Goodwin gets small business backing in the 14th District

TRENTON – He’s being outspent, but State Sen. Tom Goodwin (R-Hamilton) is scrapping at any advantage in a tight 14th District state Senate race.

Today, Goodwin announced the backing of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), a small business organization that isn’t endorsing any other races in the state.

Laurie Ehlbeck, New Jersey director of the NFIB, said Goodwin, as a former small business owner, “understands what it means to risk his whole savings.”

She said New Jersey has restrictive regulatory systems and overboard taxes that hold back small business owners.

Goodwin won an interim state Senate seat in March, after former State Sen. Bill Baroni was appointed deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey by Gov. Chris Christie.

After 30 years in business, Goodwin said, “I know what it’s like. For me, pro-business is not just an election year stance.”

With all the pharmaceutical and high-tech business in this part of the state, Goodwin said, “somebody is supplying those businesses.”

“Jobs will create payrolls that will put money back into our economy,” Goodwin said outside Norman’s Glass and Auto Services, a local small business and NFIB member on the Trenton/Hamilton border.

A two-term councilman who led a Republican resurgence in Hamilton, Goodwin is now battling Democratic Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) to fill the final year of Baroni’s term. A full term in seat will go before the electorate in 2011.

Other than his former position as a financial advisor, Ehlbeck said she likes what she hears from Goodwin. As far as Greenstein, “Her past record has not been stellar,” Ehlbeck said.

Not to mention, Greenstein never returned the questionnaire sent by the organization.

“It made our decision easier,” she said.

The NFIB isn’t endorsing any other races in New Jersey, Ehlbeck said. “We think that this is an important race for small business issues.”

The 14th District is home to a swell of state and public workers, more 22,000 union members and 5,000 teachers.

Greenstein is using anti-public employee sentiment to convince these workers that Goodwin will be as harsh in dealing with their jobs and benefits as Christie has been.

Even with the small business backing, the district is usually won or lost over the backs of the public employees.

Goodwin told the press today that he hasn’t campaigned with Christie yet, but wouldn’t rule it out. “I’ve been with the Lieutenant Governor (Kim Guadagno),” he said.

Greenstein is outspending and out-raising Goodwin by a more than 3-to-1 edge, and some of that money was spent going negative on Goodwin in an attack ad that aired this week.

It accuses Goodwin of putting a price on women’s lives by not funding $7.5 million for women’s health clinics.

“I’m very disappointed in Linda,” he said. “The attack ad is completely untrue.”

He said $70 million in funding for women’s health was in the budget that he supported and that Greenstein voted against.

The money for the clinics was coming at the expense of the state employee prescription card program, he said, which has only a 1 percent surplus and can ill-afford to swing millions on the clinics.


Goodwin gets small business backing in the 14th District