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In a Year of Change, CIANJ’s Advocacy for Businesses Remains Vital for New Jersey

by: Anthony Russo

THE START OF every new year is exciting. It is an opportunity for a fresh look at things, and a time for change. This year will be especially interesting because of some significant changes on the political front.

President-Elect Donald Trump will be sworn in as our 45th president, and New Jersey residents will elect their 56th governor along with a new legislature in November. All 40 Senate seats will be up for election along with 80 Assembly seats. The Democrats control both houses with a 24 to 16 edge in the Senate and a 52 to 28 margin in the Assembly.

As the Senate and Assembly candidates jockey for position and compete against each other in the June primaries, it is important for CIANJ members to be engaged in the political process. Voter turnout in non-presidential elections has been at historic lows. In 2015, only two out of 10 registered voters went to the ballot box. This is unacceptable and needs to change.

As I begin my tenure as CIANJ’s president, and as we celebrate our 90th year of service to the business community, it is important to reflect and remind ourselves of our mission—to be champions of a free market economy where innovation drives private-sector job growth. New Jersey prospers when our economy is strong and robust. The quality of life that our employers provide for their employees should never be taken for granted, and every effort should be made to support the companies that call New Jersey home.

CIANJ is fortunate to have leadership who understands our mission. Their vision and guidance enables our Association to advocate successfully in Trenton and beyond. I encourage every one of you to be as active as you can in the political process by dedicating time to attend our legislative events, and by voicing your concerns and sharing your ideas with our lawmakers.

If you cannot dedicate time, we hope you will donate money to CIANJ’s political affiliate, the Private Enterprise Political Action Committee (PENPAC). PENPAC and its Trustees identify and endorse candidates (on a bi-partisan basis) who support business causes and efforts. The business community in New Jersey needs to be more active and vocal on the issues that impact the economy and companies.

One of my goals as president is to raise CIANJ’s profile with our lawmakers.They are constantly being tugged in every direction on multiple issues and causes where they need to make difficult decisions based on the information at hand. It is our duty to inform them of our positions, so they can make decisions based on what is best for our state’s business community.

While we will not win all the battles ahead, we still need to be vigilant and push for business-friendly policies at every opportunity. I look forward to working with all of you in the months and years ahead, and I welcome your suggestions and ideas.

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