As ILNH hits its stride as an activist organization, supporting candidates that align with our values is critical to shaping the future of our communities and our nation. As members and individuals, we work hard to get out the vote, to fight injustices and drive change where change is needed. We work to preserve and expand civil rights, affordable healthcare, environmental stewardship, quality education, economic equality, public safety and more. We demand that those who represent us in any and all government offices understand that it the moral mission of government to care for the people.
As part of this, ILNH Candidate Endorsements serve multiple purposes: Engaging members in a process that relies on their personal values to evaluate candidates; providing guidance to membership and making a statement to our ILNH community and beyond; and encouraging government officials to recognize of the power and voice of ILNH on legislative issues.
We had a total of 15 candidates nominated from PA and NJ. The final selection methodology was based on a threshold of 75% affirmatives for a candidate out of the total votes.
A public statement of ILNH endorsements will be issued Wednesday, September 12, with some of the candidates and/or their representatives coming to our Community Gathering.
Thank you to all who nominated and voted in this process. We’ve learned much, and are thrilled to share with our readers the list of endorsed candidates that will be publicly announced on Wednesday, September 12. Come meet some at our Community Gathering on Sunday!
Robert Melendez for U.S. Senate for New Jersey
“For anyone who has struggled with a chronic condition like high blood pressure or depression, the ability to afford your medication is not just a matter of health. It’s a matter of wealth. It’s about being able to support your family, do your job, succeed in school, and achieve your dreams. It’s clear—especially after the Trump corporate tax cuts—that drug companies have the financial means to lower costs, but that doesn’t mean they will necessarily do the right thing. That’s why we need to make sure our laws support healthy competition in the pharmaceutical marketplace.”
Robert Menendez is the incumbent running for Senator from NJ, an office he has held since 2006. He serves on the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Finance and Foreign Relations committees of the U.S. Senate.
Senator Menendez’s key platforms include:
- -Economic equality with a focus on increasing economic growth and wages
- -Providing access to quality, affordable healthcare and increasing funding for healthcare research
- -Reforming Wall Street and protecting consumers
- -Combating climate change and protecting the NJ shore
- -Fixing the broken immigration system
He is recognized as a passionate advocate and an effective legislator, using his institutional knowledge to build bipartisan support for legislative initiatives that break gridlock and make a difference in the lives of the people he represents.
Tom Malinowski for U.S. House of Representatives, NJ CD 7
“My life as an immigrant to America and an advocate for our values around the world has taught me that democracy is not a spectator sport -- the norms and values we hold dear are fragile and must constantly be defended.”
Tom Malinowski served on President Clinton’s National Security Council working to end some of the 20th Century’s bloodiest humanitarian crises. As the chief advocate for Human Rights Watch, he led a bipartisan effort to end the Bush Administration’s use of torture. Most recently, as an Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor under President Obama, he helped lead the global fight to defend the human rights of women and LGBTQ people, to protect workers in our trade agreements, to safeguard our privacy on the internet, to root out corruption, and to stand up to dictators like Putin and Kim Jong-Un.
Tom is focused on a number of issues, not the least of which is eliminating the culture of corruption in government that threatens our Democracy. He advocates for:
- -Affordable healthcare for all
- -15/hour minimum wage and equal wage protection
- -Paid family leave
- -Environmental protection and sustainability, supporting the Paris Climate Change Agreement and opposing the PennEast Pipeline and policies that subsidize fossil fuel industries
- -LBGTQ rights and extending federal anti-discrimination laws to cover gender identity and sexual orientation
- -Bipartisan immigration reform and DACA, while opposing ICE and family separation practices
- -Safeguarding Democracy from foreign interests and keeping leaders accountable-
- -Breaking the NRA’s influence on government officials and passing common sense gun legislation
- -He opposes the 2017 tax law will work to repeal and replace it.
- -He also refuses to take campaign contributions from corporate PACs.
Verlina Reynolds-Jackson for NJ State Assembly, Legislative District 15
"I know the challenges facing our state and its communities. I plan to bring fresh and creative approaches to the issues that impact urban, suburban and rural New Jersey, and I'm excited to listen to and learn from constituents, colleagues, advocates and all the voices that contribute to our democracy."
Verlina is an incumbent running for NJ State Assembly representing the 15th legislative district, which includes parts of Hunterdon and Mercer counties. In Hunterdon, the district includes East Amwell, West Amwell and Lambertville. Her goals are to help lower property taxes, fully fund all schools and improve affordable housing.
Verlina was selected at a Democratic convention and sworn into office in February, 2018 to fulfill the remainder of the term held by Elizabeth Maher Muoio, who was nominated for NJ State Treasurer. Verlina was previously a two-term member of the Trenton, NJ City Council, and has worked for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs in its Division of Housing and for the Mercer County Board of Social Services.
Cullen McAuliffe for Hunterdon County Freeholder
"People who live in Hunterdon County have a unique perspective on what they want from government. We understand that perspective, and we will make sure we consistently listen to voters and conduct ourselves ethically, and with full transparency, if we are privileged enough to earn their vote in November.”
Cullen has pursued a career in public service. Notably he served as the Chief of Staff for former Assembly Majority Leader and Democratic State Chair Bonnie Watson Coleman. While serving in this capacity, Cullen helped develop and secure the passage of various pieces of groundbreaking legislation, including the New Jersey Identity Theft Protection Act, which set a national standard in the fight against identity theft.
Cullen’s efforts and ability to navigate passing legislation allowed for Assemblywoman Coleman to achieve the highest rate of bill passages. Since 2006, Cullen has been a member of government affairs firm Impact NJ headed by Governor Murphy where he represented various entities before the various N.J. branches of government.
Presently Cullen serves as the Executive Director for Lambertville based arts non-profit. This organization has produced successful concerts drawing well over 5000 people. Currently, Cullen sits on the Delaware Township Zoning Board of Adjustment. He is also a former member of the Lambertville City Zoning Board of Adjustment and served as president of the Political Science Chapter of the College of New Jersey Alumni Association.
Lynne McClintock for Hunterdon County Freeholder
"We are truly humbled by the support we received in the primary process, and now we are looking forward to highlighting the common beliefs that we all share as Hunterdon County citizens. Our campaign will show that with a fresh perspective and an open mind, county government can improve our daily lives without raising taxes."
Lynne is a speech pathologist who is running for Freeholder because she believes that positive change begins in towns and communities. As a speech pathologist, Lynne understands the importance of carefully listening, then developing solutions to fit the need.
Lynne’s corporate background includes systems analyst, systems user training, project management, staff management and marketing. Lynne’s comprehensive insight and skills will allow her to provide the community the transparency Hunterdon County deserves and the information we need.
Lynne is a strong advocate for those in need and for those who need a voice by serving as an Advisory Board Member with the Hunterdon Community Recovery Center and as a Recovery Coach volunteer with City of Angels. Lynne volunteers with Safe Communities Coalition of Hunterdon and Somerset and acts as an Advocacy Leader with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. She is a past President of the Union Township Education Association.
Bob Casey for re-election to the US Senate in Pennsylvania
“People with pre-existing conditions should never have to worry about being denied health care. Every elected official refusing to fight this move owes them an explanation.”
Bob Casey has spent two terms representing the people of Pennsylvania in the Senate. He believes that every worker deserves fair treatment and every child has the right to an equal education, regardless of race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or zip code.
On healthcare he is focused on finding solutions that cover more people and lower health care costs but won’t support plans that would kick Pennsylvania families off their insurance or leave them scrambling to pay for health care.
Casey believes, as it says in Article I Section 27 of the Pennsylvania constitution, that “the people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment.” He knows that climate change is a scientific fact, and that it poses a real and imminent threat that must be addressed before it’s too late.
About the election Casey says "This race will not be about name calling and insults. It will be about who is delivering results for Pennsylvania families.”
