South Jersey Women for Progressive Change is thrilled to announce our endorsement of Tanzie Youngblood for Congress in NJ's Congressional District 2. We believe that Tanzie’s entry into the race encapsulates our organization’s own enthusiasm and commitment to change in government, and that her presence in CD2 has started a much-needed discussion of the Democratic Party’s values in South Jersey.
When Barack Obama said, “Grab a clipboard and run for office!” Tanzie took him seriously, putting herself out there and at risk against the GOP propaganda machine and big money. She was there first. Then current Congressman Frank LoBiondo announced his retirement, and Tanzie found herself, once again, running against big money— this time from the Democratic side. Jeff Van Drew, Tanzie’s main primary opponent, is a conservative Democrat, a longtime NJ State Senator with an A+ rating from the NRA, who has voted against same-sex marriage, for more restrictions on a woman’s right to choose, and against the environment— over and over again.
And yet this is who the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and NJ’s own moneyed Democratic leadership have chosen to support. This choice is completely out of step with the national mood. Not supporting Tanzie was a missed opportunity for the local Democratic machine who is showing that they are out of step with their voters. Women like Tanzie--bold, brave, smart, committed--are the future of the party.
The situation in CD2 deserves national attention. It highlights precisely what is problematic about the Democratic Party— including the inability of its leadership to recognize raw, untapped talent, and to put resources behind people who represent a broader, more diverse, more inclusive group of New Jersey residents. The Democratic Party had the opportunity to invest in a talented, confident, strong, qualified female candidate. They chose not to. But, SJWPC will. We recognize that it’s time for a woman (and a woman of color) to represent the party and to represent our state. NJ’s record on gender parity in Congress is shameful. We demand change from the Democratic Party. This change will start with women. In NJ’s entire congressional delegation, women occupy only one seat in twelve, or 8%. Just 8% of the people we send to Washington are female. Not eight people, eight percent! By way of comparison, North Korea, Afghanistan, and Somalia have better gender representation in their governing bodies.
The lack of women in New Jersey’s Congressional delegation is not something that we are imagining. It’s the good old boys’ club personified. In NJ, the official and unofficial leaders choose “known quantities” and “team players” in backroom primaries, and these choices inform the DCCC, PAC endorsements, and campaign cash. The Van Drew endorsement by Democratic power brokers is a demonstration of how completely out of touch the leaders are with Democratic voters. Letting Tanzie slip through the cracks is a missed opportunity for real growth.
However,we will not miss this opportunity to make a decision that is right for the people of South Jersey. Tanzie is one of our members, and has been since before she announced her candidacy. She is strong on universal healthcare, the environment and and will work to support farmers and bring in STEM jobs to invigorate industry. Her social media presence is impressive, and her credentials as a former teacher and a Blue Star mom separate her from the bunch. We are confident she can WIN in CD2 with her progressive platform, her personality, and her highly advanced voter registration and get out the vote efforts.
Our members are fired up about her, and so are we, the leaders of SJWPC. Our endorsement process includes member surveys at on-site events, where we gather qualitative feedback from our members on their impressions of the candidates. One member said, “Tanzie is like the girl on the playground who got everyone organized and involved. Her energy and enthusiasm are infectious.” Another member noted, “Tanzie will energize the more diverse and enlightened areas of the district far more than the other candidates. 2018 is THE year for women! Women unite!” Further, “2018 is the year for women, specifically women of color, to get the recognition and support and respect owed to them by the Democrats.”
WE AGREE! We believe that having more women in office is long overdue, and beyond that, Tanzie is a highly qualified, inspirational figure who our membership is excited about. It feels good to endorse her, and we will volunteer hard for her campaign!
If you’d like to be involved with a voter registration drive in CD2 targeting marginalized populations, please reach out to Susan Druckenbrod, firstname.lastname@example.org
SJWPC takes its endorsement process very seriously. We have outlined the process here, but in summary: