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Incumbent 4th District Assemblywoman Rates Tax Reform as Top Goal

Matthew Kassel | October 26, 2012

Democrat faces off again with GOP rival who questioned length of residency.

Gabriela Mosquera, Democratic Assemblywoman for District 4.

Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera, the Democratic incumbent running in the 4th Assembly District’s special election next month, has knocked on a lot doors this election season -- over 1,800, she said.

"It's a great opportunity to meet with my residents," Mosquera said.

Shelley Lovett
Shelley Lovett, Republican challenger in Assembly District 4

Mosquera is running, for the second time, against Republican Shelley Lovett, who challenged the legitimacy of Mosquera's victory last fall on the grounds that Mosquera had not lived in the district long enough to represent it.

There is little doubt that Mosquera will win again this fall; the South Jersey district, which includes parts of Camden and Gloucester counties, is largely Democratic.

Still, Mosquera doesn't seem to be taking any chances. In her door-knocking rounds, Mosquera said, she has found that most people she has talked to were asking when New Jersey's property-tax system will be reformed.

"What I tell them is that I am working with my colleagues in the Assembly and the Senate," she said, although she added that she believes the administration is "stonewalling" on tax reform.

She said she would like to give individual homeowners up to $2,000 in tax breaks off their annual property taxes.

Property tax reform, Mosquera said, is one of her top three priorities. The others, which are related, are protecting the middle class and reining in wasteful spending. Mosquera, who sits on the Assembly’s Women and Children Committee in Trenton, said she is also dedicated to "protecting women's rights and women's health and access to health care."

Mosquera, who emigrated from Ecuador to New Jersey at the age of 3, said she has a background in "policy analysis."

She worked in the state Legislature when she graduated from college, and, she explained, "I got to learn a lot about what it takes to run a government and what it means to work with people to compromise. And I learned to work with people to make relationships."

"There are a lot of people struggling, a lot of people unemployed," Mosquera said. "People are looking for jobs, people want to work."

"People want to make sure that government is being efficient," Mosquera said. "They want to make sure that we're doing more with less."

She added: "We need to be responsible in how we spend our money -- people want to know that."

Mosquera said she favors independent audits of government agencies to determine "where the wasteful government spending is."

Asked about her opponent, Mosquera replied: “The only thing I can say is I am currently an assemblywoman. The reason I got involved in the first place is because I understand what people need. My background is in policy. I have the credentials, and I believed that I can make a difference."

Lovett, a Gloucester Township resident, graduated from William Paterson College with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. She has served on the Gloucester Township Council and, according to her website, has been involved with organizations including the Lazarus Mission Mentoring Program and the U.S. Naval Academy Parents Club of New Jersey,.

She did not respond to numerous requests for comment.

Matthew Kassel is a freelance writer focusing mainly on politics and culture. He is an editorial assistant at Community News Service, a local newspaper group in Mercer County.

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