Scott Wallace for U.S. House of Representatives, PA-01
“I firmly believe that a constant dialogue between representative and the voters is key to making democracy work. With the rampant corruption going on in Washington, it is imperative that we have more transparency in Congress and that means transparency between me and my constituents. This job is called "representative" for a reason, I have to represent the people of this district and I can't do that by hiding.”
Scott Wallace is running for Congress to be a voice for Pennsylvania families, working to end the dysfunction and division in Washington.
Wallace believes health policy “should be driven by what’s good for the American people, not for the pharmaceutical companies or the health insurance lobby”. He will fight for Medicare for All, and to preserve the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.
He knows that “climate change is real, it is dangerous, and we ignore it at our own peril” and would reinstate the Paris climate treaty and the Clean Power Plan, restore the EPA’s power to regulate climate pollution and change our system of tax incentives to move away from carbon-based fuels toward renewable energy. Wallace says “Climate change is not just a crisis, but an opportunity to create millions of new jobs and protect our planet”.
On gun control Wallace would “ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, bump stocks and silencers; call for background checks on EVERY gun purchase and hold gun manufacturers to the same legal standard as every other industry whose products negligently cause death – from cigarettes to cars to oil wells”.
Tom Wolf for Governor of Pennsylvania
“I have fought to change Harrisburg by prioritizing the issues important to Pennsylvania families, such as restoring Harrisburg Republicans' billion dollar education cuts, expanding Medicaid, signing a Clean Slate bill, and expanding protections from discrimination for the LGBTQ community.”
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf believes in transparency in government. He doesn’t take a state salary, prohibits the acceptance of gifts and has worked to reform unfair contracts in his administration. A former Planned Parenthood patient escort, Governor Wolf has vetoed a bill that would criminalize abortion. His work with the criminal justice system has focused on increasing rehabilitation and reducing recidivism.
John Fetterman for Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania
“As a small-town mayor, I can only help so many people. I want to be able to do more, not only for my community, but for my commonwealth. I’m running for Lieutenant Governor to be a champion for every community and person in this state, especially those that have been left out or left behind.”
John Fetterman is the mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, a working-class town that was abandoned by industry and written off by politicians in Harrisburg and Washington, DC. For the last 12 years, the community has come back from the verge of extinction, with a stabilized population, reduced crime, over a dozen businesses relocated into town, one of the best pre-K programs in the state and a new urgent care center to restore affordable healthcare to the town’s citizens. By every metric, things have improved. But there are struggling towns like Braddock all across Pennsylvania, places that have gotten a raw deal.
The opioid crisis has been like pouring gasoline on a raging fire. Meanwhile, the massive inequality gap is only getting worse, as some areas thrive while others are left with no realistic path to prosperity. Health coverage for millions of Pennsylvanians is at risk, and women’s rights are under attack. Too many communities are being poisoned by polluters, and too many workers are stuck trying to raise a family on a $7.25 minimum wage. John will bring to Harrisburg an understanding of what life is actually like in places like Allentown, Johnstown, Erie, and other forgotten cities across Pennsylvania. These places matter. They deserve to be believed in, and they deserve to be helped. Things can get better, and if a community that’s lost as much as Braddock can start to turn things around, then any community can – whether it’s West Philly, or Monessen, or Bethlehem. Braddock is a roadmap for how to begin to build a stronger Pennsylvania for all – so that every child born here has an equal shot, regardless of zip code.
Tina Davis for Pennsylvania State Senate, District 6
“I will fight for better wages for our middle class and working class families. For years income growth for the middle class has been stagnant while the income levels of the ultra-wealthy continues to soar to record heights. As a working mom who raised three children I know the challenges families today face and I will work to stand up for those families in Harrisburg.”
Tina Davis has been fighting for the people of Bucks County for more than a decade—locally as a council member in Bristol Township and then in Harrisburg as a State Representative for the 141st legislative district.
