I was born in Communist Poland at the height of the Cold War, where I lived with my mother until I was 6 years old. One of my earliest memories is of my mom paying off a corrupt official to get the passports that would allow us to come to America. As young as I was, I understood I was living in a place where some people had all the power and could do whatever they pleased to people who had none. That’s a feeling I’ve never forgotten.
I grew up in Central Jersey, going to public schools, playing baseball, and hoping that someday I could give something back to the country that gave me my freedom. I got that chance while serving President Clinton on his National Security Council working to end some of the 20th Century’s bloodiest humanitarian crises, as the chief advocate for Human Rights Watch, leading a bipartisan effort to end the Bush Administration’s use of torture, and as an Assistant Secretary of State under President Obama, standing up to dictators like Putin and Kim Jong-Un.
Since my election to Congress, I’ve worked just as hard for the people of our district, to get the cost of health care and prescription drugs down, to protect our kids from gun violence, and to preserve our clean water and open spaces. I’ve gotten funding for critical projects like the Gateway Tunnel and Portal Bridge, and to prevent flooding in our communities. I led a successful effort to restore funds the Trump administration cut to protect us from domestic terrorism, including antisemitic violence. I helped pass a bill in the House to regain our state and local tax deduction, and delivered aid to municipalities that has kept our property taxes down.
I’ve worked across party lines to keep America safe, and to preserve our leadership for freedom and security in the world. But I’ve never hesitated to speak out when our leaders fail to keep their oath to the Constitution. I want America to remain the country my family chose when we came here — a place where those we entrust with high responsibility tell the truth, respect the law, and set a good example for our kids.
I want to make sure you are heard, so I’ve already held over 100 public town hall meetings to get your input and report on what I’m doing. I hope to see you at one of them soon, and to continue to earn your support.
Making the Economy Work for New Jersey’s Middle Class
When the pandemic hit us in 2020, tens of millions of Americans lost their jobs and almost every small business in the country shut its doors. Had Congress not done something big and fast, those jobs and businesses would not have come back. Fortunately, we acted. Today, unemployment in America is lower than it has been in decades, and our main street businesses are thriving again. My team and I helped hundreds of small businesses in our district secure PPP loans to get back on their feet, and in the American Rescue Plan, I secured direct federal aid to our municipalities so they could keep our police, fire, and other services going without raising property taxes.
Now, having saved all those jobs, we have to protect the paychecks that go with them. Because consumer spending recovered faster than the supply chains for the goods we buy, inflation is hurting everyone. Our decision to ban Russian oil — which Democrats and Republicans were united in supporting— has increased the price of gas and food. Getting those costs down is my top priority.
Gas prices require the most immediate action. I have supported a temporary tax on big oil companies’ windfall profits to fund rebates to the American people, and using the Defense Production Act to force refineries back to pre-pandemic production. Oil companies are demanding we give them new public lands that won’t produce energy for years; I want them to use — or lose — the leases they are currently sitting on. I’ve also urged getting much tougher on countries like Saudi Arabia to increase oil production; if they won’t do it, we should withdraw the troops that protect their oil fields.
A big lesson of the pandemic is that we can no longer be so dependent on supply chains that start in countries like China, which are hostile to the United States. So I helped write a bipartisan bill that will bring manufacturing of critical technologies like microchips, batteries, solar panels, and drug ingredients back home to our country. It’s time to make it in America again.
In 2021, we kept our promise in Congress to lower health insurance premiums under the Affordable Care Act. I’m working just as hard to lower the cost of prescription drugs by allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with the drug companies. I also opted for legislation to cap the outrageously high cost families pay for child care, so that parents can give their young children the quality care they deserve while getting back in the workforce.
Fair Taxes for the Middle Class
In 2017, the Republican Congress passed a tax bill that took away our state and local tax deductions (SALT), while slashing taxes paid by multinational corporations. This was a deliberate decision to punish states like New Jersey, where we have chosen to pay for better schools and services, by taking away a deduction that had been part of the federal tax code since the days of Abraham Lincoln. Every homeowner in New Jersey was hurt.
I have helped pass two bills in the House to fully restore the SALT deduction, and will keep seizing every possible opportunity to overcome partisan resistance to getting this done.
I’m pro-business and pro-free market, but I believe it’s wrong that we let big companies like Amazon get away with paying no corporate income tax year after year, even as these companies use the roads, ports and airports that middle class Americans pay for to deliver their products. I have voted to impose a minimum corporate tax so that every profitable multinational company at least pays something for the infrastructure, services, and national security our government provides them.
