On November 7, voters in Princeton will elect two new representatives to the New Jersey State Assembly, and one Senator for the New Jersey State Senate. Princeton is in the competitive NJ-16 district, currently represented by State Senator Christopher ‘Kip’ Bateman (R), and State Assembly Reps Andrew Zwicker (D) and Jack Ciattarelli (R). We reached out to all the candidates for these positions, to try to find out about their goals, and their policies on housing and transportation. Unfortunately none of the Democratic candidates for State office (Andrew Zwicker, Roy Freiman, Laurie Poppe) responded to our requests for comment. Republican Assembly candidates Donna Simon and Jack Caliguire also declined to respond. However, incumbent State Senator Kip Bateman did respond!
We asked just one question to all candidates:
“What do you hope to achieve if you are elected to represent Princeton? In particular, what are your thoughts about the current questions of affordable housing and regional transportation?”
Kip Bateman was the only candidate to respond, and he offered the following comment:
I’m a long-time member of the Senate Environment Committee, and among the most environmentally-minded members of the New Jersey Legislature.
I’ve partnered with our Environment Committee Chairman Bob Smith (D) on countless initiatives, including securing new open space preservation funding and creating renewable energy standards.
I mention these efforts because the issues you ask about, affordable housing and regional transportation, have a direct impact on the environment in Princeton and across New Jersey.
With regards to affordable housing, I have serious concerns that special interests, builders, and an activist New Jersey Supreme Court are pushing for far more development than is good for our environment or our property taxpayers.
In many towns, including Princeton, the overdevelopment that would be required to meet astronomical court-mandated affordable housing quotas will result in the destruction of our little remaining open space, and greater costs for property taxpayers as demand increases for public services and expensive new classroom spaces.
I believe there is a need for affordable housing, but I do not support the current court-mandated approach. I’ve sponsored legislation that would return sanity to the process.
With regards to transportation, I opposed the 23 cent/gallon gas tax increase that was signed into law by Governor Christie last year.
This would have a direct impact on our ability to complete local projects in and around Princeton. With the state spending multiples of what it should on transportation infrastructure, critical local road and bridge repair and replacement projects that rely on state funding are often delayed or deferred, resulting in further decay, greater costs, and more lengthy closures.
For our commuters, I support the new Gateway Project that will improve trans-Hudson rail capacity and infrastructure reliability.
Although initial engineering planning has begun and general agreement has been reached with the federal government and other partners on funding, many details still need to be worked out before we can be assured the project can be successfully and affordably accomplished.
For as long as I represent Princeton and the 16th Legislative District in Trenton, I’ll continue to work on these efforts.
We’d like to thank the Senator Bateman for taking the time to respond! The Election is next Tuesday, November 7.