By Scott Sipprelle (Published in today’s Asbury Park Press)
The Asbury Park Press’ recent editorial endorsement in the 12th Congressional District race correctly described the contest between 12-year incumbent Rep. Rush Holt and me as providing voters a stark choice between two very different candidates with different visions about the future direction of our country.
Beyond that, the editorial read more like one of Rush Holt’s negative campaign attacks against me – nasty in tone and short on facts. I thank the editorial board for allowing me the opportunity to respond and set the record straight.
First, I encourage everyone reading this to visit my website at www.supportscott2010.com and read my comprehensive “Blueprint for Renewal.” I am confident they will find it to be the most detailed and thoughtful series of position papers put forth by any congressional candidate in the country this year.
I set out to run a positive campaign of ideas and I am proud to have done just that.
Now, on to the specific issues:
The editorial board falsely accused me of opposing insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. This is a completely fabricated claim that has been promulgated by Holt. In fact, my website lays out a novel plan for large national insurance pools of “uninsureds,” grouped by medical specialty that would be subsidized by federal dollars.
The editorial board also parroted one of Holt’s misleading attacks against me regarding unemployment benefits, quoting a statement they claim was extracted from my campaign website. My campaign website has never had any reference whatsoever to unemployment benefits, another mistake that indicates a sloppy research effort by the Press or an excessive reliance on talking points distributed by Holt.
The truth is that while congressional Democrats have offered to extend benefits indefinitely and congressional Republicans have called for cutting them off immediately, I have discussed a sensible compromise that is both compassionate and fiscally responsible, while focusing on the critical task of rebuilding America’s economic engine.
The best social welfare net is a job. Holt has no plan to create private sector jobs; he is offering just more of the status quo.
The board’s most ridiculous attack against me was regarding partisan politics. The fact of the matter is Holt votes with his party nearly 99 percent of the time and believes any idea offered by a Democrat is good and any idea offered by Republican is bad. He’s part of the problem in Washington and has contributed mightily to the toxic environment there.
On the other hand, I have supported a reform Democrat for mayor in my hometown of Princeton against an entrenched political machine, and I took considerable flak during the Republican primary for my financial donations to Democrats with whom I agreed on certain issues. There is only one candidate in this race who has demonstrated a willingness to reach across the aisle to solve problems – and it is me.
Less than two weeks from today, voters will go to the polls to make a historic decision. I would like them to believe I am the candidate who can make America work again.