Quality Affordable Healthcare for All
I believe that every American has a right to quality, affordable healthcare. Through the American Rescue Plan, I helped deliver the largest expansion of healthcare coverage since the Affordable Care Act, lowering monthly premiums for millions of middle class Americans who did not previously qualify for ACA coverage by capping health insurance premiums at no more than 8.5% of a person’s income.
Even fully insured families have feared getting gouged by unexpected medical expenses that their insurance company refused to cover. I was a leader in passing legislation to outlaw surprise medical billing, including through my Know the Price Act, which requires providers and insurers to disclose the cost of medical procedures.
Even with the progress we’ve made, the cost of prescription drugs is too high. No senior in America should have to choose between their medication and their mortgage. That’s why I have voted and will continue to fight to allow Medicare to directly negotiate lower drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, and support reforms that limit the profits that middlemen like Pharmaceutical Benefit Managers take at the expense of consumers.
Protecting a Woman’s Right to Choose
Americans are tired of conflict and division and of having our lives upended. The last thing we needed was for a radical Supreme Court to rip up 50 years of settled law that the overwhelming majority of Americans believed should remain in place. Now, with Roe v. Wade repealed, states across America are criminalizing abortions, in some cases from the moment of conception, and even when the life of the mother is at risk.
I do not believe that women and doctors should be treated like criminals for making what are often incredibly difficult and painful decisions about pregnancies and their health care. I cosponsored the House-passed Women’s Health Protection Act, which would enshrine Roe v. Wade into the law of our land once and for all.
I also introduced the Stopping Abortion Bounties Act, which would impose a 100% federal tax on any “bounty” collected under state laws designed to encourage vigilantes to turn in women who have an abortion or try to leave their states to seek health care.
New Jersey codified Roe v. Wade into our state law in 2022. But Republican leaders have promised to pass a nationwide ban on abortion if they regain control of Congress, which would overturn our state law. This election therefore presents a simple choice — codify Roe to restore the standard the Supreme Court repealed, or ban abortion everywhere as the Republicans have proposed. I will fight to codify Roe.
Advocating for Our Seniors
I believe keeping our commitment to our seniors is a sacred trust and will always fight to fully fund Social Security and Medicare so they can support the seniors who spent their lives paying for and earning their benefits.
I support increasing funds to the Social Security Administration so it may better serve beneficiaries, and legislation that would keep the Social Security Trust Fund solvent through the year 2100.
And I’ve fought to make sure Medicare is there for seniors when they need it most by leading the effort to ensure the costs of at-home COVID tests are covered by Medicare, and assisting seniors throughout the 7th District access the full range of Medicare and Social Security benefits they deserve.
Building 21st Century Infrastructure
As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, I helped pass the biggest investment in America’s infrastructure — our roads, ports, rail systems, and water works — since the 1950s. I fought for and secured funding for the Gateway Program, including the new Hudson River Tunnel, and for the Portal Bridge, both of which will increase the speed, frequency, and reliability of our train service to New York, and benefit our economy for decades to come.
Now that the money is there, I will work hard to speed the construction of Gateway, and am pushing to fund other critical projects, such as the Hunter Flyover on NJ Transit’s Raritan Valley Line. I’ve helped deliver more direct to New York Service on the Raritan Valley Line, and will not rest till that service is available during rush hour.
I’ve also worked to deliver funding under the bipartisan infrastructure bill for flood control and water infrastructure in our district. Hurricane Ida reminded us that climate change is not an abstract threat. It is five feet of water in our basements, and small streams turning into raging rivers that devastate our small towns.
I secured full funding to enable the Army Corps of Engineers to finish its flood mitigation project along the Green Brook sub basin in Somerset County, and passed legislation that compelled the Army Corps to resume its critical work on the Rahway River. I directed funding from the federal budget for water and sewer infrastructure improvements in Clinton, Milford, and Wharton, and for drainage projects to combat flooding in Somerville and Berkeley Heights, and am working to secure additional funding for many more municipalities in next year’s budget.
Keeping Our Communities Safe
I believe that keeping our communities safe means giving law enforcement and community leaders the funding and tools they need, while addressing new threats as they arise.
I have supported increasing federal funding for local police departments, and am a co-sponsor of the bipartisan Invest to Protect Act, which directs more of that funding to small town police departments, like those in our district.
