Asbury Park Press

TOPIC OF THE DAY: Clean Elections In New Jersey

Camden Gesture Sign Of Progress

Asbury Park Press — Friday, October 21, 2005

It was disappointing to see the Asbury Park Press criticize Assemblyman Louis Greenwald, D-Camden, and his legislative running mate, Cherry Hill councilwoman Pamela Rosen Lampitt, in the Oct. 13 editorial "Hollow gesture by Democrats." Instead of slamming Greenwald and Lampitt for turning over $80,000 of their Clean Election campaign money to their Republican Assembly opponents, your newspaper should be praising them.

It is wrong to dismiss the Greenwald/Lampitt gift as a "gesture." The donation is a manifestation of what the entire Clean Elections concept is about: leveling the playing field for individuals who wish to serve in elected office. The contribution also is a historical precedent. Why demean its significance?

Moreover, the Greenwald/Lampitt gift has been supported by Democrats and Republicans alike. At the most recent meeting of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, Commission member and Assemblyman Bill Baroni, R-Mercer, praised Greenwald's proposal and offered to help craft an agreement between the two campaigns.

Because of Greenwald and Lampitt's actions, New Jersey will be ensured of a competitive Clean Elections contest this year, in the 6th District of Camden County. This will afford all of us – policymakers, public interest groups, editorial commentators – improved insight into how Clean Elections financing for New Jersey legislative races can be expanded and improved upon in the years to come.

As the leading proponents for Clean Elections in New Jersey, Citizen Action recognizes that the current pilot program certainly can be refined. Because of Greenwald and Lampitt, however, there is greater likelihood that will be achieved.

Phyllis Salowe-Kaye


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