Democrat Emma Mammano of Brick will be challenging current Republican Senator Jim Holzapfel this year for New Jersey's 10th District Seat.

Among the issues she plans to address first, is the opiate and heroin epidemic.

As a mental health counselor, she has used that experience in the field and applied it to help others.

"I've overseen grants, specifically in Brick Township to run prevention programs for youth to keep them from even experimenting with drugs in the first place," said Mammano.

She feels there needs to be more treatment centers made available in our area.

"I've spoken to many people who have had to go down to Florida for example for detox and then they come back home, and there's no continuum of care," said Mammano.

She says most people with a substance abuse issue, have an underlying mental health issue so in order for long-term recovery to occur, this needs to be addressed.

"It's not enough to just put them into a detox or a very specific substance abuse treatment program unless we're dealing with the underlying issues that brought them to addiction in the first place," said Mammano.

A recent report from Advocates for Children of New Jersey you've read on our website or heard on the air, shows Ocean County ranks 18th in the State in education.

Improving that number is also on Mammano's to-do list if elected 10th legislative district senator in November.

The current school funding formula would be harmful to shore districts who would see major budget cuts from this proposal.

Mammano says it's not an ideal plan and needs to be adjusted in accordance with the funding that already exists.

"In 2008 the School Funding Reform Act passed with bi-partisan support," said Mammano. "Then with Governor Christie in control, it was just never funded. I think if we adequately fund, it's not going to be this situation where some districts get the money and others get cuts."

She says investing in our education needs to be at the top of the list in Trenton.

Another one of the goals for Mammano is to continue to provide a boost to the tourism industry here in the 10th, something along with a clean environment is critical to a healthy community.

"Our tourism industry is really huge here," said Mammano. "It actually produces $14,000,000,000.00 annually for our economy here in this district."

She adds that part of her focus would be protecting the resources we already have here.

"It's having clean beaches, clean water and a clean Barnegat bay," said Mammano. "I think that's really crucial."

"We need a senator that's really going to be active in Trenton figuring out how we're going to cope with this and come up with a plan to protect these businesses, infrastructure and personal property so we can continue to thrive and continue to have this tourism industry," said Mammano.

Though Holzapfel has enacted a number of measures to this point though his tenure as the 10th District Senator, she feels he's not around enough.

"I have never seen him in person and most of the people with whom I have interacted have had very little to no interaction with him," said Mammano.

She says there needs to be someone representing the district who's energetic and present enough in Trenton voting in the interest of the people.

In a Republican majority county (Ocean), she feels confident in winning this year because she believes there's more important things than partisanship issues.

"I think everybody can agree that we want action and we want solutions," said Mammano. "It doesn't matter what side of the aisle your on, as long as your doing something that's beneficial for the state."

She also feels confident in winning here due to Governor Chris Christie's poor approval ratings as a Republican governor.

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