Here’s why we enthusiastically endorse Hope Kaufman for LD23 Assembly:
The “County Line” in primary election ballots: Being placed in a preferential ballot position unfairly benefits some candidates and disadvantages others. Recognizing the outsize influence of the “county line” primary election ballots on the outcomes of elections, and the considerable voter confusion that they cause, I will support changing the NJ primary ballot to an “Office Bloc” design as is used in every other state and in some counties in NJ (see http://ggcnj.org/resolution for more information).
Comment: I often wonder how many great candidates we lose because the playing field is anything but level. If the process was open and more transparent the possibility of recruiting exceptional talent only increases. It is an honor to run for public office not a privilege.
Ballot Order: Following best practices in 16 states, I will support implementing a rotational ballot order system that ensures to the greatest extent possible that no candidate is advantaged over other candidates on the basis of their ballot placement by enabling all candidates running for the same office to receive first and subsequent ballot positions an equal number of times (see http://ggcnj.org/resolution for more details).
Voter access: I support adopting parts of H.R.1 in New Jersey in order to increase voter participation, ensure access to the ballot box, and strengthen elections, including specifically same day registration, early voting and a paper trail for machine voting that enables verification.
Comment: We should be doing all we can to clear the way for people to participate in our elections. Now more than ever the push should be to daylight suppression and highlight prescriptive measures to ensure all have equal access to cast their vote.
Ethics reform: I support ethics reforms that would require broader disclosure of financial information and the release of income taxes by candidates for county-level and state-level public office, as a means of transparency.
Comment: Though I can see the value in creating a more transparent system for voters to access information, we may also lose viable candidates by creating too many “points of entry” into a candidates personal life. For example, how do people account for missed filings that their opponent brings up? How about if the cause of the missed filings was due to an extremely personal event, i.e., drug treatment, hospitalization, etc…
Campaign funding: I support the public funding of campaigns for all state-level elected offices (i.e., the state legislature and gubernatorial elections).
Redistricting: I support placing a nonpartisan commission in charge of the legislative redistricting process.
Comment: I fully support nonpartisan redistricting, how that is truly achieved, I cannot say. But, would wholeheartedly support moving forward with a solution.
Public Advocate: I support passing legislation to reinstate the statewide Office of the Public Advocate that was eliminated in 2010.
Comment: The Public Advocate plays a critical oversight role and should never have been eliminated.
Posting of bills: I support requiring bills to be posted a minimum of 72hrs prior to voting in the legislature, to allow legislators to read bills thoroughly and obtain feedback from the public.
Comment: I also believe that comments received by Assembly committee people should be automatically routed to the district representatives if they are not on the aforesaid committee. Additionally, some type of electronic read receipt should be dispatched to confirm that the public feedback has been received that is time stamped for accuracy.
Legislative meetings: I support making all committee meetings accessible to the public for attendance and testimony by online means (e.g., via zoom) and streaming of voting sessions even after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, to increase availability and transparency of government.
Full time legislature: I support making the state legislature full-time and prohibiting the simultaneous holding of other paid positions, so as to eliminate conflicts of interest and sources of influence and pressure on state legislators.
Comment: Though I agree with the premise and the benefits of a full time legislature, the cost impact for compensation of legislators, staff, support staff, etc., would have to have be fully vetted and funded. As per my comment above, I am hesitant to add additional criteria that might dissuade potential candidates from running for office. A small business owner may be deeply committed to both representing their constituents as a representative and providing services to their Community through employment, taxes, donations, etc. I am not sure I would want to put additional hurdles in front of people who are considering serving in elected office.
More information about Hope Kaufman:
Date of Birth: 11/27/1972
Current Occupation: Consultant
Education: Dual Masters Degrees in Urban and Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture
Public/party service: Environmental Commissioner, Chair Tewksbury Township Parks and Recreation Committee, Green Team Member, ANJEC member, Board Member Tewksbury Education Foundation and Barat Foundation, past board member of Whittemore, Community, Culture and Conservation, volunteer, NJLCV and New Jersey Conservation Fund.