Pallone cinches victory in 6th District
RED BANK, N.J. — For the 10th election in a row, Frank Pallone reclaimed the congressional seat of New Jersey's 6th District over Republican challenger Anna Little.
"We want Frank," the crowd of supporters cheered in the 2250 Local Carpenters Union Hall minutes after the win was announced.
The 22-year incumbent claimed victory with a 9 percent lead over the Borough of Highlands mayor, a surprisingly slim margin for a long-time congressman.
Despite such a close race, Pallone said his win and the overall election sent a message.
"We can win when we have issues on our side and we're doing the right thing for the average American," Pallone said.
With two more years on Capitol Hill, Pallone said he intends to continue his work with developing the middle class.
"As we move forward with the country, in terms of what Congress and the president has done within the last few years, we really were trying to stabilize the economy," he said. "We were trying to grow the middle class."
The role of a congressman is to essentially protect the average American from large corporate entities, Pallone said.
"If the big banks and the financial institutions on Wall Street are not doing the right thing and causing the economic downturn we have to reform the system," he said.
He extended the concept to the current health care system and said that if health care continues to be unaffordable for average citizens, it must face reform as well.
The high unemployment rate is one of the biggest problems America faces today, Pallone said. He plans to address this problem based around his campaign mantra "Make it in America," the belief that goods should be produced on United States soil.
To put his words into action, Pallone intends to plug up legislative loopholes that send jobs overseas and establish a national manufacturing policy as well as a fair trade policy.
"What we don't need is those policies expressed by the tea party movement, which basically says there shouldn't be any government regulation," he said. "We should repeal the Wall Street reform. We should repeal the health care reform. Basically, get rid of corporate income tax, get rid of any income taxes."
Pallone said these ideologies expressed by his tea-party-backed opponent are detrimental to the middle class.
"They're not good for the middle class," he said. "We need to have a type of government that responds to the average person and protects the average person from these diffuses … of the special interests."
Tom Bucco, council representative for the Carpenters Local Union 2250, said Pallone has been a friend to all building trade workers as well as all working class people in Monmouth County.
"Frank is from Long Branch. … He's a good, old homegrown boy," Bucco said. "I think he's down home, good-hearted. He's always welcome here in our union home."
Although Pallone won by such a slim margin, Bucco said he was not nervous for the incumbent at any point of the evening.
Liz Duthie, Pallone's campaign manager, said she was mostly happy for the constituents of the congressman's district
"We know he was always the right choice for the 6th District, and he's certainly going to continue his initiatives in Congress, to bring green alternatives back and to make sure we're bringing jobs back here in New Jersey," Duthie said.
Present at his colleague's election, Sen. Frank Lautenberg admitted he was apprehensive for Pallone's race and came to show support.
"Pallone's race is a signal to the other side that no matter how rough the campaign is, no matter how tough the vernacular is, the fact is that we stand on the issues, and we're going to recover from whatever happens down in Washington," Lautenberg said. "It certainly was a fight but we're glad to have a victory tonight."