Since taking office, I have also been sounding the alarm about the growing threat of domestic terrorism in our country, including from white nationalist and antisemitic extremists. I have supported significant increases in funding to help our local synagogues, churches, temples and mosques protect their congregations, and led a successful effort to restore funding that the Trump administration cut to combat domestic terrorism. As a member of the Committee on Homeland Security, I introduced the Bombing Prevention Act to provide houses of worship, schools, and critical infrastructure additional protection from explosive terrorist attacks.
I have led efforts in Congress to hold social media companies like Facebook accountable for amplifying online content that divides Americans and helps extremism spread. My bill, the Protecting Americans from Dangerous Algorithms Act, would allow victims of terrorism and other real world violence, like the January 6th attack on the Capitol, to sue social media companies, so that they have an incentive to change how they do business.
I have also been working to prepare America for 21st century threats, including by introducing legislation to protect the satellites we depend on for GPS and other services from cyber attacks, hosting cybersecurity awareness briefings for my constituents, and securing federal resources to help local businesses fortify their cyber security infrastructure.
Protecting Our Kids from Gun Violence
We should not be the only country in the world where parents have to fear that their children will be shot dead in school, or in a movie theater, shopping mall, or 4th of July parade. And New Jersey has shown that we do not have to be. Our state has all the problems other states have — mental health problems, crime, and poverty — yet we have one of the lowest rates of gun violence fatalities in the country. The only reason is that we have passed sensible gun laws. I strongly supported the bipartisan gun violence prevention bill that Congress passed after the massacre of school children in Uvalde, Texas, which strengthened background checks for young gun buyers, and closed the so-called “boyfriend loophole” to our background check system, while increasing funding for mental health.
I believe we should take additional steps, including:
- Require violent history checks for every gun sale, with a reasonable waiting period.
- Restore the previous ban on military style assault weapons, so that our police are not outgunned by mass shooters, or at least increase the age of purchase to 21.
- Require safe storage of a firearm in homes with a child or person with a mental illness.
- Enact a nationwide red flag law that enables law enforcement to remove guns, with a court order, from people who pose an imminent threat of harm to others or to themselves.
Fighting Corruption at Home & Abroad
My campaign does not accept a single cent of corporate PAC money and I have made eliminating the special interest dark money that distorts our elections a personal mission. I strongly supported HR1, legislation to root out corruption from our political system and to protect election integrity. I will continue to champion comprehensive campaign finance reform, and an end to fraudulent political fundraising.
I have also spent my career as a leader in the fight against global corruption. As the founder and co-Chair of the Congressional Counter Kleptocracy Caucus, I am building on a lifetime of work standing up to dictators. My bipartisan ENABLERS Act would close the loopholes that allow kleptocrats, oligarchs, and tyrants like Putin to launder money in the United States.
I also passed legislation in the House to enable the United States not just to freeze but to seize the yachts, jets, and properties of Putin’s Russian cronies, and to use the proceeds to help rebuild Ukraine after the war.
Protecting Our Environment
We have a responsibility to protect the natural and open spaces in our district, for the health of our environment, the success of our economy, and the benefit of future generations.
Since my election in 2018, I have worked with landowners and environmentalists to stop the PennEast Pipeline, an unnecessary project that would have brought no benefit to New Jersey, while ruining the lives and livelihoods of Hunterdon County farmers and landowners along the Delaware River. We succeeded, and can celebrate that those properties are now safe.
I continue to advocate for the preservation and restoration of our district’s wild and natural spaces. My Protect and Restore America’s Estuaries Act was signed into law under President Trump and improves water quality and ecological integrity for our nation’s most significant watersheds, including parts of the Raritan, Rahway, Elizabeth, and Hackensack Rivers in New Jersey. I worked successfully to get the Musconetcong River fully protected as a National Wild and Scenic River.
America is already paying tens of billions of dollars a year fixing the damage caused by a warming climate. I believe that climate rescue is possible and urgently needed. We have the technology and ingenuity to do it. I want America, not China or any other country, to lead the world to a clean energy future, and I want New Jersey to lead America.
The bipartisan infrastructure bill that I helped pass will fund investments in electric vehicle charging, in upgrading our national electricity grid to handle the extra load, and to spur new technological developments. I have voted for and will continue to support more far reaching legislation to help America to win the race to clean energy, through research and development, by providing incentives to utilities to use renewables, and by imposing fees on imports from polluting industries abroad.
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