Central Jersey voters tonight saw first-hand the stark differences between Seventh Congressional candidate Leonard Lance and his opponent Linda Stender on the issue most important to voters - the economy.
"Our economy is in peril. Taxes are at an all-time high, and the Wall Street crisis has many families concerned about their investments and retirement future," said Leonard Lance. "This campaign for Congress is about who can best deliver fundamental change and reform to Washington. Fundamental tax reform that will allow New Jersey's working families to keep more of their hard-earned money. Fundamental fiscal reform to stop the wasteful spending and borrowing that has wreaked havoc on our economy. And fundamental ethics reform to stop the partisanship and bring honor back to the halls of Congress. There are very real differences between Linda Stender and I on these issues of change and reform and I look forward to debating these differences tonight."
During tonight's debate, Linda Stender made a number of outrageous and false statements. Here are the facts:
FACT: Linda Stender has voted for 67 tax increases (public records).
FACT: Taxes went up 62 percent when Linda Stender was mayor and councilwoman (public records).
FACT: Leonard Lance is a thoughtful, independent, bipartisan legislator. Former Governor Dick Codey said, "we'd be better off as a state and a society" with more like Leonard Lance (Star-Ledger, 3/30/08).
FACT: Leonard Lance fought the Whitman Administration and its costly $2.8 billion pension bond borrowing plan. Lance was called, "one of the few Republicans to oppose Governor Whitman's proposal" (NYT, 7/26/02). "Through his defiance, he [Lance] saw the party leadership deny him the chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee" (New York Times, 12/3/03).
FACT: Linda Stender has taken campaign contributions from "Big Oil," including $7,500 from Conoco Phillips (FEC reports).
FACT: Leonard Lance didn't support Bush's Social Security plan. He never has. Lance opposes privatizing Social Security. Lance opposed Senate Resolution No. 94 because it was silent on the issues of raising the retirement age and increasing taxes on Social Security recipients - two policies Lance adamantly opposes.
FACT: Linda Stender has called for increased taxes on Social Security benefits and supports raising the retirement age to qualify for Social Security benefits (New York Times, 10/22/06).
FACT: Linda Stender refuses to sign a federal earmark reform pledge and is embroiled in scandal for her participation in the so-called MAC program - a secret slush fund that gave key legislative leaders sole discretion over millions of taxpayer dollars in state money (Time Magazine, 10/8/08).
"Tonight voters saw the very real difference between the candidates," said Lance for Congress campaign manager Amanda Woloshen. "The fact that Linda Stender refused to swear off raising taxes if elected to Congress is shocking but not surprising considering her career in Trenton and Fanwood of voting for more spending and higher taxes. Leonard Lance has a proven record in the Legislature of lowering taxes and fighting wasteful spending."