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Students talk about House of Representatives candidates

Photo by Matt Cerisano |

October 2016 | Congressman Frank Pallone (D.-N.J.) is one of 53 candidates running for a seat on the House of Representatives in 2016. New Jersey has 12 total seats, which are currently filled by six Democrats and six Republicans.

President of Rutgers for Hillary Jeremy Atié wants his congressman in the House of Representatives to pass the Equality Act, which would reinforce protections for his rights as a gay man in America. 

The School of Arts and Sciences senior is concerned about his rights being properly defended in Congress by his potential representative. He noted that gay marriage is legal only because bans on gay marriage have been struck down by the Supreme Court.

"(I want Congress to) formally acknowledge my human right to marry, adopt children and love without being the victim of prejudice," he said. 

While the political spotlight is focused on the national candidates today, some University students are unaware of their candidates for the House of Representatives who are also on the ballot.

As of Nov. 8, there are a total of 53 candidates running for the 12 possible seats in the House. Among them are 12 Democrats, 12 Republicans, 10 Libertarians, two Greens and 17 independents, many of whom are part of minor parties. 

Gina Bonanno does not know what day to vote for the state’s House of Representatives or who she would vote for. She said that if she knew the candidates, she would want cheaper textbooks, cheaper tuition and intervention for New Brunswick’s poverty.

“The people who live outside of the University are dying,” the School of Arts and Sciences sophomore said.

Atié, who works for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, said he has already voted for his district House representative through a mail-in-ballot.

“Everyone else should (vote by mail-in-ballot)! Vote early, vote often!” he said.

Atié said in his district, Josh Gottheimer (D-5) is running against the current representative in Congress, U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5). He did not vote for Garrett because Garrett does not “fight for more of the money (generated by federal taxes), which pays for our roads, bridges, trains and safe drinking water,” he said.

“Garrett has not only opposed this sort of legislation, but has also actively said he wouldn’t support certain political candidates if they were gay,” Atié said. “He’s wasting our potential as a state and he has since he first got elected in 2003. So, I don’t really want him to do anything for my state. I want (Gottheimer) to bring the reforms I mentioned.”

Nationwide, there are 34 seats in the United States Senate being contested this year, along with every seat in the House, 12 gubernatorial elections and thousands of state legislatures, said Jayme Metzgar in The Federalist

“The ‘down-ticket’ races may be what stand between us and the total destruction of the republic," Metzgar said.

This article is part of The Daily Targum's 2016 election coverage. For a full list of articles, click here

The Eagleton Institute of Politics has released a full list of candidates running in New Jersey municipalities. Click here for more.

Bushra Hasan is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in cell biology and neuroscience. She is a correspondent for The Daily Targum. Follow her on Twitter @bushrafhasan for more.

Bushra Hasan

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