Democrats looking to make a splash in the 9th District State Assembly Race
Trying to ride the momentum of Governor Christie's poor approval ratings, two Democratic hopefuls feel confident in defeating 9th district Republicans Brian Rumpf and Diane Gove for their assembly seats in November.
The 9th District covers parts of Ocean County as well as Burlington and Atlantic Counties.
Among their top goals is making changes to educational measures.
As an educator, having been a teacher and school administrator herself, Jill Dobrowansky says the results of standardized tests shouldn't be tied to teacher evaluations.
"I don't think it's fair for our teachers to have 30-percent of their overall rating tied to a high stakes test that our students are being stressed to take," said Dobrowansky.
She says these tests also take away valuable teaching time inside the classroom where students can participate in critical thinking exercises.
Communications expert and Army Veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, Ryan Young says change is also needed for the cost of higher education because he feels that's the reason so many millennials are fleeing the Garden State and beginning careers elsewhere.
"We need to sit down with the education department and things like the (New Jersey Education Association) NJEA and we need to figure out what needs to be done to bring those costs down," said Young.
As they look to upset republicans Diane Gove and Brian Rumpf, another issue they say they'll tackle if elected is the heroin and opioid epidemic.
Dobrowansky says there needs to be more treatment centers for addicts seeking help.
"There are limited resources in the area, if they want to stay in the area to get the help that they need," said Dobrowansky. "I think we also need to go a step further and work with the hospitals and the different organizations who are starting addiction treatment centers and homes."
Young concurs but says addicts have to want to get clean.
"We want to make sure that these people are actually wanting to get the help," said Young. "If they're not wanting the help, they're not going to take it seriously and at that point you're wasting the taxpayers dollars."
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Dobrowansky says another one of their top concerns now is the future economic effects regarding the closing of the Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant in Lacey.
"That's responsible for 45-percent of their tax income every year," said Dobrowansky. "That would decimate Lacey Township if nothing was done with that plant."
She hopes to work with town and state officials to bring in sources of renewable energy such as a solar plant or a wind farm and maintain a steady balance of jobs.
Young, who served with the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, says while their opponents have sponsored bills to help vets with healthcare and housing, it's not enough.
"If your going to sit there and claim you're a pro-veteran member of the assembly, why aren't you out there doing this and concentrating on their healthcare at that point then too?," said Young. "Why aren't you making sure that there's more facilities and more benefits and making sure that we're doing our job for such a large influx in our state?"
He says there needs to be more long-term treatment facilities for the large amount of vets in our area.
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