It has been two weeks since the Somerset County Republican Convention. It was frustrating night, and with a son deploying to Iraq in early May, it all seems very petty. What about the issues? Today, two of the frontrunners are on TV, criticizing each other about fundraising. Do they know how expensive it is to live in NJ?
I must tell you that my first impression of the night of the convention was that the blind support for the other candidates did not give the others a chance to even be heard. It appeared that voters knew what they were going to do and that explains why it took so long for me to write again. The regular, working people don't seem to be voting for the issues as they should be. Even today, voters complain about taxes, but they allowed expensive school budgets to pass yesterday and every year. It is the same with candidates. People complain, nothing changes. And then they vote for the most familiar name.
I was very unimpressed that words were spoken so that candidates' could try to win, rather than words being spoken out of sincerity. Those that spoke sincerely, ended up being completely ignored.
For example, I really like Vic Sordillo. He was so respectful and such a strong candidate. Yet, he was ignored, and to me, it was unfair. Here is a guy who has rolled up his sleeves and served for years and he got no consideration.
I never really liked politics, but now that the struggle goes on with increased prices and salaries that don't increase at the rate of the cost of living, taxes and food, voters should be looking for a candidate who understands that and saw his parents work hard to pay a mortgage and prepare five kids to go to college. Instead of it getting better, it seems to be getting worse. Even senior citizens are being forced to sell their homes and find group homes because they cannot afford to make ends meet.
I thought in the crowd, on the night of the Somerset Convention, that there were people, such as myself, looking for a candidate that has lived in a household with an average income and remembers the struggle to pay tuition, keep old cars running and who would help with putting food on the table. I thought my son should have had a chance to be heard but was defeated before anyone even spoke. Christie Whitman standing at the door greeting and campaigning as people walked in at the front door. How could a regular person have a chance. What if Thomas' accomplishments had the Lance/Whitman name? Then people would pay attention. I just choked watching the carry-on. I feel my son having lived it, would give citizens, a chance to make things better.
This is a guy who was taught to help the old people in the neighborhood, rake leaves, shovel neighbors' snow, come home for chicken soup and then go back out to help other neighbors. He delivered newspapers from grammar school through college, answered phones on Saturday and Sunday mornings in high school at the church and made $2.50 an hour. While other kids were sleeping, Thomas was out on winter mornings and working. I even remember him calling to tell me that someone at Rutgers had stolen the dolley used for delivering the newspapers. Just ask the neighbors and my kids, "Who always lent a hand?" Thomas.
Even last night, my 97-year old neighbor, refering to my Thomas, asked, "How is my new President doing?" She, too, would like to see a change and feels very strongly that Thomas has the right intent, based on hard work and experience. My son has set the example, as the oldest in the family, for his brothers and sisters to pursue their schooling and then for his three brothers to follow him into the military. He always believed the sky was the limit. Thomas has continued that pattern of success in so many ways. Speaking about Iraq, which was not my dream, his achievement was a very successful year there – reaching out to those Iraqis that were deprived. One such example was the young girls who were deprived of high school education. He got them out of the fields and inside of a school by opening the first ever girls' secondary school in a region of Iraq. He built it by using all his contacts and asked them not to send him care packages, because he was fine, but rather to send school materials and supplies for the Iraq schoolchildren.
Instead of being sad that my son was not home for Christmas, I was proud that he was helping change the world and help the girls have respect for the United States and what we have done for them.
Most recently, when Thomas spoke to me about changing the Newark Saint Patirck's Day Parade from a Sunday to a Friday, which is the way it was since I came to the country in 1965, I thought he was wasting his time and I laughed. I predicted that old Democrat politicians, like Tom Giblin, who have run the parade for years would stop him from making that happen and would be afraid that young blood would take the spotlight from them. Even today, after suffering personal attacks from those old Democrats at meetings, those same Democrats now admit in a letter that came to my house yesterday, that it was the best parade in a decade. As for me, I was present and never thought that the parade would ever again have such a good turnout. Everyone thought that the Newark Parade was a thing of the past. To my delight, I watched my other son fly the Blackhawk helicopter over the parade route in honor of deploying NJ Army National Guard soldiers and Thomas brought success to the parade on streets where it had never been before, going past the Prudential Center and the NJ PAC.
I would like to also say that Thomas also arranged for a post-parade party for soldiers and their families and for all aged people at Seton Hall Law School. When the parade tour came to that party and everyone was acknowledged for their contributions, there was not a word about Thomas who made it all happen. As a mother I felt it, but Thomas' intentions to change things and make it better was enough for him and he held his head high because he did not need a pat on the shoulder, Thomas was too busy calling for a moment of silence for the four NJ Army National Guard soldiers that were killed in Iraq in 2004. One of them actually served in Thomas' unit when my son was the commander.
When I think back to the convention, I thought that the the speeches would be based on beliefs. I thought serious convention voters would go for that, but they were more impressed with names and money. Honestly, don't people believe in people doing the right thing? People aren't taking it seriously. They aren't looking at the candidates' backgrounds. And candidates are trying to buy votes.
Many of these candidates don't really listen to the taxpayers. I feel like the other candidates are in this for the fame and fortune.
I am hopeful that the voters will give Thomas serious consideration because he is running for the right reasons to change the way New Jersey is today.
P.S. I wanted to add that Thomas successfully argued in court today to remain on the ballot in the Republican June primary.
One of Thomas' opponents encouraged someone from South Plainfield to challenge my son's election petitions. Of course, it was successfully dealt with. I must admit that I am a little disappointed that they dont have better things to do or are they scared of my son? I wonder which of the candidates was actually behind it?
I sincerely appreciate everyone reading this as it is from the heart and I, myself, am hoping for the best candidate to be elected to this position.