(Cherry Hill, NJ) Civic leaders slammed the extreme views of Tea Party Republican congressional candidate Garry Cobb at a Tuesday news conference at Ponzio’s Diner on Route 70 in Cherry Hill.

“This fall, the voters of the First District will elect a new Congressman to represent us in Washington, DC,” said Michelle Gentek, a Camden County Freeholder.  “And there’s one thing that is certain: Garry Cobb’s right-wing views do NOT represent the majority of voters in Southern New Jersey.  His views on critical programs like Medicare, Head Start and the minimum wage are way out of the mainstream – and his statements about women are just plain offensive.”

Gentek pointed to Cobb’s recent appearance on Fox and Friends and an interview on “The Steve Malzberg Show” on NewsMax TV, where he touted his opposition to ‘Great Society’ programs and alleged they’ve helped break up families.  Among the most successful Great Society programs are the expanded role for Social Security that included the addition of Medicare as well as Head Start. Cobb also implied that women were incapable of properly raising children without a man in the household.

“Cobb’s extreme views on Medicare, dismantling it as we know it, are consistent with other Tea Party Republicans in Washington who want to voucherize this vital program — potentially driving up health coverage costs by more than $6,000 a year for the average American,” said Gloucester County Freeholder Heather Simmons. “South Jersey seniors have worked their entire lives and paid into this program and it is only right that it continues to support them as they age.”

Washington Township Mayor Barbara Wallace challenged Cobb to substantiate his bizarre anti-women claims that families break up to get government assistance: “How do programs like Medicare, the Head Start pre-school program, the Minimum Wage, and others result in the break-up of families? Abolishing the Minimum Wage would take us backward, not forward. These programs support middle class families every day.  Cobb is just like the Tea Party Republicans in Washington who use the same old rhetoric and flawed playbook that has caused gridlock in Congress."

“There are some battles worth having, and this is one of them, “ said State Assemblyman Gilbert “ Whip” Wilson (D-NJ-5). “ Providing proper nutrition for kids who may not get it at home? How is that a threat to the taxpaying public? These Tea Partiers seem to have lost their soul. I was always taught that education is the ultimate equalizer. That’s why programs like the Head Start pre-school program that also provides nutritional meals to kids who need it most shouldn’t be dismissed by extremist politicians like Garry Cobb. Quite frankly, it’s shameful, “ said Wilson.

“Garry Cobb doesn’t understand how much the American middle class has truly benefited from some of these public initiatives — from Social Security and the G.I. Bill to Medicare. As a combat veteran, I have known many soldiers who relied on the G.I. Bill to better their lives and their family’s lives as they leave active service," said Sam Siler, a retired U.S. Army Colonel, well-known leader in area veterans groups, and a longtime Gloucester Township Councilman. “We’re talking about educating our kids and caring for our seniors. To me it’s a form of economic patriotism to do our part to help our fellow Americans,” he added. 

Gaye Pino, a longtime Cherry Hill civic leader and entrepreneur, who once worked as a social worker and has firsthand experience with how some social programs have saved families, kept them together and helped keep children in school — giving opportunities for mothers to go to school, get jobs, and become self-supporting said: "Making blanket statements without being able to back them up are dangerous. We should expect better from those seeking elective office. We need leaders who will lift us up, not tear us down and further divide America. I thought we’ve seen it all by the likes of right-wing extremists Sarah Palin, Allen West, Michelle Bachmann, Glenn Beck, and Ann Coulter… people who are against everything and for a whole lot of nothing… Now there’s Tea Partier Garry Cobb.”