As your Congressman, I will not merely be a figurehead regarding public safety issues. I have facilitated the investment of over $750,000 of Obama Administration stimulus dollars to provide speed calming measures for more than 43 streets in my ward, the largest investment in the city’s history in such a quality of life initiative. I facilitated the opening of two desperately needed Precincts in the Vailsburg section of my ward and have established joint city border patrols with East Orange and Irvington – areas which border my municipal district. I have also successfully identified over $4.2 million dollars needed to build the first new firehouse in my ward in more than 50 years, and facilitated a 2 million dollar streetscape improvement in my ward on my main commercial corridors starting in March 2012. Finally, I have provided the capital dollars needed to assist the Newark Police Department in fighting crime, making my ward the ward with the most crime fighting surveillance cameras in Newark.
I have also worked tirelessly and often against my political self interest to improve relations between the citizens of Newark and their police department. Police have one of the most difficult jobs in our country, and I honor their commitment to our communities and the risks they take every day. However, I have and will always advocate for my constituents’ rights whenever they are proven to have been violated and to ensure that all officers in the ranks are respected and protected against alleged disparate treatment within the department. I also believe that the New Jersey and Federal court systems should not continue imposing irreparable harm on minority communities and non-violent youth offenders by failing to provide more robust rehabilitation and re-entry programs.
If you give me the honor to serve in Congress, I will regularly communicate with community groups, local governments, and police departments to develop effective solutions to the problems plaguing our communities. A priority of my first term will be to address the fact that we pay private prisons in this country more per prison inmate than we spend per student in our public schools. I will also sponsor legislation in the House of Representatives aiming to prevent turning non-violent offenders into violent criminals due to prison over-crowding, discriminatory practices, and lack of oversight.