New Jersey has a long history as a center of innovation and an engine of economic growth. Today, that spirit of ingenuity is as strong as ever. It’s produced more scientists and engineers per square mile than anywhere else in the United States. We’ve gotten here with hard work and smart investments in our schools and our communities, and we’re poised to lead in the years to come.
Reaching our full potential will require steadfast dedication and forward-thinking ideas. New Jersey’s economic competitiveness and the standard of living for families rely upon lowering our high cost of living, bringing more tax dollars back to our state, expanding our best-in-the-nation skilled workforce, and investing in our infrastructure and small businesses.
I’ve worked with members of both parties to achieve these goals since I first took office. But more work needs to be done to:
Make New Jersey More Affordable for Families. I was proud to vote for three key pieces of legislation to bring down the cost of living for New Jersey families. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests in our port system, trucking sector, and rail network to quickly address supply chain disruptions that have significantly raised prices for food, clothes, furniture, and more. The CHIPS and Science Act invests in domestic semiconductor manufacturing to resolve the chip shortage that has raised prices for cars and electronics. The Inflation Reduction Act reduces electricity costs by an estimated $300-$1,800 per family, through tax credits for electric vehicles and clean energy installations. In addition, it saves families billions by capping the high cost of prescription drug prices and it lowers premium costs by expanding tax credits under the Affordable Care Act. I have also strongly supported the administration’s use of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to expand the supply of gasoline in the U.S. and reduce prices at the pump.
Create Good-Paying Manufacturing Jobs Here in New Jersey. Our state is a leader in advanced manufacturing tech research and development, led by our globally competitive workforce. The CHIPS and Science Act will help to expand New Jersey’s manufacturing sector and create thousands of good-paying jobs. It will provide incentives for semiconductor chip manufacturers to build new facilities in the U.S., fund advanced R&D at New Jersey’s research universities and laboratories, invest in the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program that has successfully helped manufacturers expand in NJ, and it will expand partnerships between colleges and industry through STEM education and workforce training. I was also proud to co-sponsor the National Apprenticeship Act, which will create over one million high-quality Registered Apprenticeship positions to help New Jerseyans access high-quality training and good-paying jobs in the manufacturing sector.
Restore the SALT deduction to provide relief for the middle class. The 2017 Trump GOP tax bill continues to target our middle-class families, with NJ hit harder than any other state in the nation. I have worked with Republicans and Democrats in the House to pass multiple pieces of legislation to lift the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap and helped beat back the Senate Republican attempt in August 2022 to extend the cap and further punish New Jersey families. I will keep fighting for SALT relief until the job is done.
Rebuild our crumbling transportation infrastructure. The Northeast produces 20 percent of our nation’s GDP and needs a reliable and efficient transportation network to remain nationally and globally competitive. During my time in Congress, I’ve been laser-focused on the Gateway Tunnel Project, the nation’s most critical infrastructure project, which will deliver a return on investment of over 4-to-1 to New Jerseyans and significantly expand capacity on the rail lines between New Jersey and New York. After decades of inaction, I helped to finally secure funding for the Hudson River Tunnel piece of Gateway and get shovels in the ground for the Portal North Bridge component. Gateway will help our economy by creating jobs and attracting new businesses. It will also significantly improve the lives of all New Jerseyans, especially in Northern Jersey, by cutting commuting times and enabling more time for family. Congestion on highways and roads in the New York-New Jersey metro area costs $16.5 billion in lost economic activity per year, averaging to about $2,000 per commuter. By shortening train commute times and shifting more residents from their cars to public transportation, we will also reduce congestion on our roads, saving time and money for commuters. In 2021, I also voted for the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will create thousands of jobs in NJ and produce improvements in our transportation network that will maintain New Jersey’s competitiveness here at home and across the globe.
Invest in education and job training. A good-paying job with benefits is born from an excellent education. New Jersey’s best-in-the-nation school system attracts businesses to our region. I am dedicated to working with parents and our local schools to invest in science, technology, engineering, math, and civics. We have great colleges and universities in our district including Montclair State, Fairleigh Dickinson, Drew University, Bloomfield College, and St. Elizabeth’s, as well as fantastic community colleges in Essex, Morris, and Passaic counties. I will continue to help them partner with local employers to provide a direct path to high-skill jobs for recent graduates so we don’t lose our talented students to other states. We need to do much more to make college affordable for everyone who wants the opportunity. For those who do not plan to go to college, I am a strong supporter of apprenticeships and job training opportunities that lead directly to a job. I was proud to pass the CHIPS and Science Act to invest in our STEM workforce, particularly through industry partnerships with our college system. The County College of Morris’s new Advanced Manufacturing Center, which will help to train the competitive workforce needed to build-out manufacturing in our state, is a great example of the type of program that this legislation will fund. I also voted for and passed in the House the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which makes the largest investment in our workforce development system in a generation. This includes a new fund to invest in evidence-based workforce training programs, based on my Expanding Pathways to Employment Act.
Support Small Businesses. Our small businesses suffered as a result of the unprecedented COVID-19 public health crisis. In addition to voting for the American Rescue Plan, I also voted for legislation that established the Paycheck Protection Program, and I’ve worked hard with small businesses in the community and colleagues in Washington over the past three years to make that program as accessible as possible. Small businesses are the backbone of New Jersey’s economy, and in particular, I’m working to help relieve the labor shortages and supply chain crises they are facing. Through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act that has passed the House and is making its way through the Senate, we are making a generational investment in workforce training programs to get small businesses the skilled workers they need to expand and thrive. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are also helping to fix the supply chain problems at our port system and trucking sector, which will reduce costs and delays for businesses.
Help Working Parents Re-Enter the Workforce. The COVID-19 pandemic greatly disrupted families’ access to affordable childcare, which has made it difficult for many working parents to re-enter the labor force. Lack of access to childcare was already a crisis in New Jersey before the pandemic. I championed legislation to ensure that no New Jersey family paid more than 7% of their income on childcare expenses, which passed the House last year. I am continuing to fight for affordable childcare for all working families in New Jersey to ensure that all children have the most nurturing care possible and that parents don’t have to choose between a career and raising a family.