As a State Representative, Tina has been a trusted working class voice fighting the hard right-wing politicians as they attacked teachers and union workers, pillaged the environment and pulled dirty tricks to keep constituents from exercising their Constitutional right to vote—and she called them out every time. She has fought time and again for sustainable funding for public education, environmental safeguards, better health care and has vigorously defended women’s rights. Tina has worked with lawmakers, community organizations and schools to find ways to keep our children safe while they attend school. She is committed to finding the right balance in keeping weapons out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, addressing how easily available these weapons are to obtain and working with local gun ownership groups to create a pathway to a safer future for our children.
Tina sees that much of what is preventing sensible legislation is the backroom deals being made by the boys’ club. Pennsylvania is second to last in electing women, and so Tina and her colleague Rep. Mary Jo Daley banded together to change that. In 2015 they co-founded Emerge Pennsylvania. Since its founding, Emerge Pennsylvania has trained more than 45 women, 12 have gone on to run for office and 7 have won their elective seat. Women all across the country put their name on the ballot and ran in 2017, and now 2018 is shaping up to be the Year of the Woman. It’s a movement—and Tina is excited to be a part of it.
Steve Santarsiero for Pennsylvania State Senate, 10th District
“I know there are Democrats, Independents and Republicans… throughout Bucks County who just want to see a return to sanity. They want to see people who are going to go to Harrisburg and to Washington not to shout at each other, but to reach across to each other and get things done, find common ground where we can move our community, our state, and ultimately our country, forward.”
For close to 20 years, Steve Santarsiero’s commitment to the greater good prompted him to work in the public schools and, subsequently, state government. After witnessing the horror of September 11th from his law office across the river in Newark, New Jersey, he made the decision to change careers, going to night school to become an educator. While teaching social studies at Bensalem High School, he spearheaded a campaign to prevent a big-box mall from opening in Lower Makefield. That successful effort led Steve to successfully run for the State House for the Yardley-Newtown area in 2008.
While in Harrisburg, Steve was known for refusing perks, like per-diems and a state car, as well as refusing pay during budget freezes, and even more importantly, for his strong advocacy for sensible gun control, environmental protection, women’s health, and infrastructure investment. A bruising battle with Republican Brian Fitzpatrick for Congress in 2016 left Steve undaunted. He has now rededicated himself to public service by choosing to run for PA State Senate in the 10th District.
Look to Steve’s record for an outstanding and consistent devotion to our democratic principles and ILNH values, including:
- -Freedom of the Press. “Our democracy cannot exist without an informed electorate and the press plays a pivotal role in that regard. I will always speak out for a free press and as a member of the PA Senate will only support the nomination of officials and judges who share that point of view.”
- -Gun Control. A strong advocate, Steve promotes sane policies, such as Universal Background Checks, the Assault Weapons Ban, and the Gun Violence Restraining Order.
- -Environmental Protection. As PA’s first Chief Deputy Attorney General for Environmental Protection, Steve has prosecuted environmental crimes and fought Trump’s attempts to roll back key legislation.
- -Campaign Financing Reform. Public service, not politics, is Steve’s top priority. He deplores the endless rounds of fundraising that dominate today’s campaigns and promotes transparency and curbs on corporate contributions.
- -Economic Development. Steve gets that the foundation of a strong local economy is based on innovation and education, preparing people at all levels for the challenges and opportunities that our future holds.
- -Inclusion. “I will always support a woman’s right to choose, equal protection for equal work, and the equal protection of the laws for all people, regardless of race, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or identity or whether they are challenged by disability. Our diversity makes us great.”
Andrew Dixon for Pennsylvania State Representative, 29th Legislative District
“I will serve our community by listening to constituents so I can bring their concerns directly to Harrisburg, starting by working with Governor Wolf and my fellow representatives to get sensible budgets passed in a timely manner so the government of Pennsylvania can move on to the important work of making Pennsylvania a great place to live and work for working families.”
Dixon has dedicated his professional life to education and acting as an advocate for working families. As an organizer with the American Federation of Teachers in New Jersey, Dixon has spent the vast majority of his time working to help adjunct faculty to gain a voice in their institutions, and with programs intended to help adults and recent college graduates manage their student debt.
