Just weeks after Governor Chris Christie made a campaign stop in Teaneck, Democratic candidate Barbara Buono opened up a Teaneck-based campaign office on September 16.
Three Teaneck council members have come out in support of Buono’s opponent, the incumbent Christie, but no Teaneck or Bergenfield council members have, as of yet, come out publically in support of Buono.
With gubernatorial elections just over a month away, most state residents say they don’t know enough about Buono. Nevertheless, she has been gaining in the polls reducing a 40 point lead in July to a 22 point lead now.
Buono is currently serving as a state senator for New Jersey’s 18th Legislative District and has been in that position since 2001. Using that experience, Buono is running for governor on the promise of strengthening the middle-class, reducing unemployment, providing property tax relief and lowering the cost of higher education.
Two issues brought up repeatedly by Buono to emphasize her differences from Governor Christie are gun control and marriage equality. Over the past year, Christie vetoed three pieces of gun control legislation—the first of which, according to a Rutgers University poll, was backed by 63 percent of the populace and the second and third of which were backed by 80 percent of the public. Buono supports legislation involving smaller magazine capacity, universal background checks and face-to-face ammunition sales.
Buono is also a strong supporter of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and right to marry, whereas Governor Christie vowed to overturn court-legalized gay marriage in the state after the Sept. 27 ruling.
The third major point Buono brings up repeatedly when it comes to Christie is that the state has not done well under him economically. According to statistics just released from the Census Bureau, the median household income statewide last year was $69,677 and the percentage of New Jersey families living in poverty rose from 6.4 percent in 2008 to 7.8 percent in 2011 to 8.2 percent in 2012.
New Jersey was one of only five states in which the number of people living under the poverty line increased last year. Christie vetoed legislation to raise the minimum wage twice in his tenure, while Buono voted, as did the majority of the State Senate, to raise the rate three times over the past year.
Buono’s history on the economy and unemployment can be seen as helping the middle and lower classes with her passage of large tax cuts for small business; cutting $4.5 billion in spending over two years; sponsoring a bill to create new jobs, and voting to increase the income tax rate on earnings over $1 million.
Each year various special interest groups rate political officials based on their liking of that individual. New Jersey Public Health Association gave Buono a 100 percent, groups favoring guns have gradually downgraded Buono from a B to a B- to a D since 1995, and two separate Environmental groups gave Buono 88 percent.
On economics and business Buono numbers ranging from 8 percent approval to 70 percent approval. For more information on Barbara Buono, visit www.buonoforgovernor.com.
By Aliza Chasan