Stephanie Schmid Calls Out Chris Smith’s Failed Leadership and Decisively Wins NJ-04 Debate
The differences between the two candidates could not have been clearer. Schmid calmly and clearly presented her vision for the future of NJ-04 and our country, grounding her arguments in facts and science, demonstrating a thorough understanding of complex policies on a wide-range of issues, and calling out Smith for his failed leadership during a pandemic and economic crisis that has devastated New Jersey. By contrast, Rep. Chris Smith was evasive, defensive, and rambling — refusing to answer most questions and failing to abide by the agreed upon 90 second limit for answers. One would have thought Schmid was the seasoned member of Congress and Smith the bumbling, unprepared challenger. Schmid decisively won the debate. Now we know why Smith avoided responding to our August 25th challenge to three public debates for months and then only agreed to a single debate as late in October as possible, after nearly 150,000 ballots had already been cast.
Throughout the debate, Smith revealed that he has absolutely no healthcare plan at the same time his party is once again attacking the Affordable Care Act in the Supreme Court. He was unable to defend his record of repeatedly voting against the ACA, including a bill that would have strengthened our healthcare in the midst of a global pandemic. Smith also repeatedly praised this administration’s response to COVID-19, words which will be particularly hard for the families of the more than 14,000 New Jerseyans who have lost their lives and the tens of thousands more who are unemployed, sick, and without health insurance to hear. Schmid by contrast, called the federal response “a dereliction of duty.”
“If I’m elected along with Vice President Biden and Senator Harris we will work together to make sure that the people of New Jersey and the people of America are safe and secure. We will enact a comprehensive national contact-tracing program, do everything we can to deploy rapid testing, invest in manufacturing PPE and bringing those supply chains back home. We will have a plan to distribute the vaccine, and most importantly, we will put the pandemic response plan back into place that was handed down from the Bush administration and the Obama administration. I was there, I saw it put into place during the ebola crisis and outbreak in Africa when I was at the State Department. That plan could have done a lot of good but this administration literally tore it up and defunded it. And Congressman Smith is the senior Republican on the subcommittee tasked with global public health and international organizations. I could think of nobody better situated to lead and build bipartisan support for tackling this pandemic both here in New Jersey and globally. And instead, he wrote an op-ed in the Asbury Park Press attacking the World Health Organization,” Schmid said.
On the issue of choice, Smith doubled-down on his extreme agenda, parroting right-wing talking points that are not based on facts or science, but are instead designed to scare and shame people. Schmid responded that “No one is pro-abortion Congressman, we are pro-choice. We believe that no one deserves to make these difficult decisions other than a woman in consultation with anyone she would like in the room – her rabbi, her priest, her imam, her partner. There’s only one person that does not belong in the room and that is you sir, and the federal government.”
Schmid made clear that she is committed to securing affordable healthcare for every American, protecting our environment and combating climate change—which has only worsened over the last 39 years under Smith’s watch—and she will work to immediately repeal the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction cap which will provide tax relief for middle class New Jersey families. “We’re talking about police, fire fighters, and teachers who can’t afford to put food on the table, and so we needed that [tax] relief immediately, and that is why it was included in the HEROES Act. Congressman Smith voted against that in May, and he voted again against it in August. So he can say all he wants about his commitment to repeal, but he’s had the chance to do it twice and failed,” Schmid said.
After 39 years of failed leadership, it is time for change in New Jersey’s Fourth District. This debate showed voters that Smith is living in the past as he constantly discussed votes and bills from the 1980s and ‘90s, demonstrating that he has no plans for moving our country forward out of this pandemic and economic crisis.
Schmid closed by making her case to voters: “We need a leader in NJ-04 who lives in our community, who listens to us and prioritizes our needs above all else. Elect me as your first-ever Congresswoman and I pledge to never lose sight of who I serve—you the people of NJ-04, and what we need. I will work tirelessly for our families and fight for our small businesses every single day. Together, we can build a better future. It would be an honor and a privilege to serve our community and our country again. A vote for Stephanie Schmid for Congress is a vote for a stronger, safer, and more prosperous future for all of us.”