By Tori Pender
Senate Republican Leader Steven Oroho and Assembly Republican Leader John DiMaio discussed an array of topics from affordability, new opportunities and voting with the Rider community on March 22 at 6:30 p.m. in Lynch Adler Hall Room 202. The event was hosted by Micah Rasmussen, director of The Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics and political science professor.
Oroho has served in the New Jersey Senate since 2008 and is the current state senate minority leader. DiMaio has been an assemblyman since 2009, serving as minority leader since January 2022.
Rider greeted the legislators with a full room of community members. President Gregory Dell’Omo said, “We are always incredibly grateful that New Jersey public officials and leaders of both parties chose to spend time with our students as a part of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics.”
No. 1 priority
DiMaio said the “No. 1 priority is affordability,” for the Republican party.
One note that both legislators touched upon was property tax. Oroho said that “72% of what comes into this state, comes back out.”
Oroho explained that this money could be going toward programs that aid those from New Jersey. By limiting the cost drivers, like property taxes, residents would have more money in their pockets.
Rasmussen described the geopolitical map of New Jersey as having a “blue belt,” as the heavily populated areas in the state are currently democratic.
Since the governor’s election last November, seven new Republican legislators were elected, with new opportunities on the horizon from the redistricting maps.
DiMaio explained it is all about “maintaining those seats” and strategically gaining Republican support from there, focusing on Southern Jersey.
Don’t be scared of mail
One Rider community member spoke about their concerns regarding election fraud and election integrity.
DiMaio expressed concerns about the same-day registration process.
“Here’s the thing … Now 30 days beforehand you register to prove that you are a resident for more than 30 days when you register. The reality is, you show up at the polls and poll workers come from different states of ability. And you are gonna have all of this rushed, to prove they’ve been at least 30 days in the district they register in, that day,” said DiMaio.
DiMaio explained that “it’s okay to vote by mail.”
Some other topics that were touched upon were gas prices, abortion and capital punishment.
Outspoken members of the Rider community heavily debated with the legislators on being pro-life while also being in favor of capital punishment.
Oroho explained, “This is why this is such a hotbed issue every election.”
The state senate minority leader said, “We need to be engaged with what is actually happening in our government. … Government can do one of two things, protect freedom or limit it.”
To conclude, Rasmussen said, “My mind is in a very similar place which is that you heard a lot tonight that maybe you agreed with or maybe you disagreed with. But one thing we can not say at this point in our politics is that the parties don’t stand for anything.”