2013 Meet the Candidates Series Continues, Week of May 12th
For this week’s column, I am honored to introduce to you Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini. Assemblywoman Angelini represents the 11th Legislative District.
The Assemblywoman attended East Tennessee State University where she received a Bachelor of Social Welfare and then went on to get her Master in Public Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She has been on the General Assembly since 2008 and sits on the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee as well as the Assembly Human Services Committee. Currently she serves as Deputy Conference Leader in the Assembly Republican Caucus.
The following is my interview with the Assemblywoman:
Sanders: For those who do not know, you were the prime sponsor of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights. Since the law was passed do you feel it has been able to change the way children treat each other in school and eliminate a lot of bullying? Why or why not?
Assemblywoman Angelini: The Anti-Bullying Act has helped reduce bullying by requiring school employees to take action in addressing harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB) behaviors which can have terrible consequences. The ultimate goal of my legislation that Governor Christie signed into law is to have a climate change in schools which encourages positive behaviors and discourages HIB. I am very concerned that there was much confusion regarding the actual intent of the law, which led to some overreaction among education professionals. Most recently, I have heard that schools are settling in with this issue and have stated to me on several occasions that they are thankful for this legislation.
Sanders: What do you feel are your greatest legislative or personal accomplishments thus far?
Assemblywoman Angelini: My greatest personal accomplishment is my family -my husband and I have two wonderful, successful children and three beautiful grandchildren. Also, the years I have invested in leading Prevention First, a nonprofit, which works to keep our children, families and communities healthy, safe and drug-free has been a personal endeavor of mine. As for my legislative accomplishments, I am most proud of the fact that I have joined with Governor Christie to help put our state back on the path to prosperity. After a decade of ever increasing taxes and runaway government spending that made our state increasingly unaffordable I am pleased that I was able to work with the Governor to reduce spending and block attempts at raising taxes on New Jersey’s overburdened citizens. I am also extremely proud of the legislation that I was able to shepherd through to completion, including the Lifeline legislation, Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights and the Suicide Prevention bill.
Sanders: In lieu of the recent school shootings do you feel New Jersey should reform its mental health laws or are guns the real issue? Why do you feel that way and what should be done to prevent a similar tragedy in New Jersey?
Assemblywoman Angelini: Any attempt to prevent similar tragedies must include addressing the mental health system which clearly failed these unstable individuals. There are far too many portions of our current mental health system that needs to be strengthened. The families of those suffering from mental illness must have the support they need and we must insure that there is treatment of all levels, available for those with a mental illness. As we saw in the Boston Marathon bombing, enacting more stringent gun control laws will not be able to stop every individual or group that is intent on inflicting harm.
Sanders: A lot of your constituents were affected by Hurricane Sandy last year. Please articulate as to what you have done since the storm to aide with the cleanup process? Also, which programs are currently available to those who are still in need of assistance?
Assemblywoman Angelini: When the storm first hit, I was on daily conference calls with the Governor and his Cabinet which helped me relay information to my constituents and municipal officials. I also toured several towns in my District which were impacted by Sandy and have advocated for my municipalities and constituents that have needed assistance. For instance, I have been working with my colleagues, Senator Jennifer Beck and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, to secure FEMA funding to rebuild the Ocean Grove boardwalk which was destroyed by Sandy. I regularly attend the Monmouth County Long Term Recovery Group and I serve on their executive committee which seeks to provide and coordinate recovery services to Monmouth County residents affected by disaster.
There are still many resources available for storm victims, resources to assist the rebuilding of their homes and businesses along with resources for their emotional rebuilding. If not sure where to begin, people can start by contacting my legislative office at AswAngelini@njleg.org or (732) 531-1045. The Governor’s Office of Recovery and Rebuilding (GORR) can be found at www.state.nj.us/gorr. Affected residents can also contact FEMA at www.fema.gov or by phone at (800) 621-3362. Those needing emotional support can call NJ’s Hope & Healing project at 877-294-HELP. No one should feel alone during this stressful time.
Sanders: In a short statement, please advise why your constituents should vote for you and what you wish to accomplish during your next term if you are reelected?
Assemblywoman Angelini: While I am proud of my accomplishments, there is a lot of work still to be done in Trenton. I feel that I have served and will continue to serve (if re-elected) all those living in District 11 with honesty, integrity and personal accountability. I pledge to continue working to make NJ more affordable by reducing government spending and fighting to reduce the tax burden on our taxpayers. A key element of this effort must include enacting the rest of the Governor’s Tool Kit for Property Tax Reform.
Sanders: If your constituents wanted to reach out to you and ask you questions about your positions and/or how to volunteer on your campaign, who should they reach out to?
If you are a candidate and interested in being a part of my weekly Meet the Candidates column, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.