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November 04, 2008

The Senate Race in New Jersey

By Danielle Azzolina

Up for re-election in the United States Senate for New Jersey is Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat. The 84-year-old  has served in the Senate for 5 terms! That’s 20 years in office and if he wins in this election it would give him an unprecedented 5th term.  But is he up to serving effectively for another 6 year term? If you’re his opponent Dick Zimmer the answer would be no. Zimmer is considered the underdog in his bid for the Senate seat.

Republican opponent and practicing attorney Dick Zimmer said he does not believe Lautenberg would be able to be effective for another 6-year term. He is hoping to unseat the long time incumbent this election year. He sites the fact that after Lautenberg’s long service, New Jersey only receives back about 61 cents on every dollar we pay in federal taxes, which he says is a bad deal for NJ. He also reluctantly sited Lautenberg’s age as a factor, too.

Zimmer authored the federal “Megan’s Law,” which serves to protect children, and also the “No Frills Prisons” law, which bans luxury items such as cable TV, microwaves, weight-lifting equipment and video games from federal prisons.  Something else related to a hot topic today is that Zimmer secured funding of a program for the safe disposal of dredged materials by using them to seal abandoned Pennsylvania coal mines. He also has lobbied to enact legislation enabling victims of terrorism to recover money from terrorist states. Zimmer said that the Presidential election has overshadowed the Senate this year and perhaps people haven’t focused as much on it as he hoped for.

Incumbent Frank Lautenberg has served for 20 years and some of his many accomplishments are his securing funding for local economic development projects and authoring the Community Housing Partnership Act supporting development of housing by community based, nonprofit groups. He sponsored a law to allow American inventors to block importation of products that infringe their patients, copyrights and trademarks. He helped to secure federal funding to restore 33 miles of beaches along New Jersey’s shore that is critical to our tourism. He cosponsored “Small Business Guaranteed Credit Enhancement Act,” reforming SBA loan programs and reducing costs. 

Late Note: Lautenberg won the race for his 5th term in the U.S. Senate

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