2013 Meet the Candidates Series Continues, Week of September 15th
In ongoing effort to introduce 2013 candidates to the voting public, I started a weekly column called Meet the Candidates. In essence, Save Jerseyans, it is a past day stump speech updated for the virtual world.
For this week’s column, I am honored to introduce to you to Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman from District 16.
Senator Bateman is a life-long resident of Somerset County, New Jersey. After attending public school he went on to get his Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from Ithaca College and then he got his Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall University School of Law. Currently he is an attorney/partner at DiFrancesco, Bateman, Coley, Yospin, Kunzman, Davis and Lehrer, P.C. Senator Bateman has an extensive political career which includes being on the Branchburg Township Committee from 1983 to 1988, the Mayor of Branchburg Township for 1986, a Somerset County Freeholder from 1988 to 1994, on the General Assembly from 1994 to 2007 and in 2008 he was elected to the Senate where he remains today.
My interview with Senator Bateman is below the fold…
Sanders: What are your greatest legislative or personal accomplishments thus far?
Senator Bateman: I don’t know if I can pick any single accomplishment during my term in the state legislature. I am proud of my record on environmental issues. Over the years, I have sponsored numerous bills for Green Acres funding, alternative energy programs, “green” buildings legislation, and supported countless other pro-environment initiatives. I have worked on legislation to reduce taxes, reform our municipal services, provide local governments with the tools to share services, reduce costly mandates and work for property tax reform. There are so many issues facing the citizens of New Jersey and the 16th legislative district today, it is difficult to focus on specific issues. I know that serving the constituents, whether it be through new laws or help in dealing with everyday problems, is my goal in representing the citizens of the 16th District.
Sanders: Do you feel New Jersey has sufficiently effective laws in place regarding mental health or do we over-regulate those who are grappling with mental disorders?
Senator Bateman: I am not sure you could ever get a consensus on whether there are too many laws or not enough laws on any issue in our state. I believe we must protect and help those in our community who suffer from mental illnesses and I do not believe they are over- regulated. As legislators, we must be willing to change things that are not working and be open to new ideas and initiatives; therefore we can never stop trying to improve the lives of our constituents whether that is through amendments or new laws.
Sanders: What has been done or is being done to make sure towns in your district such as Millstone and Manville which have been flooded for years are protected from the next storm?
Senator Bateman: Much of what can be done to protect those towns from future flooding is under the jurisdiction of the federal government. On the state level we are working with our federal representatives to complete the NJ Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration Study which will provide flood control proposals in the Millstone River Basin. We are also working with our federal representatives to receive funding through the governmental aid provided through Superstorm Sandy for buy-outs in our district. Although shore areas were devastated by this storm, municipalities such as Manville and Millstone have suffered through 7 disaster declarations and deserve assistance as well.
Sanders: If your constituents wanted to reach out to you and ask you questions about your positions or how to volunteer, to whom can they reach out?
Senator Bateman: Constituents are encouraged to call, write or request a meeting at any time. My office staff is always there to assist with information or assistance with difficulties in dealing with governmental bureaucracy. I am always available to meet one on one with constituents who need help or want to provide information on legislative matters pending before the Legislature.
Sanders: In a short statement, please advise why your constituents should vote for you and what you wish to accomplish if you are re-elected?
Senator Bateman: I believe I represent the voters in the 16th District fairly and responsibly. With the advent of email, constituents can let me know how they feel on a specific issue with the click of a button. I feel I have been responsive to the citizens of our state in the past and will continue to do so if re-elected. Whether it is a personal matter of getting through to the Commission on Motor Vehicles about a license problem or struggling with property tax reform and school funding, I want to continue to work for the citizens or our state to make New Jersey a better State.
If you are a candidate or with a campaign and you’re interested in being featured in my weekly Meet the Candidates article, Save Jerseyans, then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.