Challenger Gary Catrambone said 7th District voters have an independent mindset and will vote for candidates or policies based on their merits, rather than on the basis of party loyalty.
In an interview, he accused Allen of lacking the independence valued by local voters, and said she backed away from a bill that would have provided $7.4 million to fund women’s health programs. Allen initially supported the bill but did not vote for an override after it was vetoed by Gov. Christie in July, Catrambone said.
“She is not an independent voice for the people of this district,” Catrambone said.
Catrambone, a marketing executive for a technology company in the mortgage industry, said his experience as a small businessman, and as Delran council president since 2008, puts him in touch with the concerns of most voters.
To attract new employers, the council has expedited planning applications from businesses such as Dollar Tree, which recently built a new store on an abandoned site in Delran, drawing shoppers and at least one other business, he said.
Catrambone said he would also consider providing tax incentives to attract new businesses, a policy that he acknowledged was in line with that favored by Allen. “That’s an issue that we might agree on,” he said.
On property taxes, he said Delran homeowners are paying little more now than they did five years ago – although there have been fluctuations from year to year – and that he would seek to continue to keep property tax increases to a minimum if he is elected to the Senate.
The council stabilized taxes in part by consolidating departments and sharing services with other towns, Catrambone said. It also sought lowest-cost solutions such as purchasing a small piece of land for the creation of a turn lane to relieve congestion at a local intersection. The land cost about one-fifth of the alternative, a traffic light, and eased the traffic problem, he said.
“This is everybody’s money,” he said. “How are we going to be prudent?”
Asked how he would overturn the incumbency of a popular senator, Catrambone said Allen’s victory in the 2011 election was by about 7,000 votes out of some 47,000 cast, a margin he sees as indicating the seat is winnable.