Ciattarelli Discusses Business, Schools, Infrastructure at Town Hall
The countdown is on until Election Day 2021 and feeling the excitement and adrenaline of the race, Jack Ciattarelli pointed that out first at a Town Hall in Jackson on Wednesday evening that following 21 months on the campaign trail that there are 27 days (and counting) until New Jersey votes for Governor.
Once Ciattarelli made opening remarks to those in attendance focusing on a series of key issues, the floor was open to a Q&A where anyone could ask anything they wanted -- no scripted questions, no scripted answers.
There was a broad range of topics covered including the school funding formula, infrastructure, property taxes, vocational school, guns, critical race theory, and more.
Ciattarelli said that there needs to be a balance and there should be a discussion with regard to the 2nd Amendment and in providing protection for those in professions that are dangerous, which is something that Governor Murphy scoffed at in the first debate.
"I do think that us having a conversation with regard to dangerous professions is a reasonable conversation. Talk to people that replenish ATM machines, talk to realtors that try to earn their living sitting alone all day in an open house, do a Google search on violence on realtors -- I think you'd be shocked by what you found, so I'm all about striking the right balance," Ciattarelli told reporters, including Townsquare Media, on Wednesday evening.
Business Climate, Small Businesses, Unemployment:
Throughout the course of the pandemic -- and even well before -- many businesses in New Jersey have struggled to stay open due to the state economy, being forced to close down, and have short staff which has become a lingering issue due to unemployment benefits being doled out for an extended period of time.
Even late here in 2021, many businesses/food establishments still have 'Help Wanted' signs up in their windows and are closing early because they don't have enough help.
Change is something Ciattarelli explains needs to happen.
"We are our brothers and sisters keeper and there are hardship cases out there for which the unextended unemployment benefits are appropriate and for which an eviction moratorium is appropriate but other than that, it might be time for some tough love, it's time to get back to work!," Ciattarelli said. "I really do believe and we get back to normal with regard to unemployment benefits and one example of that is verifying whether or not you're looking for work as a condition of getting your benefits and knowing whether or not you're working from home and collecting a check before you get an eviction moratorium -- you'll see people get back to work."
The current economic situation and unemployment situation has dealt a dagger to small businesses trying to still figure out how to stay afloat and open.
"This is a very, very challenging time for small business and small business is the backbone of the New Jersey economy -- I mean, it was tough enough pre-pandemic with small business trying to compete with Amazon and now we throw all this on top of it?," Ciattarelli said.
Change to the unemployment situation is one of the issues on the list of paramount importance to Ciattarelli and helping small businesses survive.
"The unemployment trust fund is broke because we extended the benefits time and time again and we're very generous with the benefits," Ciattarelli said.
Schools, Vocational Training:
During the Town Hall and afterwards with Reporters Ciattarelli discussed that college is not for everyone and not everyone wants to go to college so more should be done to support them just same and help open the door to more Trade vocations.
He said there would be a state partnership with counties to make sure there's such a vocational school to provide students with the skill sets they need to grow and thrive following high-school.
"We're paying way too much attention to our college bound students. A kid that can go into the trades immediately after high school deserves just as much attention," Ciattarelli said. "Not only is that the right thing to do for our kids, it's the right thing to do for our economy. Go around and talk to employers that can't find people right now from trades -- licensed diesel mechanic, welders, carpenters, electricians -- across the board."