I am running for Congress because South Jersey is in desperate need of a representative who is in touch with the people and the struggles they face each day, and who cares enough to do something about it and has the right ideas to help reignite our economy.

The 2nd Congressional District encompasses almost all of South Jersey - running from Long Beach Island to Cape May, up the Delaware River including Cumberland and Salem counties, parts of Gloucester, Camden and Burlington counties, and back across the state to Atlantic County. We have a rich history, world-class beaches and entertainment, farming and wineries, industry, manufacturing, innovation, education and technology. We have the U.S. Coast Guard, the Federal Aviation Administration's William J. Hughes Technical Center and the 177th Fighter Wing. We are a leading grower of blueberries and cranberries, and we yield Jersey corn and Jersey tomatoes. In case anybody forgot, we are the reason New Jersey is the Garden State.

Yet despite this wealth of resources, this district has the highest unemployment rates not just in the state but across this country, countless underemployed, and the lowest Kids Count numbers measuring child welfare in New Jersey. Over the last four years, our nation has tried to recover from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and while the nation has collectively seen some recovery, South Jersey is desperately behind. Our district's failure to keep pace with the national recovery during this period is not merely bad fortune, or the result of some distinctive factor that held our district and people back. It is the result of insufficient policies at the national level, and weak and ineffective representation here at home.

There are many issues concerning the people of the 2nd District, but overwhelmingly people are worried about jobs and the economy. We have waited too long for the failed policies of the past to work. There is more that can be done to spur economic recovery than yet another tax break for the wealthiest corporations and individuals - the so-called "job creators."

The central economic truth of our country is that the American economy is a consumer economy. More than 60 percent of our economic activity is driven by the purchasing choices of the American people. This is precisely why a strong middle class has been the common factor present in every great economic boom in our modern history. What our economy needs is not another tax cut, but more consumers - that is, working men and women who have sufficient income to buy the products and services sold by American companies. Our economy will not have a full and robust recovery until we significantly reduce our unemployment.

There is no magic wand, or singular solution to the recovery in South Jersey, just as no economy can be successful with one singular industry. There are steps that can and must be taken to get people back to work. To that end, if elected to Congress, I will promote and support the following measures to reduce unemployment and promote economic growth:

1. Targeted tax incentives for any company that creates jobs here at home - a direct tax break to that company for every new person hired. Tax cuts can no longer be broad handouts with the hope that new jobs are created, but must be directed to achieve the goal of lowering unemployment here in America.

2. Funding for repair of our nation's crumbling roads and bridges. Our infrastructure is in dire need of repair, and right now we have a large pool of skilled workers to do the job.

3. Taking the money from the proposed tax cuts for the wealthy and instead returning funding to states and municipalities so that they can rehire the police, firefighters, clerks, public workers and teachers that are so desperately needed.

South Jersey was once a leader in manufacturing and production. We built ships and yachts, produced glass and textiles. We were home to Heinz 57 and Sony. We made the president's china right here in South Jersey. All of that is gone.

America saved Detroit, but our representative of the last 18 years did not fight to save our manufacturing and production facilities. We must stop protecting companies that ship jobs overseas, and remember that America has always been a leader in innovation. Nobody does it better than America. I will fight to bring that back.

Please vote for me on Nov. 6 and help me get South Jersey back for our families and our future.

Cassandra Shober, of Ventnor, is the Democratic candidate for Congress in the 2nd District.


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