Democrats for Change choose alternative for governor
The candidate who finished second in balloting for the 2009 Democratic nomination for governor never stopped campaigning, but while a conspiracy of silence among power brokers, major media outlets and political insiders has effectively muted his efforts, an emerging grassroots movement might breathe new life into the viability of the only non-millionaire in the race.
“As far as the state of New Jersey is concerned, I’ve been a candidate for governor since 2009,” said former Glen Ridge Mayor Carl Bergmanson. “To me, if you’re a property tax payer, there is only one choice on the ballot. And that’s Carl Bergmanson.”
Bergmanson favors school funding reform because education is financed by unfair high property taxes. He also advocates streamlining or eliminating county government, since those functions might be administered better by the state or within New Jersey’s 1100-plus local school districts and municipalities.
Bergmanson lives with his wife, Ruby Siegel, in Glen Ridge where he ran for mayor in 2003 and became the first official elected without seeking or receiving the endorsement of the Civic Conference Committee, an elite panel that has dominated the local candidate selection process since 1913.
Bergmanson was elected, beating out incumbent Mayor Steven Plate by gaining the majority of votes cast in all but one of the town’s districts, and that anti-establishment victory opened his eyes to the boss-dominated ballot rigging that takes place on a state level.
“A few millionaires et behind one or two contenders and that is presented as a choice to primary voters,” said Bergmanson. “People who want to make real changes are excluded from nominating conventions, denied access to resources and painted as lunatics because consoldated power is as bad as income inequality in America today.”
Four years ago, when Bergmanson ran on a platform of fiscal discipline, governmental reform, and removing the tolls on the Garden State Parkway, the New Jersey Turnpike and the Atlantic City Expressway, he finished second in the balloting for the 2009 Democratic nomination behind incumbent Governor Jon Corzine, who was subsequently defeated by Republican Chris Christie.
With political insiders content to sacrifice millionaire state Senator Barbara Buono, who recent polls suggest can garner only 20 percent in a match against the GOP incumbent Bergmanson has earned support from Democrats for Change, a feisty band of political activists that has scored some success in recent primary contests.
Leading the charge to unite progressive and conservative Democrats with everyone in between by insisting that voters must resolve to hold corrupt politicians accountable, Bergmanson says Democrats for Change captures the spirit of this generation. In 2010,
“It’s going to be an uphill fight because we’re taking on the machine,” Bergmanson said. “Still, it is painfully obvious that the establishment has turned its back on 98 percent of our people, driven half our nation’s working families into near poverty and diminished the chance that future generations will truly experience the America Dream.”
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