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Press Release Announcing Candidacy

For over 23 years, Congressman LoBiondo has served all of the residents of Southern New Jersey with honor and distinction. LoBiondo was a true believer in the notion that the private sector, not the government, creates jobs and fosters economic growth. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, LoBiondo was a staunch defender of our military, both active and retired. LoBiondo’s efforts to improve the availability of services for our veterans, are a testament to the fact that the plight of our veterans had a special place in LoBiondo’s heart. In matters relating to the environment, whether it was wetlands protection or his opposition to offshore drilling, LoBiondo always came down on the side of safeguarding our precious landscape and protecting our jobs.
Though he was a strong believer in the principles of the Republican Party, Congressman LoBiondo did not hesitate to vote against his party when he believed that such a vote was in the best interests of his constituents and his country. One need only recall LoBiondo’s votes against the recent tax bill and the American Health Care Act for evidence of his independence and his desire to “do the right thing”. In short, LoBiondo was part of a fleeting wave of moderation in a sea of polarization. His departure from Congress will leave behind a void that will be difficult to fill.
I am seeking LoBiondo’s seat for three reasons. First, I believe that going forward, the residents of Southern New Jersey are entitled to the same level of representation to which they have become accustomed under LoBiondo. I share many of LoBiondo’s views on the economy and the environment. On national security, as a retired Supervisory Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, I am acutely aware of the threats posed by our adversaries, both from Conterintelligence and Terrorism perspectives. I also share LoBiondo’s independence. Like Biondo, I would have voted an emphatic “No” to the recently passed tax bill had I been a sitting member of the House. Like Biondo, I am adamantly opposed to any offshore drilling off the New Jersey coast.
My second reason for seeking office pertains to governance and decorum. Members of our legislative and executive branches routinely make outlandish promises to the American public which they know will not be kept; insults and allegations are now traded between the parties and branches with regularity and increasing severity. The former causes disdain for our institutions, the latter only serves to push us down and apart. As a body, Congress has succumbed to legislating by majority control rather than by consensus. Should I have the honor to serve as Congressman, I cannot promise that I will change the divisive culture in Washington. I can only attest that I will not be a party to any dishonest or reprehensible behavior, and that I will be part of that “moderate wave” that seeks consensus with the opposition in discharging our legislative responsibilities.
My third, and most important reason for seeking elective office, pertains to our children and the future of our country. Virtually all sectors of our economy (Financial, Pharmaceutical, Oil and Gas, etc.,) are well served by lobbyists in Washington. Their combined efforts recently culminated in the passage of the tax reform legislation. This legislation, along with other recently enacted legislation and executive orders, primarily impacts the near-term needs of our country.
Unfortunately, there is no measurable lobbying effort working on behalf of our children. We now have a national debt approaching $21 trillion, with $666 billion added in the last fiscal year and another $1.4 to $1.5 trillion in the pipeline. Irresponsible! Our social programs, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid continue to worsen, yet there is no discernible effort in Congress to address them. Willful blindness! We have legislated massive corporate tax cut reductions, but could only legislate a three-month band aid for CHIPs funding. Shameful. And let’s not forget the children of DACA. They are like a little white ball being batted back and forth in a game of ping pong between Congress and the Administration.
In the midst of all this uncertainty, one thing is certain. If I have the opportunity to serve as your Congressman, I will legislate as though I were the lobbyist for your children and mine. Every vote I cast will be weighed against three benchmarks: Is it good for my constituents? Is it good for my country? And most importantly, Is it good for our children? I cannot promise that I will solve any of the problems I have just mentioned. I can only guarantee that I will give them the attention and the effort that they truly deserve.
Ultimately, history will judge us not on how much we enriched ourselves, but rather, on how we advanced the prosperity, peace and security of those who will follow us.

Committee to Elect Robert Turkavage
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