The Republican incumbent and Democratic challenger will go head to head for the newly redistricted District 12 Senate seat, which will now include Matawan and Manalapan, but not Aberdeen.
Assemblyman Samuel Thompson, a Republican incumbent, has served District 13 since 1998 and is currently the Minority Appropriations Officer. According to Thompson, he is particularly interested in healthcare, senior citizen issues, education, tax relief and transportation.
Attorney Robert "Bob" Brown, the Democratic challenger, was a police officer for thirteen years, but had to leave on disability after being shot in the line of duty. He decided to run because of climbing property taxes and said he will not run for a second term if he does not accomplish the goals he established during his campaign.
Both candidates view unemployment, businesses and high taxes as essential issues to address during the upcoming term for the state, however each have slightly different views on how to address them.
Thompson said he has already begun to work on these issues and is particularly proud of sponsoring and passing legislation that created the NJ Kid Care and NJ Family Care programs, which provides health insurance for low income working families.
"This will have a significant impact on municipalities to keep taxes down and it will help the state to keep their budget down," Thompson said. "It will save a great deal of money for local and state government."
According to Thompson, unemployment has dropped from 10% in New Jersey to 9.2%, which he believes is still too high. To reduce this number, Thompson advocates making New Jersey more business friendly.
"So many families are struggling to put food on the table. We need to create more jobs, put people to work," Thompson said. "New Jersey was ranked 50th for the best place to do business. Now we are at 48th but we still have a ways to go."
He wants to reduce red tape and said that unaffordable property taxes are forcing businesses and residents out of the state. A large part of lowering property taxes, according to Thompson, involves rexamining the way school districts receive funding to find a more equitable process.
Brown advocates stepping away from Abbott districts, a term that describes poor urban school districts that receive more funding for education in an effort to create equal opportunity for education.
"The main idea is to take our state income tax and take a portion of our sales tax that's dedicated for school relief, put it all together in one pot and then distribute it equally to every student in the state of New Jersey, unlike now where we have the Abbott districts," Brown said.
According to Brown, this would eliminate inequalities between Abbott districts and suburban districts, which would in turn reduce property and school taxes. He also plans to reduce property taxes by getting rid of tolls on highway.
"My plan is to roll back the toll increases they have had over the last few years and start the process of eliminating the tolls in entirely." he said. "That's an important savings for people."
In order to continue to pay for roads, he wants to reappropriate gasoline taxes that leave the state. Despite other goals, Brown said his main focus is to reduce property taxes.
"My main goal is to reduce those property taxes by fifty person so people, as well as myself, can continue to live in New Jersey," Brown said. "If I can't accomplish what I am looking for, to reduce property taxes, I will not run for a second time. I am not a career politician."
District 12 includes: Allentown Borough, Englishtown Borough, Jackson Township, Manalapan Township, Matawan Borough, Millstone Township, North Hanover Township, Plumsted Township, Roosevelt Borough, Upper Freehold Township