May 30, 2024
Close this search box.
Close this search box.
May 30, 2024
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Rep. Gottheimer Hopes for Bipartisan Cooperation During Second Term

Editor’s note: This is the second in a four-part series prior to the November 6 midterm elections.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer had enough on his mind when he spoke on the phone with The Jewish Link to talk about the midterms.

The freshman congressman who represents New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District is on pace by many pundits to be sent back to Capitol Hill for a second term. His challenger is Republican candidate John McCann.

But beyond the campaign, Gottheimer discussed the midterm elections not long after the passing of his beloved mother Gwenn Kuskin Feldman. His mother was a retired preschool teacher who taught at Congregation Beth El in South Orange.

“Personally I’ve got a lot on my mind right now,” Gottheimer said in mid-September following the shiva period for his mother. “I’m grateful for the outpouring of support to me. I think there is a reason why there’s a period of time to take stock of how blessed we are. I think in the broader context, we are still very blessed to live in the greatest country in the world. When we remember those we’ve lost, we need to think on a broader scale. We need to be grateful for every cop and firefighter. We can overcome almost everything in this country. I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching during this time.”

Gottheimer’s campaign was also reeling from two anti-Semitic attacks on campaign signs, on a home of one of his supporters in Sussex County. “I’ll never forget the late-night call from the governor offering extra help from the state police to find these cowards.  Or the Department of Transportation who sent a team at 2am Sunday morning to cover up the latest anti-Semitic slur spray-painted on the road outside Colleen and Adam’s home,” Gottheimer said at a rally this past Sunday.

This midterm season, New Jersey is considered a key state along with California and Pennsylvania to possibly flip seats from Republican red to Democrat blue. Gottheimer, an attorney, flipped his seat from red to blue in 2016. In terms of the biggest issue he feels he faces in Washington, Gottheimer and other Democrats feel that the GOP tax bill is hardly good for New Jersey. Reports have said that the state’s residents will see their taxes increase perhaps more than any other state.

In Congress, Gottheimer serves on the House Financial Services Committee. He sits on three subcommittees: the Capital Markets, Securities and the Investments Subcommittee, the Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee and the Terrorism and Illicit Finance Subcommittee. In February of 2017, he was elected co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. It is there where he works to bring a group of 24 Democrats and 24 Republicans together, crossing party lines to find areas of agreement.

In the past year, the congressman has spoken out against the controversial Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Capital of Israel.

The Jewish Link: How different would it be for you going into your second term compared to the first term?

Rep. Gottheimer: I’m a member and I’m governing. I ran with a certain agenda and views and I held to what I ran on. Now I have the benefit of talking about what I’ve worked on. We’ve been lucky to have support from both sides of the aisle. We should be working together to fight for the district.

The Jewish Link: Do you feel this year’s midterm elections are the most urgent you can remember in recent years?

Rep. Gottheimer: I think there’s a lot on the line here. I also think the question is that no matter who wins the House, can we do business differently? There is extremism on both sides. I think we need to come together and actually work together as a country. The current vitriol is unhealthy for our country and for our people’s faith in their government. We shouldn’t get caught up chasing every ball. Let’s focus on what we can do to deal with improving our infrastructure, lower taxes and making sure our water and air are clean. We need to continue to fight terror both home and abroad. We need to be supportive of our cops and firefighters and continue to support the security of Israel. These are basic responsibilities that regardless of party, it is your job to do.”

The Jewish Link: Is there a growing concern in the state concerning Israel especially after Sen. Cory Booker’s change of heart toward Israel?

Rep. Gottheimer: I’m deeply concerned. Israel must not become a political football. It is our key ally in the region. I see the partisanship creeping into it, and I’m very concerned about it. At home we have the BDS movement. You’ve got Iran. The very idea that BDS has become a litmus test is outrageous to me. We should all be standing up against BDS. Especially now we must do a great deal of educating about Israel. Extremism on either side when it comes to Israel is bad. When it comes to Israel you have to focus on people who are really good Democrats and really good Republicans.

The Jewish Link: What other local issues are of immediate concern?

Rep. Gottheimer: The tax hike bill is a big problem in New Jersey. We have moocher states that are taking dollars away from New Jersey as a result. We have to fight for our resources. We received $1.8 million in non-profit security funds for churches and religious schools. In the face of record hate and extremism, there is a lot on the line here.

The Jewish Link: After the election?

Rep. Gottheimer: After the election we have to make sure we are working together. Look at what we can get done in a bipartisan way, be it Israel or Iran. We can work together. We must work together!

By Phil Jacobs


Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles