March 12, 2017 In The News

Rep. Donald Norcross kicks off his re-election by promising to remain a foil against Donald Trump

Read more at the Burlington County Times, here.

COLLINGSWOOD — Rep. Donald Norcross kicked off his re-election campaign for his 1st District seat in Congress, promising he would continue to fight against another “Donald” and Republican policies he believes are harmful to New Jerseyans and working residents across the nation.

The second-term Democrat was joined by family, friends and supporters from both his first career as a union electrician and labor leader and his second as a state legislator and now congressman, as he formally set out to try to retain the seat representing the Democratic-friendly district in this year’s midterm elections.

“I’m running for Congress for my family — and not just the ones behind me — everybody who calls the 1st District home, because I consider you my family and all the families here in South Jersey and New Jersey,” he said during the campaign launch at the Collingswood Community Center.

Norcross, a Pennsauken native who now resides in Camden, said he wanted his family with him for his kickoff because they provide reminders of what’s at stake. He highlighted his daughter, Corey Norcross, who is pursuing a career in law, as a reminder of the importance of advocating for legislation guaranteeing equal pay and those that are intended to protect all residents from discrimination in any form.

He also recounted the tale of his son and daughter-in-law, who met when they were both serving in the military in South Korea. He remembered the phone call he received from his son one night, desperate because his wife was facing deportation to Mexico because she had been brought to the United States illegally as a young child.

“Serving our country in uniform, chemical response unit in South Korea, and they were going to throw her out of this country, the only place she really knows,” Norcross said. “She was called a Dreamer before we even knew what they were, other than people who love this country and want to help us.”

Finally, he shared his own experience of seeing a co-worker fall and suffer a fatal injury while on a job site, saying it still serves as a powerful reminder of how important federal workplace regulations are to all employees.

″(Occupational Safety and Health Administration) saves lives. Safety regulation is good for anyone out on a job,” he said.

Norcross’ pathway to re-election appears to be dramatically different than many of his New Jersey colleagues.

Where Republican incumbents Tom MacArthur, of the 3rd District, and Leonard Lance, of the 7th District, are expected to face stiff challenges from Democrats in this year’s midterms too, Norcross is running in what is generally considered among the safest Democratic districts in the state.

Norcross was forced to fend off an active primary challenge two years ago from former IBM executive Alex Law, of Collingswood, who drew attention by attacking the congressman’s ties to his older brother, Cooper University Hospital chairman and renown political boss George Norcross III, who did not attend Monday’s event.

But so far this cycle no primary challenger has surfaced.

The absence of a primary challenge could aid other Democrats, as it may allow Norcross to reserve his campaign’s resources and perhaps bring his clout with labor and other groups to bear in other competitive congressional races both in New Jersey and across the nation.

At Monday’s kickoff, Norcross spoke critically of many of the first-year moves of President Donald Trump and viowed to remain an active and outspoken opponent of many of the policies Trump has pushed, describing it as “Donald vs. Donald.”

He also spoke about the importance of raising the federal minimum wage, an issue he has championed since his first term in office, as well as protecting and enhancing Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, which he described as crucial both for national security and because of the tens of thousands of jobs it hosts.

“From a national security standpoint, we’re focused. From a jobs standpoint, we’re focused,” he said.

The incumbent was also critical of the president’s infrastructure plan, which he said aims to reverse the funding share for most projects so that the federal government pays much less, and Trump’s recent effort to strip $900 million in funding for the proposed Gateway transit tunnel connecting New York and North Jersey, from an important appropriations bill.

“He’s apparently forgetting what New Jersey means for this great country,” Norcross said.

Among the other speakers at the kickoff were Laurel Brennan, secretary and treasurer of the New Jersey AFL-CIO union, and Loretta Winters, a Gloucester County resident and leader with that county’s chapter of the NAACP. Both said Norcross fights for the values important to workers and residents.

Norcross’ daughter, Corey, also spoke, saying it was the first time she has become involved with her father’s political campaigns.

“If the last couple of years has taught us anything, it’s that supporting from the sidelines is no longer an option,” she said.