We view our website and our mission to cover North Jersey as a public trust. In order to help our readers—supporters and critics alike—understand what we publish, we believe it is critical at the beginning of the new year to state what our coverage priorities will be.
The way the political calendar is set up in the Garden State, every year is an election year. In 2023, 120 elections across the state will be held as each State Senator and Assembly member will be on the ballot this November.
After redistricting, there has been an upheaval resulting in incumbents possible facing incumbents within their own party. And with most districts in North Jersey redrawn safely for Republicans and Democrats, the real races will be held during the primaries. We will be following those races and in the coming days and weeks, offering a capsule for who is—and isn’t—running in the district you live in.
To that end, we are looking to extend our coverage past North Jersey on the state level. The reasoning is simple—there are issues that happen across the state that have an effect on the life of North Jersey residents. In the past year, subjects such as auto thefts, gun safety, and the economy have impacted all residents of New Jersey.
One of those areas we are especially interested in is education. Looking back at 2022, parental rights in education was an issue pushed by Republicans and gained steamed with the controversy over new health and sexual education requirements as mandated by the state’s Department of Education.
Additionally, as we continue to put COVID in the rearview mirror, the matter of learning loss will be one that both parties have stated must be addressed. The facts are, like most students in the U.S., standardized testing dropped over the last two years to a level that is quite frankly unacceptable. We will not give air to those looking to relitigate the pandemic policies of remote learning—we will examine and promote those who offer solutions going forward.
Lastly on the state level, we look forward to the results from the independent postmortem of the Murphy Administration’s actions promised to be published later this year.
Nationally, the 2024 Presidential campaign will begin in earnest over the next couple of months. We expect President Joe Biden to run again. And we are eagerly looking forward to the field that Republicans have to choose from. Donald Trump has already thrown his hat into the ring. Will former members of his administration, such as Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo and Nikki Haley run? Will another governor besides Florida’s Ron DeSantis enter the race? We will track which lawmakers from New Jersey back as the year moves along.
In Washington, we enter two years of divided government with Dems still controlling the Senate as Republicans have regained control of the House. Our focus will be on the lower chamber and its actions.
First and foremost, who will be the Speaker? As of this weekend, Rep. Kevin McCarty still appears to be short of votes to lead his party. What deals will he make and with whom to become Speaker again is an issue that we will monitor.
The bigger question is how will Republicans govern? The extremist wing of the party wants investigations of Hunter Biden, the Jan. 6 Select Committee and the threatened impeachment of Biden Administration members such as Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. We believe that is not what the majority of the American public wants.
But what we will be closely examining is what their legislative priorities will be. What initiatives will they push forward, what accomplishments of the Biden Administration will they attempt to undermine and how will they work to reduce inflation, as that was the issue they ran on last November.
Most importantly, we will focus on the North Jersey House delegation. With Democrats in the minority, how will they work with the Republican counterparts to get the people’s business done? And we will be watching newly elected Tom Kean, Jr. to see if he is the moderate he has portrayed himself as or will he align with the right-wing extremists out-going Rep. Tom Malinowski painted him as.
There are plenty of other storylines and news that will emerge in the coming year. You will not always agree with what we say—and honestly we do not want that. But know we will continue to be the voice for those in the center and look to call out extremists of both parties that do not have the interests of New Jerseyans at heart.
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