The former mayor of Roseland has decided to challenge Republican Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen in the 11th district. Frelinghuysen comes from a political family and has the ability to raise a substantial amount of money for his campaign, but Democratic challenger John Arvanites told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that while he might be outspent, he won’t be outworked.
Arvanites said he’s had a passion for public service in politics since he was a child and was mayor of Roseland for 14 years. He said he imposed his own term limit by deciding not to run for reelection. “In the two years that I was off from public service, I was thinking about it and decided that this year was the best time,” he said.
Frelinghuysen is out of touch with 11th district constituents, according to Arvanites. “I know how our constituents feel because I’ve felt and feel what they feel,” he said. “When I started my accounting practice, I was eating Cheerios for dinner. I knew what it was like to go to a bank to get a loan for my business. I know what it’s like to make a payroll every week and pay health insurance premiums for my employees every week.”
Arvanites said he supports President Barack Obama and his stance on the millionaires tax, raising the tax rate for those who make more than $250,000. “The experiment that’s been going on of watering the tree from the top hasn’t been working,” he said. “We need to water the tree from the bottom so that the whole tree can grow and everyone can prosper — the millionaires and the working and middle class.”
Arvanites said he also supports Democrats recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. During the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte earlier this month, there was a bit of controversy over the issue because that portion of the platform was left out and members of the party seemed to be divided when a vote was taken to put the sentiment back in.
Money is a major factor in political campaigns and Arvanites likely won’t have as much as his opponent. Project Vote Smart has reported Arvanites had raised $27,000 in the middle of the summer with $14,000 on hand. To compete with Frelinghuysen, Arvanites said he is conducting a grassroots effort.
“I’m out there knocking on doors, making phone calls, attending every event that I’m told about and it’s working. The campaign staff that I’ve assembled is working tirelessly as I am. We’ve been working full time since April 17 up until yesterday and today. It’s a full-time campaign,” Arvanites said. “I will not be outworked. I can’t guarantee that I won’t be outspent.”