Our Revolution, the group founded to continue advocating for the goals of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ platform after his presidential primary defeat, is backing Democratic congressional candidate Fred LaVergne in the 3rd congressional district in this year’s campaign. We hear from one of the group’s New Jersey leaders in this opinion piece.
TO THE EDITOR: We are Our Revolution: South Jersey, a local branch of the national group that Bernie Sanders formed near the end of his presidential campaign. Our mission is to nurture and support progressive candidates that work for the benefit of Southern New Jersey. Our views are, not surprisingly, strongly aligned with Bernie Sanders’. Some of us claim that “we became born politically” when we discovered Bernie Sanders last year. Before that, casting a vote was the extent of our political activity. But we grew up fast, got heavily involved in the campaign, and are committed to the political revolution that he began.
During the primary election, many members of our group had the opportunity to meet Fred Lavergne, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Representative of New Jersey’s 3rd District. LaVergne “had the Democratic line” in Burlington County. This meant that his endorsement by Burlington County’s Democratic Party listed him on the ballot right under their candidate for president, Hillary Clinton.
LaVergne’s success in the primary race revealed some interesting factors. For example, he did not accept campaign money from PACs and did virtually no fundraising, raising a total of $600 during the primaries. Yet despite the $55,000 raised by his main opponent, he won the nomination with an impressive 63% of the vote. He now faces Republican incumbent Tom MacArthur in The November general election.
The most important issues to Fred LaVergne are jobs, infrastructure, Social Security, National Health Care for All, veterans, and the environment. He calls himself a “centrist ‘Bradley‘ Democrat” and believes in free market and nuclear energy. Although he supports a living wage and free college tuition, he believes that they “must not be done in a vacuum.”
Is he as progressive as the members of Our Revolution? No. But in many areas, his views are as progressive as ours. For example, he is against prisons for profit, speaks passionately against the push for the natural gas pipelines in his district, and recognizes climate change as the crisis it is. He wants the TPP to be killed, not renegotiated, and is a staunch supporter of unions, LGBT rights, and hand counted paper ballots. And like Bernie Sanders, he advocates for the elimination of the Social Security cap.
His opponent, Representative MacArthur is a multi-millionaire who almost always votes for the benefit of the wealthy and big business, in support of domestic surveillance, and in deficit to the environment.
During the primary election, LaVergne became a regular visitor and frequent presence at our Bernie Sanders Campaign Office, Burlington County Headquarters in Pemberton, New Jersey, and is an active member of our group, Our Revolution: South Jersey. We know him to be a man of his word. He has a wide range of knowledge on the issues and always supports his claims with evidence. He has strong opinions but never hesitates to sit back and really listen.
Although endorsed by the establishment Democratic Party in the primary election, that support has been lacking in the general. However, for many Bernie Sanders supporters, this could be interpreted as a positive thing. And the fact that Fred Lavergne spends almost no time fundraising shows that he’s just too busy working for the people.
For the progressive and the environmentally conscious voter in New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District, the choice is clear. No matter who you choose for president, on November 8th, vote Fred LaVergne for Congress.