Monmouth Assemblywoman Visits Israel and Returns Inspired
Monmouth County Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande returns from a trip to Israel sponsored by the American Jewish Committee inspired to apply some of what she's learned in New Jersey.
Casagrande credits Israel's government policies on immigration, research and development and military service in leading to a tech boom there.
She says "some of it comes from having a lot of young people come out of elite technical units in the army. A lot of it comes from having a Chief Scientist Office and the government really investing in fostering research and development. They have great [business] incubator programs."
Casagrande says she'll be implementing some of the ideas in her Policy Committee and says we could soon see legislation from her office reflecting some of those ideas. "There are great lessons for New Jersey in the need to integrate our research and business community because I don't think we've done a great job of making sure our educational institutions, which are publicly funded, as well as our businesses are working together, she says."
Casagrande also adds that the trip helped her gain an understanding about Israel, Zionism as well as the Palestinian issues first hand. She believes the knowledge she's gained will help her understand some of the concerns of her 11th district constituents as well as the U.S. and Garden State's role as part of the International landscape.
She says there are a lot of officials from both sides of the political Isle lobbying hard for U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Mid East regions. However, she says she learned "when we do withdraw as Americans, as leaders, what we do is create a power vacuum and we have to think about globally who will step into that vacuum to lead? Do we want Putin stepping into that vacuum?"
She says the trip also gives her "the opportunity to explain to people the need to maintain a strong national defense, the need to keep integrated with the world, the need to understand that the New Jersey economy is part of a global economy."
Watch Asw. Casagrande Shares Experiences from the Gaza Strip on PBS. See more from NJToday.