If you’re not into politics, there’s a good chance you have no clue who Jack Ciattarelli is. Chances are you may not know what he stands for and what he plans to do if elected governor, even if you have heard the name.
Ciattarelli is this year’s Republican nominee for governor in the state of New Jersey. He is challenging incumbent Democrat Phil Murphy. On Nov. 2, voters, including you, will decide if Murphy stays in office or if Ciattarelli will replace him in January.
With that being said, it’s a good idea to look at what Ciattarelli has planned for our state if he is elected, with a view specific to college students.
A major issue in Ciattarelli’s proposed agenda is lowering taxes. Property taxes are a key focus for making sure New Jersey families are more financially comfortable. This is good news for college students since we will likely be buying houses and properties before we know it. Ciattarelli also wants to lower corporate tax rates so that businesses have more money to improve themselves.
Ciattarelli also plans to make student loan interest tax-deductible. This means loan-holders can subtract the amount of interest they have from student loans from their adjusted gross income so that they pay less in taxes overall. This will especially help out us college students, as having mounds of debt has become something we only half-joke about.
While some may worry that this reduction in taxes will take away from the funding of healthcare, Ciattarelli has pledged to make it more affordable for New Jersey residents. He plans to implement a free-market healthcare system, and prohibit any health insurance company from denying or limiting someone’s coverage for a pre-existing condition. He also wants to redirect Medicaid funds from the federal government so those who have limited access to healthcare can have it.
Relating to the issue of immigration, Ciattarelli has pledged to end the Sanctuary City system the state and various cities within have implemented. He also supports an E-Verify system to make sure any immigrant who wants to work is eligible to do so.
This may upset New Jersey voters, as residents may fear for undocumented relatives who could lose their jobs due to the Republican Party’s generally strict anti-illegal immigration stance.
Additionally, Ciattarelli stresses balance when it comes to solving the climate crisis. He advocates for lessening carbon emissions coming from the state until a safe alternative is settled upon, such as micro nuclear, geothermal, hydro power, carbon capture and hydrogen batteries.
But at the same time, Ciattarelli plans to keep natural gas in use along with renewable energy, whereas Murphy plans to use renewable energy alone by 2050. Ciattarelli claims that Murphy’s plan costs too much, saying that the current governor’s energy plan will cost $52,500 per resident over the lifetime of the plan as estimated by Affordable Energy for New Jersey, and will hurt New Jersey families, as they heavily rely on natural gas in their homes.
Last but not least, we have Ciattarelli’s stance on abortion and reproductive rights. While Ciattarelli does not support taxpayer funding of abortion, he is a supporter of the Pain-Capable ‘Unborn Child’ Protection Act, which prohibits abortion after 20 weeks, except in some cases of rape, incest and when the pregnancy is endangering the life of the mother, while ensuring that all women have access to high-quality prenatal care and education. He also wants to put an emphasis on educational and innovative ways to prevent teenage and unwanted pregnancies.
Democrats outnumber Republicans in New Jersey by over 1 million, or almost a 2-1 scale. Furthermore, Murphy has a 9-point lead over Ciattarelli in a recent poll, so things are not looking in his favor. This doesn’t mean it’s over for the Republican candidate; the last time a Democratic governor won reelection in New Jersey was 1977.
This election is a big one for New Jersey. How we vote on Tuesday affects the way the state is run for the next four years, and therefore how our futures are shaped. At the end of the day, Jack Ciattarelli’s vision has much to offer for this state, even if I don’t agree with him on every single issue. The question is, though: does he have what it takes to lead New Jersey? I think so.