Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi and Cumberland County Freeholder Jim Sauro want to fix the state’s budgetary problems, bring businesses to the region and reduce unemployment in the area. They say they have the business background needed to solve those problems.
In a one-hour meeting with The Press’ editorial board on Wednesday, Fiocchi, R-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, and Sauro talked about the issues facing the 1st Legislative District and why they should be elected to the Assembly to solve those problems.
Fiocchi and Sauro are running against Democratic Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak and his running mate Bruce Land. Election Day is Nov. 3.
Here’s a breakdown of where Fiocchi and Sauro stand on the issues:
ON JOBS AND THE ECONOMY
Fiocchi and Sauro highlighted their business backgrounds, which they said gives them a unique perspective on how the government treats businesses. Fiocchi operated a family agriculture business, Lee Rain, Inc., for almost 40 years, while Sauro is the CEO of A.R. Sauro Plumbing, Heating & WaterCare, Inc.
Both said it’s important to keep businesses from leaving the state because businesses are job creators.
“We have to be creative and find ways to keep those businesses here, and a lot of that is streamlining the taxes, making sure that we’re cutting through red tape and erroneous regulations,” Fiocchi said. “We have to be a watchdog for negative legislation that hurts businesses.”
ON THE STATE BUDGET
Both said rather than raising taxes to create more revenue for the state budget, lawmakers should work to cut spending.
Sauro highlighted his experience managing the county budget as an example of how he reduced wasteful government spending.
“I called in each department head. I said to them, ‘what we’re going to do is cut spending by 5 percent,’” Sauro said. “I let the professionals of the departments do it. And they did it. We still have our pens and pencils, paperclips, nobody got fired. Nobody got laid off. There’s waste in government. You have to go after that waste.”
ON THEIR OPPONENTS
Asked how they differ from their Democratic opponents, who are considered conservative on some issues, Fiocchi said he didn’t vote to raise taxes. Both Republicans said the Democrats representing the district still vote for their party’s leadership, who set a Democratic agenda and prevent some bills from getting voted on.
“(Andrzejczak) has voted along with his party to raise taxes,” Fiocchi said. “He’s certainly a member of good standing in their caucus.”
ON CRIME IN CUMBERLAND COUNTY
Sauro said he’s furious with the amount of jails in Cumberland County. While the jails create jobs, Sauro said they also create problems, like bringing families, friends and related gang members of those in the prisons to the county.
He said one way to solve the crime problem is to start educating children at a young age.
“You have to start, literally, in preschool,” Sauro said. “We’ve got to have 10 minutes a day. You talk to these children. Try to put them on the right path.”