by the Editorial Board
November 3, 2016
BILL PASCRELL Jr. has been serving in Congress since January 1997. The former Paterson mayor has seen changes in the borders of his district, as he was originally elected to the 8th Congressional District before Paterson became part of the 9th District. But what has never changed or even wavered has been Pascrell’s commitment to the people of North Jersey.
An old-school Democrat, Pascrell’s strength is his understanding that government matters to people only if government makes their lives better, safer and more productive. And to that end, Pascrell is a relentless force in the region and in Congress.
He advocated for years to make the Great Falls into a national park, and he delivered. He also has delivered federal money for more cops and housing, as well as grants to help municipalities. His district office aids immigrants working through the maze of federal bureaucracy. He is an unabashed partisan, |but he is a pragmatic public official, a quality honed in Paterson’s City Hall.
Pascrell wants to retool Obamacare, not repeal it. He supports tax reform and wants a return of so-called earmarks in Congress, noting that the special budget items enabled representatives to get funding for needed projects back home. Before most people were talking about traumatic brain injury, and long before America’s return to the battlefield of war, Pascrell was pushing for stronger regulations for student athletes and then, after 9/11, for comprehensive services for returning veterans.
The congressman is feisty, opinionated and passionate about all things New Jersey. And that is really the problem facing Republicans who consistently fail to mount strong challenges. In this election, Pascrell faces Republican Hector Castillo, an ophthalmologist, originally from Peru.
Castillo, like Pascrell, believes in the future of Paterson. But we found that Paterson is really his prime issue. Castillo cites the many failures of the current city administration. He wants more jobs and job training in the city. So do we. But this is a role for a mayor or city councilman. There is no doubt Castillo is a smart man with a good heart; he volunteers at Eva’s Village, which serves the poor in Paterson.
But he does not offer a broader agenda to send him to Congress. He claims Pascrell is not active enough in the district. We disagree. We urge Castillo to get into the game in Paterson — the city needs public officials with both brains and heart. But as to Congress, Pascrell has both as well.
Regardless of who wins the presidency, we believe Pascrell has the skills to work with both Democrats and Republicans and to balance his responsibility as one of 435 representatives of |the entire United States with his responsibility to represent the people of the 9th Congressional District.
The Record endorses Bill Pascrell Jr. for Congress.
Posted November 03 2016 at 10:27 AM Permanent Link