By Chris Daggett
Even given New Jersey’s own shameful political culture, the arrest of 44 individuals on corruption charges recently is not only saddening, but it’s a national embarrassment that should make everyone in New Jersey angry.
Our elected officials make the corrupt politicians in Illinois look like Eagle Scouts. Once again, they have made New Jersey a punch line, and it starts right at the top and it involves both Republicans and Democrats.
When are we, the voters of New Jersey, going to say we’ve had enough? When we are going to wake up and realize — short of putting our elected officials in red or blue prison jumpsuits — that today it makes no difference whether we put Republicans or Democrats in office?
The cancer of corruption, both outside the law and under the cover of law is so deeply embedded in our government that — unless we are we going to put the FBI on a monthly retainer to watch every meeting of our politicians — only a truly big change is going to make any difference.
We, the people of New Jersey, need to take our government back. We need to send a message to Trenton by throwing out Jon Corzine and his inept administration and turning our backs on Chris Christie and the Republicans who simply represent more of the same.
Because as we’ve seen time and time again, “different” doesn’t mean “better,” and throwing everybody in jail isn’t going to solve the problem.
Indeed, it is the corruption allowed under the cover of law that is a big factor in making New Jersey unaffordable to its tax-burdened residents and businesses.
Dual office-holding, double-dipping on pension benefits and cutting sweetheart deals with union friends all contribute to ever rising government spending. It has to stop.
I have studiously avoided making any campaign promises to date, but I promise you two things:
First, if you elect an independent Governor, for the first time in New Jersey history, you will get your money’s worth from state government. A Daggett administration will only appoint the best person for each government job, whether that person is from the public or private sector, and regardless of party affiliation or lack thereof.
Only an independent Governor can do this. Only an independent Governor, with the backing of the most powerful constituency in the state-you, the voters of New Jersey-can do this devoid of partisan politics.
As an independent, I do not have party favors to pay back. I do not have special interests to kowtow to. I do not have to hire some politician’s lamebrain cousin and put him in a featherbed government job because he is a partisan party hack who can’t make a living in the private sector.
That’s what got us into this mess, and we shouldn’t stand for it anymore.
Second, in the early months of my administration, I will visit every department of New Jersey state government. My message will be very simple: The old rules are gone. If you aren’t productive in your job, you will be deemed unnecessary. If you know how to do your job better, or to make your department function more efficiently, or if you have ideas on how we can serve the people of New Jersey more effectively, now is the time to bring those ideas forward.
If party politics were in the way before, they’re not now. If what was holding you back before was making your political-appointee-boss-who-doesn’t understand-how-the-department-works looks bad, it isn’t any longer.
I don’t make these promises lightly. I know we are competing against 100 years of party politics and the entrenched powers in the Democratic and Republican parties. But if we haven’t had enough by now-if we are not going to do this, starting now-when will it ever happen?
We not only can win in this cancerous environment, we will win-with your help. My independent campaign is the first independent campaign to qualify for matching funds and for all of the major debates.
The only way to get real change in New Jersey this year is to elect an independent Governor. If you’ve had enough, if what’s happened in New Jersey makes you as sick and angry as it has made me, please join our campaign and send a message to the Republicans and Democrats in Trenton.
They have abused our trust for the last time. It is past time to take our government back from them.
Chris Daggett is an independent candidate for Governor
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