Name: Joseph Raich
Occupation: Limousine driver
Previous elected or appointed positions (including previous terms in sought position, if applicable): Ran for the same office in 2001.
Any other current elected or appointed positions: No
Other community associations: Has been active with and awarded Lifetime Achievement Award by Parsippany Democratic County Committee.
Town (and length) of residence: Parsippany, on and off since 1968 (43 years).
Length of residence in District 26: Same as above.
Most pressing issues for this candidate in a coming term, and how they would be addressed:
On water and flood management following Hurricane Irene: "My opponents have made a lot of mistakes that I want to see corrected. A really big mistake was dealing with the flooding after Hurricane Irene. The Mayor or Parsippany, largest township in District 26, refuses to accept the blame. He’s doing an investigation himself about what happened with water management and who’s at fault, and he blames the state. The state would be the Department of Environmental Protection. The water management and control of the water flow of our reservoirs and our river come under control of the state legislature, and that’s my opponents. My opponents have been in for 18 years and have failed to go in and do anything about flood control in the district. The district was larger back when I ran in 2001 and had more flood towns involved. It had Pequannock and Riverdale and that area. This time, we have Lincoln Park, Parsippany, Montville and Fairfield. Fairfield’s had a very serious problem, and this state has failed to do anything to remediate flow of rivers or create new reservoirs."
"We have to look into making more reservoirs or making a system that allows for better piping out of the water out of the reservoirs."
On cutting state aid to municipalities and school districts: "Another big mistake is the fact that they go ahead and balance the state’s budget by cutting aid to municipalities and school districts. That increases everybody’s property tax and, while the state’s able to go ahead and balance its budget, the property taxes go up and up."
On health care and pensions: "They balance the state’s budget based upon the public employees paying more money into health care and pensions. I’m not against them doing that, because it levels out the playing field between the private sector and public sector paying their fair share to go ahead and pay an equal amount. They’re equalizing the playing field in regards to pensions. However, I don’t see any reform coming through from my opponents to go and change the health care costs and do anything about why New Jersey has to have the biggest health care and pension costs that wear out the middle class. It’s wearing out the middle class, and that’s why I’m running."
On unemployment and the Occupy Wall Street movement: "It is class warfare; the rich are getting richer, and the middle class is going into non-existence. Our jobs are going overseas. Nobody has even stood up and made a statement that outsourcing is un-American, and that bothers me. Unemployment in New Jersey is higher than the national average, and that’s very wrong also. They’ve done nothing about coming to grips with the real problems facing the state."
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”: "The desire for them to ahead and allow fracking and ruin our drinking water is something we really ought to be concerned about."
On government: "The basic control of government is that people have to go and trust their government. Government does have a function. If these problems require regulation and action, we need somebody that’s going to do it. These guys have failed that test also. You have to care about people. If government isn’t about people, then government shouldn’t even exist."
"Honesty and transparency is something I believe very strongly about, too. Equalizing taxes, too. Everybody should pay their fair share."
On education: "I ran for school board twice in township of Parsippany, and education is very important to me. I want to see politics out of the classroom. For instance, if your brother needs a job, and they take out an existing teacher to give him a job, that’s unacceptable."
Fun Fact: "Government has been a hobby of mine for a long time, and I’m looking to serve in the legislature. I want to help people."