Full unedited video. Starts about ten minutes in.
In the race for New Jersey Governor, there are six Democrats and four Republicans. Each of these ten candidates have earned their way onto the ballot by gathering 1000 signatures across the state. Behind me, you will see the Stockton University Campus Center Theater. This is where the first of two New Jersey ELEC debates is going to start in about an hour. ELEC stands for Election Law Enforcement Commission.
But only four of the six Democrats, and only two of the four Republicans are on that stage tonight. The only way to participate in the ELEC debates is to reach $430,000 in individual donations. That is the threshold required by ELEC in order to qualify for public funds. In the general election, for every dollar donated to the candidate, the New Jersey government matches it with two, up to a maximum of $6 million. A condition of accepting these public funds is that you must attend these two debates, the goal of which is to allow the public to hear your views.
However, there is another way of participating in the ELEC debate, and that is by simply writing a check for $430,000 to your own campaign’s bank account. Although this does not qualify you for public funds, it does allow you to walk onto that stage.
Which brings us here tonight. We are outside of the campus center theater with the two Democratic and two Republican candidates Who were unable to reach that $430,000 threshold. These four candidates believe that New Jersey’s ELEC rules are not about informing the public, it’s not about contributions to a campaign—it’s about the rich buying their way in, and excluding those who are not.
So these four candidates have decided to create a debate of their own. We are calling it the “Outcast Debate”. We are grateful that you are here with us tonight and we would encourage you to communicate with the candidates, and ask your own questions, by tweeting with the hashtag #OutcastDebate.
My name is Jeff Epstein and I am co-founder and lead correspondent with Citizens’ Media TV on Facebook. Our specialty is to livestream events that the corporate media chooses not to cover. We call ourselves, “Journalism for the ignored.” Although we are a progressive news organization, tonight is not about us; tonight is about the candidates.
So let me introduce you to them now:
Republican Joseph Rudy Rullo was born in Nutley, New Jersey. He graduated Toms River High School South, earned an associates degree at Ocean County College and a Bachelors of Arts in political science at The College of NJ.
He now lives in Little Egg Harbor in Ocean County, where he has been an entrepreneur for over two decades, and is an actor in TV and feature films.
Mr. Rullo has also been a volunteer fireman and worked on a first aid squad.
Mr. Joe Rullo
Democrat Bill Brennan brings a wealth of experience to the state of New Jersey. Known for his direct and forthright style, he is a breath of fresh air in a political climate that too often skirts issues and points fingers.
Mr. Brennan is passionate about open government, public safety, environmental conservation, renewable energy, civil rights, and income equality.
He is a tireless advocate for the public, and has an unmatched record of fighting corruption at every level of government.
Mr. Bill Brennan
Democrat Mark Zinna is a two-term Councilman from Tenafly, New Jersey, where he serves as Council President and acting mayor. For 100 years, Tenafly had a completely Republican government, until Mark joined the movement which has now turned the council completely Democratic.
Councilman Zinna says his experience as the only Democratic candidate with executive and legislative leadership, uniquely qualifies him for the governorship at this rare political moment.
Councilman Mark Zinna
Republican Steven Rogers was a police officer for more than thirty years, in East Orange and Nutley, New Jersey. When he retired in 2011, he was Detective Lieutenant, and commander of the department’s criminal investigative division.
In 2008, he was elected to the Nutley Board of Education, and is currently on its Board of Commissioners. He has served with the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI’s National Joint Terrorism Task Force. He is also an author and FOX News guest commentator.
Commissioner Steven Rogers.
Tonight’s questions have been agreed upon by the candidates.
There will be a five minute opening statement, and
two minutes to respond to each question.
There will be no follow-ups and
rebuttals will be kept to a minimum, and kept within the candidate’s two minutes.
[ROGERS–rotate around to the viewer’s right]
1. In 2015, New Jersey’s property taxes were the highest in the nation. Not among the highest—the highest. According to NJ.com, “Just 0.2 percent of U.S. homeowners paid more than $8,000 [property taxes],” which is less than the average New Jersey resident.” What would you do as governor to lower property taxes for NJ residents?
2. A sanctuary city is one that refuses to cooperate with the federal government’s stricter stances on immigration enforcement. Donald Trump has pledged to “cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities” in his first 100 days, which was blocked last month by a Democratic judge on the ninth circuit court. What is your position on sanctuary cities in the state of NJ?
3. In your view, what are the most critical problems with New Jersey’s transportation system, and what will you do as governor to fix them?
4. According to CBS News in June of 2016, NJ is one of only 15 states where the income of the top 1% has increased and the bottom 99% has decreased between 2009 and 2013. How would you address the problem of income inequality in NJ, and what are your views on increasing the minimum wage?
5. What are your views on gun control and the second amendment, and in particular, do you support the right to conceal-carry in NJ?
6. Although there is currently no fracking in the state of New Jersey, there are numerous fossil fuel pipelines being proposed and built throughout the state. What are your views on these pipelines and on climate change in general? What will you does governor to limit New Jersey’s impact on the environment and move the state towards renewable energy?
7. The New Jersey state pension fund has only about one third of what it needs to pay current and future retirees. In 2016, Standard & Poor’s called this ratio “among the worst in the country,” and warned that this ratio continues to shrink. New Jersey owes $144 billion in unpaid benefits, which is more than four times the state budget. What is your plan to address New Jersey’s pension crisis?
8. Last week the United States House of Representatives voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Although not law, it has brought the topic of healthcare back to the top of the conversation. As governor will you do to improve the state of healthcare coverage in the state of NJ?
9. What is your position on the decriminalization and/or legalization of medical and recreational marijuana? How does this fit into the larger picture of criminal justice reform?
10. What are your thoughts on money in politics and its effects on our democracy? How would you address the issue as governor?
11. What are your views on pro-life versus pro-choice?
12. Do you support the recent 23 cent per gallon gas tax?