Dear Editor:

Black Lives Matter So Let’s Take Action on School Choice and Legalization

This November voters are facing what many experts call the most important election of their lifetime, and I agree. On the ballot we have candidates and constitutional questions which can ultimately make a huge difference in Union County’s diverse minority communities.

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  1. Support candidates like me who support School Choice
  2. Vote Yes to the legalization of Marijuana (Question 1)

Too many children in our own community are not being given a chance at success. We have needlessly confined students who are hungry for a good education within invisible boundaries that force them into failing schools. Your opportunity for a good education should not be determined by the zip code you were born in.

In Plainfield and Elizabeth particularly, there are better choices for schools within a matter of a few miles right here in Union County. If we truly cared about people of color, who are the majority of most of these communities, why would we not expand our definition of inclusion by introducing school choice reforms?  I pledge, if elected, to put choice policies at the forefront of my platform.

Second, by voting “Yes” on question 1 and legalizing possession of small amounts of recreational marijuana we can eliminate the disparity of people of color being put into jail versus their white counterparts despite similarities in the percentage of each group of people who use marijuana.

For example, in a New York Times study found among neighborhoods where people called about marijuana at the same rate, the police almost always made arrests at a higher rate in the area with more black residents. In fact, “In Brooklyn, officers in the precinct covering Canarsie arrested people on marijuana possession charges at a rate more than four times as high as in the precinct that includes Greenpoint, despite residents calling 311, the city’s help line, and 911 to complain about marijuana at the same rate, police data show. The Canarsie precinct is 85% black. The Greenpoint precinct is 4% black.” If question 1 passes, then police will have the ability to focus on other initiatives such as community policing and other efforts meant to unite our towns.

I hope you take the time so support my candidacy and effectively “School Choice” and support Ballot Question 1. By doing these two things, we can start undoing the divide that has been placed people of color for decades and start uniting people despite the invisible lines that make up our zip codes.

Joe Sarno
Republican Candidate for Union County Freeholder
Chairman Young Republican Federation of New Jersey