Since my first campaign in 2003, I have called for an outright ban of dual office holding in the state. While I am encouraged by Governor Corzine’s statement in his recent budget address that ‘we need to end this now’, I am disappointed that the actions of the state legislature neither reflect the Governor’s conviction, or my repeated calls for this abuse to be eradicated from New Jersey.
As a member of the state Legislature, I am regularly asked to act in the best interest and represent the needs of all communities in my district. I am perplexed at the conflict of interests for officials who serve as mayors or council members in a municipality, and also state legislators representing that municipality and others. The best case scenario is a lawmaker is representing every town in their district with equal zeal, and therefore the town they represent at the local level is lacking representation. Worst case scenario, the town they serve in is being given unfair consideration, and numerous towns are lacking full representation. We have seen this situation first hand throughout our state. I currently have legislation which would ban this practice statewide.
Dual office holding is an egregious abuse of the public’s trust and must be forbidden in order to truly restore the public’s confidence in officials at every level of government. The officials who have successfully stalled this legislation for personal benefit need to be held accountable by the constituents which they serve.