Howard Kleinhendler Wins Democratic Primary for Assembly: Candidate’s Statement

howard kleinhendlerEXCLUSIVE: I am running for the Assembly in the 30th District to help bring needed change to the way New Jersey is conducting its business. We are still in challenging times. The economy has not yet fully recovered, our property taxes are way too high and unemployment is over 9%. Instead of tax cuts for millionaires, while placing more burdens on the backs of the middle class, we need to focus on building New Jersey into a better state for everyone, not just the privileged few.

First, we have to lower the crushing property tax burden that is affecting our economic recovery. The State must direct more funds to municipalities so they can balance their budgets without further burdening homeowners.  One way to achieve this is to force school districts to consolidate where possible to avoid duplication and maximize efficiency. And, Abbott districts should be dismantled.  Statistics show that increased spending for those districts do not meaningfully increase graduation rates.  The residents of the 30th district cannot afford to subsidize the education of students in Newark.

Similarly, smaller towns should be compelled to merge resources such as police, trash collection and disposal and fire fighting. The consolidation of services will cut expenses and free up sorely needed funds that instead would be raised through increases to property taxes.

Second, we must create revenues by attracting private investment to New Jersey through tax incentives and loan guaranties. Our unemployment rate is above the national average, our state corporate debt has recently been downgraded and our retail and commercial spaces are 20% vacant. As an Assemblyman, I will strive to lure both US and foreign businesses to invest in the district. Lakewood’s large Jewish population, with a young and dedicated workforce, is an attractive venue for Jewish businesses. If a US company, like IDT, can maintain operations in Jerusalem and provide employment to hundreds of kollel students and their wives, it and companies like it, both US and foreign, can set up operations in our district and provide sorely needed jobs and tax revenue. 

Third, we need to maintain Medicaid and Jersey Care for those needy families who can’t afford private medical insurance. The Republican plan to cut back on these programs (i.e., lowering eligibility for a family of three from annual income of $25,000 a year to just $5,000 a year) will drive more patient care to our already over-crowded hospital emergency rooms which cost is ultimately borne by the State.  It is far cheaper to treat people in a doctor’s office than in an emergency room. In the end, the cuts to these programs do not save money.

Fourth, we require meaningful pension reform. That means reviewing all pensions and eliminating double-dipping or unnecessary disability payments to people who are perfectly capable of finding full employment. It means rolling back excessive increases that went far beyond increased performance or reasonable cost of living adjustments. That entails tough negotiations with unions, in a professional and respectable way, where both sides together make the difficult choices to both maintain pensions for those who truly deserve them while eliminating waste and further increases that the State simply can no longer afford.  The Republican strategy of bullying the unions and scape-goating hard-working teachers, police and firefighters, has been entirely unproductive. We need skilled negotiation and mutual respect.  Not a street brawl.  

Fifth, we need to lead in research and development of alternative energy. Five-dollar gas is around the corner and it will stifle our economic recovery. New Jersey should lead by example by investing in wind and solar power and provide economic incentives to businesses willing to take advantage of these technologies. Many Lakewood families have installed solar panels financed in part by federal and state tax incentives. We need to continue these types of programs and reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.

In sum, in the Assembly, I plan to pursue a course of practical solutions that will make our district and our state a better place. This year’s election is unique in that, as a result of redistricting, both former incumbent Assemblymen, Messrs. Dancer and Malone, are not running. This leaves two seats vacant. The Republicans have put forward two candidates from Wall Township, Sean Kean and David Rible. Neither of these guys has ever represented Lakewood, nor have they ever lived here. While they can surely get a crash course about Lakewood from Senator Bob Singer, they will never know first-hand what’s it’s like to live a Kollel life or have to come up with Yeshiva tuition. 

I am an alumnus of BMG and learned in kollel for five years before going to law school. I’ve lived in Lakewood since 1987 and have raised my five children here who all went through the local Mosdot. Are we really best served by having two Republicans from Wall Township representing Lakewood in the Assembly? Or, would it better to have at least one assemblyman who actually lives in Lakewood, has to drive through our congested streets, worry at night about gang violence and stand on line in the Co-Op behind struggling young families who can barely pay their grocery bill. It seems to me that having one your neighbors in office will result in better advocacy for local needs.

Finally, while many who visit this site affiliate with the Republican Party, I would ask you to look at my candidacy and evaluate me on the issues and not simply by party. While Governor Christie may be a Republican, the State Senate and Assembly have Democratic majorities and every reputable analyst has agreed that the new redistricting will permit the Democrats to maintain their majority for quite some time in the future. It makes sense to elect someone like me, who can push an agenda that will be embraced by a majority that can deliver results, rather than having two more Wall Township Republican Assemblymen sitting in the minority. As I’m sure your mother must have told you, it’s never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket.

