NJ Congressman Targets Constituent For Urging Town Hall Meeting
Above Photo: From dailyrecord.com
Bank employee quit her job after Rep. Frelinghuysen specifically mentions her in letter to bank
Assemblyman critical of congressman’s healthcare vote
John McKeon was one of the first New Jersey Democratic leaders to be heard last week speaking out against Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s vote in favor of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.
Now, the assemblyman representing the six Morris County municipalities in New Jersey’s 27th District is hearing calls to challenge the longtime Republican incumbent’s congressional seat.
“Never did I ever have a thought about running for Congress, but frankly, what’s come out of Washington for the last 120 days or so has been of great concern, as much from a national perspective as it is from a Jersey-centric one,” McKeon told the Daily Record. “This came out of left field, but is something to be thoughtfully considered.”
McKeon stressed that as a candidate for re-election to the Assembly this year, he is looking forward to continuing his work in Trenton, especially if a Democrat wins this years’s gubernatorial election and replaces outgoing Republican Chris Christie in 2018.
“I was thinking with great anticipation, and I still am, that with a new governor, I would be able to put forward a lot of the policy issues I have been trying to advance for seven years, and was blocked from doing so,” McKeon said. “So that’s what I’m excited about, and still am.”
But McKeon took to Facebook quickly after the vote to repeal Obamacare, with Frelinghuysen voting in favor of the bill after refusing to support the original version that was pulled last month when the GOP could not muster enough votes to pass it.
“I don’t think that the congressman can ever explain that vote as it relates to being in the best interest of New Jersey, and that’s troubling,” McKeon said.
His Facebook post, dated May 4, was more direct.
“I am so disappointed that my Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen could not do what was right for the people of New Jersey and his district, and have the courage to vote against the AHCA,” McKeon posted. “Not only do I represent many of the same constituents as the Congressman, but he represents (McKeon’s wife) Ann and me in the House. After watching the past 100 days with agony, Donald J. Trump has now gotten directly into my backyard. I, like many of you, am absolutely sickened by it.”
Frelinghuysen opposed the initial version of the American Health Care Act, saying “Unfortunately, the legislation before the House today is currently unacceptable as it would place significant new costs and barriers to care on my constituents in New Jersey.”
But after supporting the revised bill, Frelinghuysen said “Obamacare is collapsing across the country and failing to make health care affordable for New Jersey families facing skyrocketing premiums, soaring deductibles, and fewer choices. So doing nothing is not an option. … I want to reassure New Jersey families that this legislation protects those with pre-existing conditions and restores essential health benefits. I voted to move this bill to the U.S. Senate, which will have the opportunity to improve this legislation significantly.”
“Concerning the ACA, that’s just mind-numbing,” McKeon said Wednesday. ” (Cutting) $30 billion over 10 years, and half a million New Jersyans who would no longer be able to afford coverage. I can’t imagine how anybody in our congressional delegation, whether they were Republican, Democrat or from the moon, could support that.”
He’s equally concerned about the Trump administration’s tax proposal.
“I haven’t heard any (New Jersey GOP congressmen) come out against the tax plan,” McKeon said. “Removing the property-tax deduction? That would devastate New Jersey’s economy and would devastate the real estate market. It would cost the average New Jerseyan, beyond whatever diminution in value of their property would be, $3,500 a year.”
He’s also frightened about a proposed budget that he said would cut $60 million to New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection budget, “which is something so close to my heart, and something I advocate for. That would be incredibly devastating.”
McKeon, who praised Frelinghuysen and his staff for bipartisan cooperation in the past, said he would be happy to stay in his Assembly seat. But asked if the Democratic Party needs to prioritize unseating Frelinghuysen in 2018, he said, “Based upon what we are seeing out of Washington, the answer to that is yes.”
“Regardless of whether there will be an electoral challenge, I’m vested with a position to speak out, just like a lot of people are, and I’m going to continue to do that when it comes to any negative impact, specifically to New Jersey, of any of those policies, singularly or collectively,” he continued.
Ideally, McKeon said, Frelinghuysen would eventually buck his president and his party.
“Perhaps we’ll see a 360-degree turnaround relative to where the congressman votes,” McKeon said. “He’s certainly in a powerful position to be able to have a great platform to be able to advocate for his state. I hope that’s what happens.”
If not, he will consider his options.
“I don’t know what the future might be other than I’m going to continue to be as strong a voice as I possibly can when it comes to advocating for New Jersey,” McKeon said.