When Robert Menendez moved up to the U.S. Senate in 2006, Albiro Sires won both a special election to replace him and a full term in what was then the 13th District. During his time in office, Sires has particularly championed transportation funding. In 2013, Congressional Quarterly rated him as President Barack Obama’s most reliable supporter in the House. Since then, though, Sires, a native of Cuba, has broken with the president on some foreign policy matters.
Identifying himself as “a young progressive Democrat” and Bernie Sanders supporter, Eloy Delgado says he is making his first run for office to shake up the status quo. A school teacher in Linden, Delgado trails Sires $10,207 to $292,956 in fundraising, according to the Federal Election Commission. But the challenger describes that as meaning he does not owe any favors. He argues that middle class and working class people are not well represented in Washington.
Many New Jerseyans continue to be hit by foreclosure and Sires says he will be “vigilant” looking for solutions. He points to his support for creating the Consumer Fraud Protection Bureau, saying consumers should have “access to transparent information regarding mortgages and credit.”
Citing his childhood in a run-down Elizabeth housing complex, Delgado calls for “a Marshall plan for our cities” to stimulate the economy, retain middle-class residents and raise living standards.
“The disastrous reforms” of recent years have left behind many local schoolchildren, Delgado says. Federal policies should give educators autonomy to work with their communities to address the needs of their students. Public college education should be “debt free,” because $1.7 trillion in student debt burdens the whole economy, Delgado says.
Sires also worked as a teacher and says recruiting qualified teachers, reducing class size, and making college affordable are priorities. While the No Child Left Behind Act aimed to increase educational accountability, “some requirements have become burdensome and punitive,” Sires says
A member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Sires says the United States can lead by supporting human rights and investing in diplomacy and economic and social development. He opposed the deal with Iran over nuclear weapons. Sires has been a leading critic of Obama’s rapprochement with Cuba.
Military action is not the only tool at the disposal of the American government, Delgado says, adding diplomacy should be the cornerstone of our dealings with other nation-states. In confronting ISIS, we should learn from the Iraq war, he says. Delgado would have voted yes on Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.
The United States has stopped investing in the middle class, leading to income stagnation and diminished opportunity, Delgado says. Supporting the right to unionize would “start directly reversing income inequality.” Campaign finance reform is necessary, because “a rich person should not have more of a say than you,” he says.
America needs a national manufacturing strategy to rebuild that sector of the economy, Sires says. It should promote exports of American-made goods, train workers in modern skills and encourage businesses to return jobs to this country, he says. He opposed fast-tracking the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying trade deals should focus on American jobs.