MOUNT HOLLY – In their respective closing arguments at Rancocas Valley Regional High School, State Sen. John Adler (D-Camden) and Medford Mayor Chris Myers went to their base camp arguments.
Myers presented himself as the Navy veteran who gets vets, takes pride in being a Lockheed Martin executive who has contributed to ballistic missile development, and wants to downsize government. On the other side of the stage, Adler cast himself as the people’s champion whose priority if elected is an end to the war in Iraq, a reallocation of resources to domestic concerns, and a tax code geared more to working families than big business.
In his final statement at the podium, Myers restated his befuddlement over Adler’s bill seeking to stop teaching about veterans on Veterans Day, and chastised his Democratic opponent for becoming interested in veterans issues only when he decided to run for Congress.
"I don’t think veterans should be treated like pawns on Election Day," Myers griped.
He sharpened his attack on Adler the Trenton insider.
"I run a business here," Myers said. "If we don’t get the state of New Jersey turned around, we’ll lose more jobs."
He also defended his own tax record as mayor of Medford. "Out of 52 towns in the district, I’m the third best," he said.
The boos cascaded when he added, "If you elect Sen. Obama president, he’s going to raise taxes."
Myers finished with the central argument of his candidacy. "A vet is a vet is a vet," said the Republican.
Then Adler thanked all those who wear the uniform. Every question concerned veterans tonight, and alongside Myers, who boasted throughout of his service record, Adler mentioned that U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton (D-Burlington) never served in the military.
Contrasting his vision with Bush America, the Democratic candidate said he wants a tax code that benefits working families and small businesses, not oil companies and the wealthy; jobs here instead of tax breaks for companies outsourcing jobs; and an end to the war in Iraq in addition to more resources for veterans.
"The contrast is stark," said Adler.
He thanked Saxton for his service.
"He worked hard to save our bases from realignment," Adler said of the retiring congressman.
He added, "We have to grow our bases. We have to reinvestment in our bases and grow our bases. …We need to build roads in Burlington, not in Baghdad."