The 36th District includes 15 communities in Bergen and Passaic counties: Carlstadt, Cliffside Park, East Rutherford, Little Ferry, Lyndhurst, Moonachie, North Arlington, Passaic, Ridgefield, Ridgefield Park, Rutherford, South Hackensack, Teterboro, Wallington, and Wood-Ridge.
Voter registration is 40 percent Democratic and 17 percent Republican, with most other voters declaring no party affiliation.
Both Democratic incumbents are running for re-election and facing a challenge. Assemblyman Gary Schaer, a Passaic councilman, is bracketed with Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese of Cliffside Park. The challenger is Edward Tolga Gonca of Lyndhurst.
The Republican ticket features Khaldoun Androwis of Wallington and Foster Lowe of Little Ferry.
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 36th District candidates.
CLINTON CALABRESE: DEMOCRAT
Hometown: Cliffside Park
Occupation: Real estate development
Education: BS St. Joseph's University (Finance and Management); MS New York University (Real Estate)
Email/phone: email@example.com/(201) 943-0615
Why are you running for the Assembly? I was appointed last February upon Assemblywoman Caride’s appointment to Gov. Murphy’s Cabinet and was elected in November’s special election to serve the remainder of the term. I am now running for re-election because I believe that I can continue to help make a difference in my district and in the state.
Also, as the youngest representative in our Legislature, I believe it is important for younger generations to feel represented in government and to be encouraged to participate and become engaged in the legislative process.
What are your three top priorities if elected? If elected, my top three priorities are:
To encourage sustainable economic growth through (a) the examination of our laws and policies to determine changes that can assist in encouraging entrepreneurship, and (b) work-training and higher education programs aimed at assisting both our businesses in filling gaps in their labor pool and our residents in receiving the skills and training necessary for better jobs and higher wages in New Jersey;
To improve NJ transportation through prioritizing infrastructure repairs for safe roads and bridges, improving safety and reliability of NJ Transit’s rail and bus service, extending the Bergen-Hudson Light Rail to Bergen County, and supporting the Passaic-Bergen Passenger Rail Project;
To support pragmatic environmental initiatives designed to protect our state’s environment as well as the health and well-being of each of our residents.
What makes you the best candidate? I am the best candidate for the Assembly because I have demonstrated that I will engage with students, businesses, local and county government, and as many constituents as possible throughout District 36 to understand their concerns and challenges as well as their hopes for the future. I have represented their interests in legislation I have sponsored and championed in Trenton. I will continue to work hard to make sure their voices are heard in the state legislature.
GARY SCHAER did not respond to the survey request.
EDWARD TOLGA GONCA did not respond to the survey request.