Former NJ Governors Call for Citizen Action Against ‘Blame-Game’ Politics
JERSEY CITY — Are you fed up with politics? Tired of all the negativity and finger-pointing? Former New Jersey governors Tom Kean and Jim Florio want you to join them and take The Pledge.
During a news conference Tuesday, Kean and Florio attended the kickoff of the Civic Challenge Campaign, which is described as a statewide effort to fix our broken political and governmental system.
Harry Pozycki, chairman of the Citizens Campaign, said it’s designed to empower normal citizens.
“The effort must be nonpartisan and without blame and most importantly it needs to focus on solutions, because that’s the best way to turn away from the blame game,” he said.
Pozycki stressed this effort begins with a Pledge, a values proposition that citizens can make and challenge others to take.
The Civic Pledge: “I pledge to leave my community and country better than I found them by pursing practical solutions instead of just pointing out problems and assigning blame.”
Kean, a Republican, said he’s taken the Civic Pledge and he’s encouraging all Garden State residents to do so as well because our Constitution begins with the words "We the people."
“We the people is all of us together, and it’s only with all the people, all of us together, that we’re going to be able to get this done,” he said. “They can make this city, this state, this country a better place, and that’s why this Civic Pledge is so important, particularly now, when some of us have lost a little faith.”
Florio, a Democrat, said it’s important for people to become educated and participate in shaping the future.
“Old policies are not going to deal with new problems. We’ve got to get people engaged and involved,” he said. “Engaged because that’s the way our system works. It’s called participatory democracy. If we don’t work at making it work, there’s going to be problems.”
Pozcki explained pledge-takers are invited to advance the principals of the Campaign by following through in one of three ways.
“They can become a proponent of solution civics, a form of civics for high schools and for adults that teaches people how to solve problems in a no-blame fashion,” he said. “Or they can become a solutions news-gatherer and assist members of the media by finding solutions that are relevant to the issues and the stories of the day, and making sure that everyone knows about them.”
If people are able to contribute more time, they can become a civic trustee and participate in the monthly solution sessions of civic trustees in their own communities.
He said the Civic Challenge is already working in cities like Newark and Trenton, where participants are advancing solutions in the areas of community police relations, better approaches to student discipline and extreme storm adaption measures.
“No matter who we elect as president on Nov. 8, it is only we the citizens who can get us out of the rut of rigid ideology and blame-game politics and the government problems that type of politics creates,” he said. “The Civic Challenge offers the plans and the tools to renovate our system and take us from gridlock to greatness.”