The 16th District includes 14 communities in Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, and Somerset counties: Branchburg, Delaware, Flemington, Hillsborough, Manville, Millstone, Montgomery, Princeton, Raritan, Readington, Rocky Hill, Somerville, South Brunswick, and Stockton.
Voter registration leans Democratic — 34 percent blue and 25 percent red. While unaffiliated voters used to swing the results to the GOP, this is now a split district.
The 16th has a Republican senator and two Democratic assemblymen. Both Assembly incumbents are seeking re-election. They are Andrew Zwicker of South Brunswick and Roy Freiman of Hillsborough.
There is a contested race on the Republican side. Mark Caliguire of Skillman, who lost an attempted Assembly bid in 2017, is running again, paired with Christine Madrid, also of Skillman. The third candidate is Roger Forest Locandro of Stockton.
CANDIDATES IN CONTESTED PRIMARY
NJ Spotlight asked all candidates in contested races to fill out a brief survey about themselves and why they are running. This is the response we received from 16th District candidates.
MARK CALIGUIRE: REPUBLICAN
Family: Married; three children
Education: Cornell University A.B. in Government, Phi Beta Kappa; Georgetown University J.D.
Email: mcaliguire@Caliguireand Madrid.com
I am committed to staying in New Jersey, where I have lived my whole life. But more and more of my friends and neighbors are leaving; they have given up on the notion that New Jersey can be affordable, and that Trenton will ever do anything about our ridiculously high property-tax burden. One party Democrat rule in Trenton has gotten us nothing but more taxes, not less. We need more opposition voices in Trenton, opposing spending and taxing policies that are hurting the middle class and driving so many good people to lower-tax states. I will be such a voice for common sense conservative fiscal policies.
We must change the state pension and health benefits plan to something the state can afford and that will guarantee the plan will survive for current state workers who are depending on it for their retirement.
We must cut spending. New Jersey government spends too much money. That’s why taxes are too high. Sound simple? It is.
Reimpose the arbitration cap. That, combined with the tax cap on local government, was among the best legislation passed in Trenton in a very long time. Gov. Murphy letting it sunset was an awful decision; he should not have caved in to special interests who have no interest in middle-class New Jersey residents who can’t afford to live or retire here.
I have actually governed as a fiscal conservative — and it works. As a township committeeman I repeatedly voted against Democrat tax increases. When I eventually became mayor of my town, I controlled spending, cut debt and kept taxes stable. As a Somerset County Freeholder, I worked to keep spending below 2008 levels, kept taxes stable, and, in my last year on that board, as the finance chairman, I proposed and passed a budget that actually cut Somerset County taxes for our residents. During all that time we maintained our AAA bond rating.
As mayor I merged our local court with Hillsborough Township’s, saving money every year. As a freeholder I spearheaded a deal with our neighbors in Hunterdon County to share a jail and save taxpayer money in both counties. Government can work, but you have to say “no” sometimes; you can’t give in to every special interest. But if you govern that way, you can actually provide effective and efficient services for the people who give you the privilege of serving.
CHRISTINE MADRID did not respond to the survey request.
ROGER FOREST LOCANDRO did not respond to the survey request.