Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno coming to Berkeley Saturday for “Coffee with Kim” event
Here's a chance for you to tell Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno what you think is good about New Jersey, and what would make it better. Have coffee with her Saturday morning, at the Holiday City Diner on Mule Road in Berkeley Township.
There is also an upcoming GOP picnic that she plans to attend, but she says that the diner is a nice place to start her tour. "Everyone is just very friendly down there," Guadagno says, but she has a more serious purpose than just sampling the cuisine.
"What we're trying to do is sit down with the people in New Jersey, and ask them what their concerns are, and what they think we should be doing in this state," the shore native said. "Not enough of us 'politicians', if you want to call us politicians, spend enough time with the people that we represent."
She's hopeful that this first foray will lead to future sit-downs all over New Jersey.
"I plan on doing some more," Guadagno said. "We're going to see how the one in Berkeley goes. I just plan on getting out all over the state of New Jersey and talking to people in diners on Saturday mornings."
For those interested in coming to the event this Saturday or any future ones you can email an RSVP to info@BuildingABetterNJ.com. You can look forward to some lively chat, but you won't get a speech.
"When you speechify, your not listening," said Guadagno. "The idea here is to probably open up with a few short topics to get people thinking."
She's aware that folks in New Jersey's neighborhoods are just as aware of general conditions as she is, and she says that summer is a pleasant time to learn new perspectives on the issues.
"I'm going into the fall starting to talk about the problems that real people are having," said Guadagno. "The group I'm working with, Building A Better New Jersey Together, is hoping to find some solutions to those problems."
So, why Berkeley Township, and why a diner on Mule Road?
"We wanted to find a diner that was centrally located in Berkeley and it sounded like a great place to go," Guadagno enthused. "Holiday Diner! How can you not love that?"
"I just want to sit down, have a great cup of coffee and spend some time with the people that are going to be in the diner anyway," said Guadagno.
When she goes to a diner, what does she order? That depends on whether it's business or pleasure.
"When I go to the diner it depends, if I'm on vacation it's a waffle," said Guadagno. "If I'm not on vacation, it's fruit."
Tell us your favorite dining foods in the comments section.
"The summer is a good time to get started too because this will lead into the fall," said Guadagno. "Saturday mornings, if it's rainy, I'll hope to have a good turnout. If it's sunny, everybody should go to the beach."
But before you go to the beach, a few minutes of chat with the LIeutenant Governor gives you a rare glimpse to bring your local concerns to the state level.
As honorary chair of Building a Better New Jersey Together, she says that the group offers an opportunity for residents to get heard.
"The group is designed to address some of the issues that are facing New Jerseyans today," said Guadagno. "It's designed to flesh out some of those issues. It's designed to try and come up with solutions to some of those issues."
"Talk about them, talk about them. We may not always agree on what the answer is but if we don't learn what the problems are and what the real situation is that faces everybody who comes to the diner, then how are we going to solve them?" said Guadagno.
With this series lifting off with its first installment on Saturday, and with more to possibly come, could there be a run for Governor next year for Kim Guadagno?
"Right now it's way too early, you know, everybody's focused on the presidential [election]...Right now, what we want to do is come up with solutions for all of us and figure out what comes next at the right time," said Guadagno. "And that's probably after this presidential election."
But, the information gained and problems solved by these series could come in handy when that decision is made.
"That's the idea, that whether it's for me or for some other candidate, certainly this isn't going to go to waste," Guadagno continued. "We have a group of people that are working really hard to raise the issues, research the issues and try to come up with them out of the box solutions to those issues which will be open to everyone."
"I've spent a lot of time traveling up and down the state of New Jersey," she reflected. "I've heard a lot of problems and I think that we can solve many of them or let me put it in another way...I choose to believe that we can solve these problems."
She said it's all about working on solutions together.
And Guadagno says she takes her coffee black.
How about you?