Gina Genovese, Independent for NJ Governor responses

Democracy Act

What policy and/or program changes would you support to eliminate barriers to
fair and open housing?

In New Jersey, 37% of households are under the poverty line or are the working poor.
For many, housing costs comprise the largest monthly expense. As governor, my focus
will be to:

  • Support the January 2017 Supreme Court decision to build 200,000 additional
    affordable housing units
  • Increase the minimum wage in increments over the next 4-5 years
  • Reduce our property tax burden and rents through regionalization of services and consolidation of municipalities
  • Increase transparency on the short- and long-term tax exemptions municipalities provide developers to ensure that all property owners are paying their fair share of taxes to the community and local schools

Will you support proposals to increase voter participation including: early voting;
same day registration; automatic voter registration; voting rights restoration for
probationers and parolees? YES

Voting is the civic duty and right of every American. Voter registration and voting
should be made easier for all New Jerseyans through:

  • Invest in electronic registration and record-keeping to enable same day voter registration, re-registration, and automatic voter registration
  • Implement automatic voter registration across New Jersey’s government agency, especially the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC)
  • Mandate civic education courses in high school so our students learn the importance of participation in our democratic process Anti-Poverty

What is your position on charter schools? Do you support funding them from the
regular public education appropriation?

As governor, my vision is to invest in education alternatives to meet the needs of all
students:

  • Implementing a pilot program using the Bard High School Early College model that provides both a high school and associates degree upon graduation
  • Investing in vocation & technical schools and apprenticeship programs to teach practical skills employers are seeking while providing employment to students
  • Every charter school is established as its own administration and district worsening the problem of too many schools and the cost to run them. Charter schools should be added to existing school districts so they are accessible to everyone. This will also ensure appropriate oversight to hold charter schools to the same standards as any other public schools.

What policies will you pursue to alleviate poverty and promote economic mobility
in communities with high concentration of economic distress.

  • Work to restore the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for low income families
  • Expand kindergarten and pre-K programs
  • Expand incentives for minorities and women who open small businesses.

    Economic development in New Jersey needs to be regionally focused, with an
    emphasis on educational and economic opportunities:

    • Support the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision to increase affordable
      housing
    • Increase the minimum wage in increments
    • Invest in apprenticeships and technical schools to teach practical skills that employers seek while providing employment to students during their training
    • Foster public/private partnerships to support businesses and training
      Fair & Effective Policing

    What steps will you take to eliminate racial discriminatory practices in the
    criminal justice system, particularly in the area of juvenile justice? Will you
    support funding for and the development of more community-based juvenile
    intervention programs?

    New Jersey spends $143 million per year to enforce marijuana possession laws that
    disproportionately affects African Americans, who are two times more likely to be
    arrested. Additionally, youth incarceration is not working as 70% – 80% of youth will
    be rearrested within 2-3 years after release. It is time to focus on reducing
    incarceration rates:

    • Give the people of New Jersey the choice to decide marijuana’s legalization
      through a state ballot question in 2018
    • Divert savings from ending enforcing marijuana possession laws towards
      rehabilitation and treatment for drug abuse
    • Decriminalize marijuana use
    • Reconsider the use of minimum sentencing for non-violent crimes
    • Invest in community development and intervention programs that provide opportunities for technical training, apprenticeships, and education
    • Ensure that our children have opportunity in order to prevent issues within the juvenile justice system. Children should not be charged as adults, which is used more frequently when dealing with minority youth
    • Expand community-based programs, engaging the individual in the community, and developing relationships between residents and police. These relationships could reduce allegations of harassment, brutality and racism. Developing relationships with the residents would make it easier to identify any criminal activities, and solve cases.