The 2022 midterm election was a big deal. The GOP now controls the lower house. Nancy Pelosi will no longer be speaker, but the Democrats control the Senate, which many didn’t expect. Joe Biden is still President, last time I checked, and 2024 doesn’t seem that far away now. New Jersey has a new congressman named Tom Kean Jr., who will soon be going to D.C. Now what? What are the issues that matter most to 9 million New Jersey residents, and what do our leaders in Washington and Trenton need to do this year and beyond? Here we go:
It’s real, no matter what President Biden may say or think. Democrats didn’t want to admit it, but it is not only gas prices—a lot of things cost more. The Republicans? While they blame the Democrats for inflation, I don’t see their plan to fight it, so let’s get real about what Congress can and can’t do to fight inflation and stop all the finger-pointing.
I recently interviewed Governor Phil Murphy on NJ PBS, and he didn’t buy my comments about wealthy New Jerseyans leaving the state for Florida (with no income tax) and the Carolinas. New Jersey is NOT affordable for many, and while the ANCHOR property tax program is nice, a lot more needs to be done.
Former President Donald Trump’s gift to New Jersey, including to Republicans who voted for him, was to limit state and local tax deductions (SALT) to $10,000. It was his way of saying “screw you” to so-called blue states, where property and income taxes are high. Congress must address SALT, but the Republican House doesn’t seem anxious to do that. Congressman-elect Kean, what do you say?
Democracy in peril
January 6 was very real and very violent. It was an insurrection—an effort to overthrow our government and stop the peaceful transfer of power. That seems obvious, but in a recent interview I conducted with Republican state senator Edward Durr, he argued that January 6 was a group of protestors challenging an election. He says we should “move on” and put January 6 and denying elections in the past. Here’s the problem: We can’t move on unless we acknowledge how horrific January 6 was. Election denial must end now, and political violence must be condemned. Period.
The U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade and moving the abortion issue back to the states is obviously a big deal. New Jersey has codified the right to abortion. In 2023, expect to see more women from states that have banned or limited abortion access come here seeking reproductive services. That will put a strain on our health care system and must be addressed.
Our state and nation must continue to acknowledge the connection between accessible, affordable, high-quality childcare and our economy. People—particularly women—simply can’t be gainfully employed if their childcare needs are not addressed. We need to pay childcare workers a lot more and continue to subsidize lower-income New Jerseyans who can’t afford the rising costs of childcare. To do anything less is shortsighted.
That’s my 2023 political agenda. What’s yours? Write to me at [email protected].
Steve Adubato, PhD, is the author of five books including his latest, Lessons in Leadership. He is also an Emmy® Award–winning anchor on Thirteen/WNET (PBS) and NJ PBS. Check out steveadubato.org. Steve has appeared on CNN, FOX5 in NY and NBC’s Today Show, and his “Lessons in Leadership” video podcast with co-host Mary Gamba airs Sundays at 10 am on News 12+. Steve also provides executive leadership coaching and seminars for a variety of corporations and organizations both regionally and nationally. For more information, visit stand-deliver.com.