2011-06-30 / Front Page

GOP legislators kick off run for 11th District

Beck, Casagrande, Angelini would be state’s first all-female legislative team
BY KENNYWALTER Staff Writer


State Republican legislators (center, l-r) Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, Sen. Jennifer Beck and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande are joined by Sen. Thomas Kean Jr. (far left) and Assemblyman Alex DeCroce (far right) as they kick off their campaign for the 11th District on June 22. 
KENNY WALTER State Republican legislators (center, l-r) Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, Sen. Jennifer Beck and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande are joined by Sen. Thomas Kean Jr. (far left) and Assemblyman Alex DeCroce (far right) as they kick off their campaign for the 11th District on June 22. KENNY WALTER A trio of Republican legislators kicked off their campaign to represent a newly configured 11th District last week and to become the state’s first allwomen legislative team.

Sen. Jennifer Beck and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, currently representing the 12th District, and Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, who currently represents the 11th District, announced their candidacies on June 22 with a press conference at the home of Ocean Township resident Rick Miller.

Beck said that a priority for the team is to help bring back some of the residents who left the state in the last 10 years.

“This is a historic moment because for the first time, we have an all-female legislative team seeking election,” she said. “The changes we are making are looking to welcome back the 377,000 people who fled our state because they couldn’t afford to stay here in the last decade.”

Beck said that she has sponsored 22 bills signed into law since first being elected in 2005, dealing with a range of issues that includes the transition of Fort Monmouth, protections for the developmentally disabled, and helping stalking victims.

Beck also said that she has consistently voted against raising taxes or imposing new taxes during her tenure as a senator.

In a press release, Beck explained why the team chose to launch its campaign at the home of a constituent.

“We’ve kicked off our campaign in the front yard of a regular New Jersey family because it’s families like the Millers that Mary Pat, Caroline and I have been fighting for since we’ve been in office,” she said.

She also reflected on some Republican accomplishments.

“We’ve capped property taxes, reduced state spending, and are about to pass historic reform to the public pension and health benefits systems,” Beck said. “If the voters grant us another term in office, we will continue our efforts to make New Jersey affordable for families and businesses.”

Casagrande mentioned a few initiatives that she’d like to focus on in a new term.

“We need to focus this term on finding a new school funding formula fair to all the districts in New Jersey,” she said. “We need to continue our jobs in rooting out waste in the state government, and last, but not least, we need to improve the lives of every New Jersey citizen.”

Angelini confirmed a few of the lynchpins of the campaign.

“I stand here before you to reaffirm my commitment to cutting wasteful spending at all government levels, to recommitment to reducing the size of government in New Jersey, and to make sure everyone of our children is afforded an equitable education,” she said. “We cannot have two layers of education in New Jersey.”

She also said the state needs to do more to keep local businesses open.

“We have to get New Jersey back to being business-friendly,” Angelini said. “We’ve seen so many businesses leave the state, and that has such a deleterious effect.”

Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean Jr. (21st District) was in attendance and lofted high praise for Beck, saying that she has done a lot to promote transparency in government, create jobs and economic opportunities.

“Jennifer Beck is a high-impact state senator,” he said. “She has kept her promises, whether it be fighting on behalf of the horse racing industry or making sure there is a real solution for Fort Monmouth.”

Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce (26th District) also praised Beck, saying she is a leader in the Senate and a leader in Monmouth County.

Casagrande said that while the three women have different backgrounds, all three have the same goal.

“We are women from all walks of life, all with the same passion of how to make New Jersey a place … where we know our next generation can continue to survive and thrive and achieve that great New Jersey lifestyle.”

Earlier this year, the state Legislative Redistricting Committee approved a new district map for the state’s 40 districts that moved Casagrande and Beck from the 12th District to join Angelini in the 11th. The 11th District now includes Eatontown, Long Branch, Ocean, West Long Branch, Red Bank, Shrewsbury and Tinton Falls, among other towns, but will no longer represent Colts Neck, Englishtown, Fair Haven, Little Silver, Manalapan and Marlboro.

Before joining the Senate in 2005, Beck served one term as an assemblywoman and two terms on the Red Bank Borough Council.

Casagrande was elected in 2008. Angelini has served in the Assembly since 2008 and has been the executive director of Prevention First, a local substance abuse awareness nonprofit, since 1992.

Democrats running for seats in the 11th District are: for the Senate, Ray Santiago, Freehold; and for the Assembly, Marilyn Schlossbach, Asbury Park, and Vin Gopal, West Long Branch.

The New Jersey general election will take place Nov. 8. Contact Kenny Walter at kwalter@gmnews.com.

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