Monmouth County Legislator Has A Message That Republicans Badly Need To Win
Gannett’s New Jersey newspapers and websites published a list of New Jersey’s political “Rising Stars” yesterday. The editorial says those on the list are young (most are under 40, all are under 50) politicos that are likely to emerge as the “next generation” of leaders on the regional or state levels of New Jersey government and politics.
Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande is the only Monmouth County leader who made the top twelve of the list. As a three term Assemblywoman seeking her fourth term and the Assembly Minority’s Policy Co-Chair, one could argue that Casagrande is in the current generation of leadership. But at 36, her star is still very much “rising.”
If you are fortunate enough to talk to Casagrande about policy and politics, you will quickly realize that the real power of her ‘light’ is largely ‘hidden under a bushel.’
In an interview with MMM last year during the presidential campaign, Casagrande expressed her frustration with anti-Republican/anti-Conservative “war of women” narrative that dominated the national conversation. “It’s just not true,” Casagrande said of the left-wing narrative that conservatives are anti-women, “as Republicans we’re doing a terrible job impacting that perception. We need to create conservative policies and programs based upon what people are really dealing with, not on the red herring issues that the media and Democrats tells us were concerned about.”
Casagrande is doing just that. Unfortunately, not enough of the ‘current generation’ of Republican and conservative leaders are listening.
Casagrande’s June 2012 letter to the Wall Street Journal is an example of her leadership in exposing the fallacy of Democratic policy initiatives as ‘pro-women’ and her on-going fight to impact conservative thought on women and families.
Your June 5 editorial “The Trial Lawyer Paycheck Act” correctly points out how Democrats in Congress use women’s pay issues to generate business for trial lawyers and give themselves a talking point in election years without working on substantive reform.
The Paycheck Fairness Act is an election-year staple for Democrats in Congress. It merely duplicates existing law and encourages discrimination lawsuits. Women do not want to sue their way to the top; we want the ability to fairly compete in the workforce.
I agree that this legislation is not the solution. I disagree with your assertion that the male-female wage gap is mostly a function of occupational and lifestyle choices. It is disappointing to see the Journal advocate that opinion because you have made such a compelling business case to balance the workforce in your special report “Women in the Economy” (Journal Report, May 7).
Last month’s report focused on the fact that women land 53% of entry-level jobs, yet hold just 19% of C-suite positions. It found that barriers are deeply intertwined, including the fact that many executives just assume women don’t want more challenging assignments. That kind of managerial prejudice is not the result of an occupational or lifestyle choice made by the employee.
I have been leading a New Jersey Assembly Republican initiative to improve the workplace for women who want a career. The work by the Journal’s task force convinced me this is a serious problem that hinders our economy as well as the work and family lives of men and women.
This is a real issue facing American families that must not be denigrated by politicians searching for a political point or editorials that reinforce the sexist theme that women choose lower pay and positions at work.
The ‘current generation’ of NJ GOP leadership faces an uphill battle to gain control of the State Assembly this fall. Democrats currently hold 48 of the chamber’s 80 seats. The legislative map is gerrymandered to favor continued Democratic control. Governor Christie’s popularity gives the GOP an opportunity to pick up seats. “It’s now or never,” a GOP legislator said.
In order to win 8-10 Democratic seats in the legislature, the GOP will have to do better than running against “Corzine Democrats.” That message is not likely to convince a traditionally Democratic voters to switch sides. Convincing Democrats and Independents from Democratic districts to vote for Republican Assembly candidates is what it will take to reduce property taxes and to create the ‘pro-women, pro-family’ economic policies that Casagrande is advocating to spur our anemic state economy. In order for that to happen, the NJ GOP needs to give those voters something to vote for.
If the Assembly Republican leadership and the NJ GOP are serious about winning Democratic seats in November, they should scrap the Corzine Democrat theme in winnable districts and talk to Casagrande about crafting a message that will give voters they usually can’t attract reasons to vote for their Republican candidates.