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Progressive challenges conservative Democratic congressman

Views From the Edge

A conservative Democratic congressman is being challenged because he has a pro-Donald Trump voting record, say his critics.

Two-term Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) is being opposed by Glen Rock Councilwoman Arati Kreibich, who last month formally announced her bid for the Democratic nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 5th district.

Like many recent first-time Democratic candidates, the 44-year old Kreibich was inspired to enter politics because of the election of Donald Trump in 2016.

The Indian American neuroscientist won a seat on the Glen Rock borough council in 2017.

Kreibich was born in India and moved to the US with her family at age 11. She became an American citizen at 19.

The  progressive grassroots organization Indivisible 5th, which has been critical of Gottheimer’s attempt to stake out a moderate record in Congress as chairman of the Problem Solver’s Caucus, had been putting out teasers about candidate for the last two months.

“He’s got one of the most pro-Trump records of any House Democrat in Washington, and when he comes home he refuses to explain his votes, hiding behind his position as a leader of the so-called Problem Solvers Caucus,” said Kreibich, a onetime Gottheimer supporter who says the incumbent Democrat has disappointed her.

Keibich will be going against the Democratic Party establishment. The congressman already has $5,683,966 cash-on-hand.  NJ Gov. Phil Murphy has already endorsed Gottheimer for re-election.

Keibich, a mother of two, embraces the progressive agenda including Medicare-for-all, the Green New Deal, free tuition at public colleges and universities, and wants Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump. 

According to the New Jersey Globe, Kreibach opposes Gottheimer’s efforts to roll back regulations she believes protect the nation against a financial crisis, and alleges the incumbent negotiated a backroom deal to funding to Trump to deal with immigration issues.

“When I talk to constituents, the anxiety, the worry that we have been feeling since the recession … that’s not a Democrat or Republican issue, that’s an everyday life issue,” she told the Globe. “We worry about how we’re going to pay for health care. We worry about student debt and our kids’ college tuition.”

A former speechwriter for Bill Clinton, Gottheimer won his seat by defeating a Republican incumbent but since joining Congress, he doesn’t have a leadership position. His main function in Congress, say his critics, is helping Republicans foil progressive initiatives within the Democratic Party.

“The challenges we’re facing feel so big and powerful that it’s tempting to give up, but we can’t look away. We have to fight,” Kreibich said in a post on her website.

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