in the Problem Solvers’ Caucus. Gottheimer is co-chair of the group, which is evenly split among Democrats and Republicans. His speech included his support for the infrastructure bill, which passed last year, helping small businesses and efforts to make the state more affordable, quite the perennial concern.
Gottheimer specifically mentioned his opposition to “congestion pricing,” which would impose tolls on New Jersey drivers entering parts of Manhattan.
One of the unfortunate results of the pandemic had been a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes. Gottheimer deplored the occurrence, noting that he’s heard of some Asian-Americans arming themselves with pepper spray when venturing out.
Nothing is beyond politics and that, naturally, includes diversity.
Democrats traditionally have had an advantage in locales where the population is diverse. That’s important in CD-5, where redistricting has moved the district east. Gone are all of Warren and parts of Sussex counties. Instead, the district has added Tenafly and other towns with large minority populations such as Englewood and Palisades Park.
Republicans, though, are not waving the white flag.
In New Jersey and across the country, Republicans are making an effort to increase support from minority groups. Just recently, a state GOP Hispanic group held a campaign kickoff in Hackensack to benefit Frank Pallotta, the GOP candidate in CD-5.
Asked about that today, Gottheimer said the real issue is that Republicans are pushing an extremist agenda.
He said the election is “about people who can get things done for them, not extremism.” That allowed the congressman once again to talk about the “problem solvers” and the desire for practical solutions.
Also on hand was Paul Kim, who is running for mayor of Palisades Park.
He said that it long has been the Democratic party that looked after the interests of immigrants coming to the U.S. Republicans, he said, may be trying to do that now, but they have history against them.
Whether minority group voters know, or care about, that history is something we may find out soon.
As noted, Tenafly, a town of about 15,000, is new to CD-5.
Mayor Mark Zinna was on hand today, and in true mayoral fashion, told Gottheimer: “We’re very happy to have you here.”