Over the next several months I plan to hold town meetings in the community and other open forums where I can listen to your ideas and get to know you better. 

I look forward to a spirited campaign and hope that you will ultimately trust me with your support this November.

Howard Kleinhendler

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Are we to help a Democrat Majority which last time they had complete power almost forced through a bill which would make this state like Sodom?
    Do we really want what is happening in NY to come to NJ?

  2. You threw me off with your first paragraph. You want to eliminate tax cuts for the wealthy. Which means you want to RAISE TAXES. You then go on to say you want to attract businesses to Nj. If you raise taxes you will not attract ant business to NJ. Ill stick to the republican party.

  3. To #3

    You really should know a bit what you’re talking about before you type! Eliminating tax cuts to the wealthy is not raising taxes. It merely takes away some of the benefits some wealthy people have had until now. It also has nothing to do with attracting businesses. “Wealthy” refers to individuals whereas we are talking about BUSINESS which will need to pay taxes. The “wealthy” owner/partner can live in Iowa as far as I’m concerned.

  4. to number 4
    You are obviously a tremendous liberal with no business experience. When businesses see that they are raising taxes( ELIMINATING WELL DESERVED TAX BREAKS FOR THE OVER TAXED IS RAISING TAXES) they flee the state in droves. As it is, the wealthy pay almost 90 percent of state taxes. If you raise taxes on them they will continue to go to florida where there is no income tax. Dont fall victim to the liberal ideolegy.

  5. Howie, I am a registered Republican but your message resonates with me. I have no doubt that on the many social and moral issues you will take the moral high ground touted by the republicans. As to the great majority of what you wrote I wholeheartedly agree. Additionally I know you will do all you can for your constituents. You are a good and upright individual with a proven track record. Everyone will surely attest that you are a mentch. How can we possibly go wrong with voting for you? As for labels (R) (D) does it really make such a difference? Perhaps the two most beloved and more importantly, most effective Committeemen here in Lakewood are Meir Lichtenstein and Menashe Miller. (D) and (R) indeed. Does anyone question their dedication to the people of Lakewood? I say emphatically. KLEINHENDLER FOR ASSEMBLY!

  6. #6
    I like the way you wrote about “labels”.
    lichtenstein (D) and Miller (R) are a perfect example of bi-partisan government. They are beloved, revered and work so well together event thought they are are on two different sides of the aisle.

  7. He has to come clean on moral issues if he is to win (BTW we are in a new district of which 55% is lakewood which indecates that he get a non-orthdox Dem base out to vote the orthedox can get him in with no problem)

  8. If he agreed with our towns values, let him run as a republican. He lost my vote when he towed the party line and said he would have voted for Obamacare had he won the congress seat.

  9. I just want to warn people.

    After being a keen observer of Mr Kleinhendler for over a year, it is very obvious that Mr Kleinhendler changes his position.

    He ran last year for Congress, on a platform of supporting President Obama. I couldn’t care less if he was the biggest Tzadik and he graduated from Brisk with Semicha from the Vilna Gaon. His policies are anti-American, and he will continue to push this Great State of NJ towards bankruptcy together with his liberal friends, just as Obama is doing to the entire country.

    America voted for Obama in 2008 because it felt good to do it. Not because they used their brains. Let’s not make the same mistake again.

    Vote with your brains, NOT YOUR EMOTIONS.

    Vote straight Republican.

  10. #3 said
    Eliminating tax cuts to the wealthy is not raising taxes. It merely takes away some of the benefits some wealthy people have had until now

    Huh?Not paying higher taxes is a “benefit” for the wealthy???If you want to cut “benefits” you cut welfare handouts.You don’t raise taxes.

  11. As a CPA and a buisnessman I know exectly what he means.

    Many buisnesses have built in tax breaks that allow them to pay taxes at a lower rate than the average middle class worker. For example (capital gains tax rate for hedge fund managers, real estate-depreciation deduction, def gain on exchange, no tax on refinanceings etc….) the list goes on and on. In the meantime the middle class gets squeezed.

    Make no mistake I am also benefitting from these tax breaks but I like to call a spade a spade.

    However, I disagree with his approach to entitlement programs. I wan’t to see a realistic plan whereby people have an incentive to come off programs. As it stands now programs are so high that entry level salaries can’t compete and that doesn’t make any sense.

    Perhaps if names of people on programs are public after a certain amount of years on the programs it would be an incentive.

Comments are closed.