October 19, 2018 In The News, Media

Editorial Board: We endorse Donald Norcross for Congress

Burlington County Times
October 19, 2018

U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross has proved himself to be a dedicated representative of the constituents of the 1st Congressional District.

Although the district represents only Maple Shade and Palmyra in Burlington County, Norcross plays a vital role in the U.S. House as a staunch supporter of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, the state’s second-largest employer.

Norcross, of Camden, is well-positioned as a member for four years of the House Armed Services Committee. Most important, he was part of the New Jersey contingent of lawmakers that secured two dozen KC-46 refueling tankers at the base starting in 2020, which will better fortify the base against a Base Realignment and Closure threat as well as provide numerous jobs.

Republican Paul Dilks, of Washington Township, is a mortgage originator who has the thankless challenge of taking on an experienced, popular and hardworking incumbent.

Dilks has presented some worthwhile positions that would help the South Jersey economy, such as the extension of the PATCO train line from Camden to Glassboro to link with Rowan University, and the creation of a regional convention center.

Other positions are more dubious, such as incentivizing companies to offer pensions again and bringing back minor-league baseball. Nationally, he supports President Donald Trump’s border wall and believes immigrants in the country illegally should pay for it. Both are impractical.

Also, Dilks goes out of his way to condemn his opponent for his connection to his brother, George Norcross, a powerful South Jersey businessman and influential Democrat, suggesting that the congressman is part of a dangerous machine that is doing “irreparable damage” to South Jersey. We think Norcross has ably stood on his own as a politician.

Norcross was first elected in 2014 and also has served in the state Senate and Assembly. An electrician by trade, he is a longtime supporter of organized labor and is a product of the community college system.

Among his latest initiatives is the Raise the Wage Act, which would increase the minimum wage incrementally over seven years to $15 an hour. He is out front on the opioid crisis, as co-chairman of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, and he endorses reasonable gun control, including expanding background checks, prohibiting straw purchases and the gun show loophole, banning bump stocks, and increasing mental health funding.

In keeping with his trade background, Norcross is the sponsor of bipartisan legislation called the Pre-Apprenticeships to Hardhats (PATH) Act that would benefit underserved populations.