Phone number: (347) 352-6329
Party affiliation: Democratic
Campaign website: https://rivers2019.com
Social media: http://facebook.com/rivers4assem/ | https://twitter.com/ronrivers_ | https://instagram.com/ronrivers_ | https://medium.com/@ronrivers
Date of birth: 5/3/1984
Education: B.A. Marketing – Hofstra University, B.A. Management – Hofstra University
Occupation: Non-Profit Executive Director
Public/Party service: In 2017 I founded a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to improving democracy here in New Jersey. Our research discovered that 77% of local candidates in 2018 listed no information online about their campaigns. Our team built the first ever free election campaign platform for local candidates and demonstrated significant success beta testing here in New Jersey.
I have been an active advocate in New Jersey for the Civic Information Bill, a $15 Minimum Wage, Medicare for All, Voter Registration Drives, Green Energy Infrastructure, and transparent elections here in our state. One of my favorite volunteer activities has been the development and facilitating of Civics discussions at my local high school with the Senior students.
Position on good government initiatives:
- Would you support reforming New Jersey’s Primary electoral ballots to give all candidates an equal chance of being elected?
Yes. Having “the line” on a ballot creates a significant and measurable advantage. Establishment candidates use this to their advantage and often do not attempt to reach their voters during primary races because they understand the strength of this position.
Having all party candidates listed in random order on a single column gives candidates who bring new ideas and vision to New Jersey a more level playing field. It benefits NJ voters because it eliminates confusion surrounding choices in a contested race and allows new voices and vision to enter the contests.
- Would you support measures to increase voter participation (eg. same-day registration, early voting)?
Yes. I believe that many of the social, economic, and political problems facing New Jersey can be solved with more democracy. That’s why election reform is a primary focus of my campaign for State Assembly. New Jersey has the potential to become a national leader in democratic freedom and participation by approaching our problems from a structural perspective.
Better democracy isn’t just a campaign slogan; it’s something I’ve been passionate about for years. In 2017 I founded the 501c3 non-profit OurSociety. We used technology to give municipal candidates the opportunity to connect their campaigns directly with their communities, bypassing financial and established party barriers. We helped 18 local candidates, and 192 citizen users make better voting decisions via our preliminary launch. It’s my vision that we expand this technology to the entire state.
- Would you support placing a nonpartisan commission in charge of the legislative redistricting process?
Yes. Gerrymandering in New Jersey is a long-standing problem that harms citizens for the gain of political actors. We need non-partisan commissions to redistrict NJ based on data and population, not the will of elected officials.
- Would you support ethics reforms that would require broader disclosure on financial information and the release of income taxes by candidates for public office, as a means for regulating campaigns and limiting corruption?
Yes. I will fight for passage of the Anti-Corruption Act here in New Jersey:
– Create independent, fully transparent redistricting commissions that follow strict guidelines to ensure accurate representation for all voters, regardless of political party.
– Require all candidates for the same office to compete in a single, open primary controlled by voters, not the political establishment. This gives voters more control over our elections and more choices at the ballot.
– Ban paid lobbyists from making campaign donations of any kind.
– Stop lobbyists from bundling contributions from several donors into single donations.
– Stop elected representatives and senior staff from selling off their government power for high-paying lobbying jobs, prohibiting them from negotiating jobs while in office, and barring them from paid lobbying activity for seven years after they leave office.
– Prevents politicians from wasting taxpayer money by preventing fundraising during the workday.
– More robust transparency laws regulating political donations, advertisements, and the process in which these transactions are made public.
- Would you support reinstituting the statewide public advocate and making it a directly elected position?
Yes. I think this is a great idea. The more we can deepen democracy in our state the better NJ residents will be. A Public Advocate will help New Jersey residents who are traditionally unable to speak up have a voice in Trenton.
- Would you support changing the nominating process for members of Commissions and Boards to have panels of nonpartisan experts nominate candidates, with full public disclosure of the candidates’ credentials, and to have the legislature vote on the nominations?
Yes. Commission/Board members are intended to be positions focused on specific investments of NJ taxpayer monies. Having non-partisan experts nominate candidates increases the degree of expertise of the management of these projects while also reducing opportunities for cronyism in our state.
- Do you support public funding of campaigns for all statewide offices, including the legislature?
Yes. In addressing money in politics and entrenched power structures, we need to understand the core issues supporting the current system. Money equals access to people. The more money a candidate has, the more opportunity they have to connect with voters. The Citizens United Ruling created protections for corporate spending on elections, giving immense power to the ultra-wealthy while severely limiting the voice of the average person. Because an outright ban of corporate donations would be met with lengthy legal challenges our most significant opportunity to reimagine democracy in New Jersey lies in innovating new ways to empower candidates to access the communities they desire to serve. Beyond access to candidates, we can work together to create more agency in our democratic process for every New Jersian by developing tools to help voters better understand and engage with their candidate options.
Here’s How We Do It:
-Develop a centralized, publicly owned Candidate & Issue Information Platform
– Estimating New Jersey’s present population at 9 Million people developing this solution would cost each resident about $0.06 per person. Maintaining and supporting the platform afterward would cost less than $0.01 per person per year.
– Allows any registered candidate to run their campaign for free
– Issue-based format that does not list party affiliations
– Provides New Jersey residents a more democratic process for resolving issues and determining our direction
– Develop legislation requiring all candidates running for local office to post campaign information online
– Creating an educational campaign and support structure to ensure that all New Jersey residents are familiar with and have access to the candidate information platform
– Co-Sponsor Andrew Zwicker’s Bill Supporting Rank Choice Voting in New Jersey
- Do you support making the state legislature full-time and prohibiting simultaneous holding of other paid positions?
Yes. Unlike my opponents I am committed to serving as Assemblyman in a full-time capacity if elected here in NJ17.