Congressman Rush Holt announced today that he won’t be seeking reelection in the 12th District. State Sen. Linda Greenstein (D) has already thrown her hat in the ring, telling NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that she is the best candidate.
Greenstein said she wasn’t waiting for Holt to step aside and didn’t expect his announcement, but when the opportunity arose, she took it. “I always had it in my mind that should something ever happen I’d throw my hat in the ring. And I did decide to do that today quite quickly. I made phone calls talking to many supporters letting them know what I was planning to do and I’m doing it,” she said.
While Greenstein said she has loved being a member of the legislature, she wants to deal with issues on a national level, which she said would be “very interesting.” She said if she’s elected to Congress she would be dealing with the same kinds of issues, like education and jobs, but her role would be different.
Greenstein said she has great respect for Holt. “It would be an honor to fill his shoes, although they’re very big shoes and it wouldn’t be easy. But I believe that I’m ready for it. I’ve been in office for about 23 years,” she said.
There would be a bit of a transition for Greenstein because she would go from being in the majority party in New Jersey to the minority in Congress, but that doesn’t bother her. She explained that when she started about 14 years ago, she was in the minority party. “It is a little bit more frustrating to be in the minority. But you can do a lot from that position too,” she said.
Greenstein also said she believes it’s important for there to be a woman in New Jersey’s delegation, which hasn’t happened for many years, since Marge Roukema was in office.
Three members of Congress have announced they’re leaving their posts — Holt, Jon Runyan and Rob Andrews. Greenstein said each is leaving for different reasons and for her, it would be exciting to take on the new role.
“I think sometimes you just need fresh blood in any job to see what might be done. Yes, I understand the pitfalls. I understand it would not be easy being in the minority. There are a lot of problems down there. But I feel like I’d go down there with a fresh perspective and I should be able to do something there,” Greenstein said.
Greenstein said that she may have represented more constituents than any of the other people who are planning to run to replace Holt, which she believes will be an asset to her campaign.
“I’ve represented quite a large number of people in this district both before redistricting and after and I think that combination of these factors would make me the best candidate,” Greenstein said.