Hometown: Green Township, NJ
Top 3 Issues: Taxes; Economic development; Environmental protection
Free-time activity: “I’m the mother of three children so I frankly don’t have a lot of free time. But we bought a 200-year-old farmhouse that is in need of repair of every inch of it. So in my ‘true’ free time, I try to work on fixing that up, breaking down plaster, and painting walls, and refinishing floors. But most of my free time is spent going to swim meets – my daughter is a competitive swimmer – or to hockey, or soccer, and it’s fun.”
Read Full Transcript EXPAND
I’m Deana Lykins, and I’m running to represent the voters of Northwest New Jersey in the 24th Legislative District. This area of the state has the most beautiful lakes, a deep history, and communities filled with people who truly care about their neighbors. As a woman, a mother, and a professional problem-solver, I believe I can bring new ideas and a fierce advocacy to our area.
In District 24, we are facing a tax burden that is unbearable. I grew up in a small farm town and in my family, like most others, every dollar mattered. In small towns like ours, where most people can make an honest living but not a lot of money - you can’t just go out and get a higher-paying job if your taxes go up because those jobs don’t exist – you have to make due with less. Our current legislators have voted to raise our taxes time and again, while, at the same time, voting to spend millions of those dollars on projects that never benefit us. I will fight to lower taxes and bring back our fair share of funding from the state. We deserve lower taxes. We also deserve to at least get what we paid for.
We also need to really grow our local economy. We need forward-thinking programs that foster job creation but also fit with our way of life. As a researcher for the Council of State Governments and then as an attorney for the New Jersey Legislature, I studied these problems, researched how other states handled them and then presented possible solutions. For our area, I believe we first need to stabilize our infrastructure because that is what employers look for. Our internet service is 2/3 slower than the rest of the state. Our roads and bridges need more repair than those in most other counties and our schools’ budgets are being decimated due to declining enrollment.
As far as industries to develop in our district, tourism, from agricultural to environmental, is a huge economic driver. We need the state to support our efforts to boost tourism with significant funding increases. As the former President of an industry trade organization and corporate executive, I will use my leadership skills and experience to bridge bureaucratic gaps and provide a coordinated rebranding of the District, making it more appealing to the type of small-town development we need.
Finally, I’ll fight to protect the environment that makes our area so unique. This isn’t just about wildlife; it’s about protecting our economy and our way of life. From campgrounds to marinas – our economy is dependent on a healthy environment. We’ve seen with the recent Lake Hopatcong algae bloom what happens when our representatives fail to protect our natural resources: we all suffer. I can bring the fight that is needed.
Sadly, in our district, we have elected the same people over and over again while expecting different results. I believe the problems that we face are not problems of party, but rather of effort and advocacy. We need fighters that will bring back money and the services we deserve. Northwest New Jersey is my home and is in my heart. Let’s make a change. Let’s put people over party. Please vote for me – Deana Lykins. Thank you.