Sussex County Freeholder Candidate Susan Williams, NJ-11 Congressional Candidate John Arvanites, NJ-5 Congressional Candidate Adam Gussen, and Sussex County Freeholder Candidate Jim Tighe. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Sussex County Democratic Committee Meeting at the Hampton Diner. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Adam Gussen NJ-5 Congressional Candidate, and NJ-11 Congressional Candidate John Arvanites. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Democratic Congressional Candidates Participate in Q&A With Sussex County Democratic Committee
Friday, July 20, 2012 • 12:04am
HAMPTON TOWNSHIP, NJ – Nearly 40 area residents gathered tonight at the Hampton Diner for the monthly meeting of the Sussex County Democratic Committee.
Many members arrived early for dinner, and then stayed for a Q&A and informational session with Adam Gussen, NJ-5 Congressional Candidate (Republican incumbent is Congressman Scott Garrett), and John Arvanites NJ-11 Congressional Candidate (Republican Incumbent is Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen).
Gussen hails from Teaneck, NJ and Arvanites from Morristown, NJ.
Arvanites, an accountant by trade, explained he has had a lifelong passion for numbers, and, related it to his growing up years with watching his father, who did not have beyond a third grade education, solve complicated math in his head.
He gave numerical comparisons to running in the congressional race.
“The way it’s broken down to win this race is simple,” Arvanites said. He said there are 13 towns in Essex County, with 42,000 registered Democrats, and 25,000 registered Republicans, or a two to one ratio favor.
“If we get 45 percent in Morris in Sussex Counties, 50 percent in Passaic, and we need 60 percent in Essex, and I will be your next congressman in District 11,” said Arvanites.
He looked at the attendees and said, “I need every one of you to give your unconditional support. We need 25 seats to make up the majority to finish what we’ve started. We will take back control of Congress.”
Gussen’s numbers reflected a 60/40 district for Garrett’s area, with a new district requiring a 54/48 district for Gussen to take the seat. He named what he coined “strong Democratic towns” in Bergen County, including Teaneck, Fair Lawn, Hackensack, Lodi, and Maywood.
One of Gussen’s platforms is for “energy independence”, focusing on wind and solar power, and not exporting energy to foreign entities.
Gussen’s campaign manager, Dan Ortega, described the strategy and laid out the program for the next several months.
“This is a winnable race,” Ortega said.
Ortega said they are gathering research against Garrett, participating in local outreach with party leaders, seeking events to attend, and becoming involved in grassroots campaign efforts.
One of participants asked Gussen what he considered safe in terms of atomic energy.
Gussen said atomic energy could be used safely.
“We have to pursue the energy industry in every direction,” said Gussen.
He reiterated he is not an engineer, and would seek help from experts for their opinions.
One of the audience members asked Arvanites if he would have a headquarters in Sussex County.
Arvanites said currently he is closing on a location in Montclair, and has an office in Morristown.
“It’s not out of the question to have anything here, we have to find something,” Arvanites said.
Both candidates focused on healthcare with the Affordable Care Act.
“Healthcare for everyone will be make healthcare less expensive for everyone,” said Gussen.
Arvanites said universal coverage would create better accessibility, universal coverage, better quality of care, and a cost reduction by 50 percent. He said in comparison to other nations, the United States has fallen behind in healthcare, technology, and innovation.
Gussen addressed returning manufacturing to the United States, and to incentivize American facilities. He suggested government grants, and tax abatement to increase profitability.
“You need to invest to get returns, you don’t cut,” Arvanites stated on the topic of education.
He described teachers, police, and fire personnel as currently being "vilified" and "handcuffed".
In addition to Arvanites and Gussen in attendance, Sussex County Democratic Freeholder Candidates Jim Tighe (Wantage) and Susan Williams (Sparta) were also at the event.