Darcy Draeger





Hometown: Chester, NJ

Occupation: Mom; Former analyst, current farmer

Top 3 Issues: Addressing New Jersey’s affordability crisis; tax reform; healthcare

Free-time activity: “Surprisingly for someone running for office, I am kind of an introvert. So if I’m left to my own devices, curling up with a really strong cup of coffee and a book – it’s really my idea of a good time. I also love to garden, and I spend a lot of time experimenting with different vegetables in my personal garden. I love to garden with flowers and trees, and I also like to run.”

Social Media: Facebook

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When people hear about politics and Trenton, their first reaction is often cynicism. That’s not a surprise -- for years we’ve seen political insiders use their elected office for personal gain. Our infrastructure crumbles, our economy slows, and our property taxes go up with no end in sight, while real relief for middle-class families is blocked by partisanship and in-fighting.

If we want to change what’s happening in Trenton, we need to change who we send there. Before moving to Chester and starting our small farm, I spent more than 20 years creating systems to ensure transparency and oversight on Wall Street. I think that’s something we need more of in Trenton, on both sides of the aisle.

In the State Assembly, I’ll fight every day to hold our government accountable and make sure it’s working for ordinary people, not special interests. Because the issues and policies our legislature debates aren’t abstract -- they affect real people, with real stakes, every day.
In the spring of 2009, my little sister Kindi was joyfully expecting her first child, and our entire family was over the moon.

Back then, pregnancy was considered a “pre-existing condition,” so when she found out she was having a baby her insurance company raised her premiums through the roof -- far more than she could possibly afford. So, like so many other families faced with the same choice, she dropped her coverage. She figured she could pay for everything out of pocket, and once my nephew was born they could just pick up where they had left off.

That wasn’t the case. Instead, Kindi suffered postpartum complications that resulted in a massive hemorrhagic stroke. We didn’t know if we could pay for her care, or even afford to keep her in the hospital.

My little sister died in August 2012. She was 39 years old.

I’ll always wonder if Kindi’s story didn’t have to end this way. Every day.

And it made me wonder who else around me had the same question in their own lives? “What if?”

The working parent who has to leave their job because they can’t rely on NJ Transit to get them to and from the office. The small business owner who has to shutter their doors. The middle-class family whose taxes go up every year, who don’t know if they can afford to stay in New Jersey.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We need representatives in Trenton who will tackle these problems head-on, and work every day to make New Jersey a better, more affordable place to live. This November, let’s hold Trenton accountable.