He is committed to:
- -Properly funding both K-12 and public higher education at the state level, so the burden for funding does not fall unfairly on senior citizens through local property taxes, or on the youth who often graduate even from “public” colleges with too much debt
- -Protecting the environment by ensuring proper oversight of companies that seek to use our natural resources and stopping fracking in the Delaware River basin
- -Passing sensible gun legislation that keeps military-grade assault rifles and high-capacity magazines off the streets
- -Supporting fair redistricting that ensures voters choose their politicians instead of politicians choosing their voters
- -Demanding that corporations pay their fair share to help the citizens of Pennsylvania – for example, by taxing Marcellus shale
- -Repairing our infrastructure – a win/win for Pennsylvania as it makes the state safer while providing good jobs for Pennsylvanians
Meredith Buck for Pennsylvania State Representative, 144th Legislative District
“As a nurse, attorney and mother who runs a small business, I understand the issues facing our Commonwealth. During my 20 years in Chalfont, I have been privileged to talk with many of you about your concerns and your hopes. If elected, I promise to continue to listen – and do everything I can to give you a voice in Harrisburg.”
Meredith Buck is an advocate for educational opportunity for all Pennsylvania’s children, economic equality and security at all levels, safer, healthier communities.
Once in Harrisburg, she intends to fight for:
- -Restoring funding for public education
- -Helping students afford college
- -Creating more vocational and technical education programs
- -Improving and expanding treatment opportunities for opioid users, including recovery houses
- -Providing access to healthcare that is both high-quality and affordable
- -Making sure wages in our state enable workers to support their families
- -Ensuring that men and women and people of all races receive equal pay for equal work
- -Passing sensible gun control legislation
- -Protecting our environment -- now and for generations to comes
- -Establishing zero tolerance policies for sexual abuse and harassment
Helen Tai for Pennsylvania State Representative, 178th Legislative District
“There were so many terrible things happening, and I thought, ‘I’ve been going to these protests, I’ve been calling Pat Toomey with no response,’ and it was so frustrating. I thought, ‘I can do something actually positive, instead of protesting and complaining. There’s more that we can do.'”
Helen believes it is critical for everyone to be offered an equal opportunity to participate fully in society, thus giving everyone an equal opportunity to succeed. This will be possible only when everyone has clean air and water as well as access to a good education, affordable high-quality health care and jobs that offer fair and equitable pay.
It is more important than ever that Pennsylvania step up with fair laws and do everything to protect and preserve our land, the air and water. She has voted for the highest level of public education funding in state history, without raising taxes.
Everyone deserves access to affordable health care. Women, and especially older women, are particularly hard-hit when access to health care is threatened because 60% of Pennsylvania residents over 70 are female. Every woman should retain the right to make her own decisions about her reproductive health.
Helen believes that all workers should be paid equitably for the work they do and supports the recent increase in overtime pay for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania workers. In addition to improving the lives of so many who are struggling to make ends meet, increasing the minimum wage and overtime rates will improve the state’s economy by reducing employee turnover, creating more competitive salaries, and keeping more high-paying jobs in the state. It will also pump more money right back into the economy.
Helen says about her work on the environment, “With the support of my fellow legislators for H.B. 2132 and the collective efforts among advocates, we are truly paving the pathway for 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. “We have made significant strides toward renewable energy across our state.
Wendy Ullman for Pennsylvania State Representative, 143rd Legislative District
“I define myself as a feminist, an environmentalist, a social progressive, and a fiscal realist. As a legislator I intend to actively support measures that will ensure the well-being of our families, our communities and our shared future.”
Wendy Ullman’s policy priorities are women and family, clean energy and conservation, and education. She supports paid family medical leave and raising the state minimum wage. As a community college teacher, she emphasized education, and has been endorsed by the Bucks County Community College Federation of Teachers union. She is an advocate of affordable universal pre-K education. Her environmental platform includes promoting clean energy, addressing fracking and the natural gas industry issues, and protecting state parks.
She says, “I define myself as a feminist, an environmentalist, a social progressive, and a fiscal realist. As a legislator I intend to actively support measures that will ensure the well-being of our families, our communities and our shared future.”