Sixth district sees return of Pallone


The 2010 election season marked a drop for the Democratic Party who lost 63 seats in the House of Representatives to the Republican Party, who now controls the majority.

But New Jersey's 6th Congressional district saw less of a change this election when 22-year incumbent Rep. Frank Pallone reclaimed his seat.

"We can win when we have issues on our side and we're doing the right thing for the average American," he said at 2250 Local Carpenters Union Hall in Red Bank, N.J., on election night.

With two more years in office, Pallone hoped to develop the middle class.

"As we move forward with the country, in terms of what Congress and the president have done within the last few years, we really were trying to stabilize the economy," he said. "We were trying to grow the middle class."

Pallone said his role as a congressman is to prevent large corporate entities from taking advantage of average Americans.

"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 same idea of reform to the health care system, which he said needed change if it continues to be unaffordable for citizens.

Throughout his campaign Pallone emphasized his plan to tackle the high unemployment rate, which he centered on his "Make it in America" mantra.

Based on the mantra, he believes that good should be produced on United States soil and Pallone intended to plug up legislative loopholes that outsource jobs while establishing a national manufacturing policy and 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 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."

Pallone snagged the victory from his Republican opponent Anna Little, then Borough of Highlands mayor, with a 9 percent lead, which is a slim margin for a long time congressman.

Little, a Tea Party-backed candidate, thanked her supporters for their vote on election night at the Shore Casino in Atlantic Highlands.

"Everything we have accomplished is a foundation [and] we are not finished yet," she said. "You know where you started out and you know what our founding fathers gave up. You care about the future of your children and grandchildren. That's what we're about."

Little said she ran because she believed the longtime incumbent has lost touch with the needs of his constituents.

"There's a disconnect between the people of district six and their elected representative," she said. "He does not listen to them. He thinks he knows better than they do, and they are irate."

To help remedy the budget deficit, Little wanted to reduce government spending and the size of the government as a whole.

"We don't deficit spend at home," she said at the first public debate with Pallone at the Temple Shalom in Aberdeen. "When the balance in the banking account is zero, we stop spending. We need to have more revenue before we can spend again."

Little also planned to create jobs but cultivating small and midsized businesses, where most job growth occurs.

"The whole point of going into business is to make a profit and to grow," she said. "Every large corporation used to be a small business. That's how it works."

Little said the best way to help business is to support a free market that will foster competition and consumer demand.

"Government needs to get out of the way," she said. "We need to revisit regulations and make sure they are not stifling economic growth."

Little's Campaign Chair Leigh-Ann Bellew said many of her supporters took an active part in campaigning for the first time.

"I would say most, maybe 80 or 90 percent, have never done this before in their lives," she said. "[So] the voters and the constituents of Congressional District 6 are winners because they got out there and they did something we haven't seen in a very long time."

Despite her loss, Little put up a close fight for the congressional seat, even shaking the confidence of Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., who supported Pallone.

Present at his colleague's election night, 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."


Kristine Rosette Enerio

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