Barry chal­leng­ing Ra­mone for District 21 house seat

Newark Post - - ELECTION PREVIEW - By BROOKE SCHULTZ bschultz@ches­pub.com

In the District 21 state house race, Repub­li­can Mike Ra­mone is hop­ing to se­cure his sixth term, while new­comer Demo­crat Stephanie Barry hopes to un­seat him in the Nov. 6 elec­tion.

District 21 en­com­passes an area north­east of Ne­wark from around Pa­per Mill Road to Lime­stone Road and Kirk­wood High­way.

Barry comes from the non­profit world, which would be a “seam­less tran­si­tion,” should she be elected, she said.

“The work in non­prof­its re­ally re­quires a per­sonal one-on-one con­nec­tion,” she said. “What you need to do when you’re try­ing to help peo­ple is you need to lis­ten. Lis­ten­ing is key be­cause then you get to find out what their needs are, what their con­cerns are. What I learned from knock­ing on doors for the last sev­eral months is the res­i­dents of this district have a great de­sire to be heard.”

Barry said that her top pri­or­ity would be to bring a Demo­cratic voice to the 21st district, which she feels has been “in­ac­cu­rately rep­re­sented for a num­ber of years.”

“I’d like to con­tinue to fo­cus on the Demo­cratic val­ues that the peo­ple in this district care about,” she said.

For Barry, that in­cludes eq­uity in fund­ing for schools; qual­ity, ac­ces­si­ble, af­ford­able health­care; and ex­pand­ing men­tal health and drug ad­dic­tion treat­ment pro­grams.

In her con­ver­sa­tions with peo­ple by knock­ing on doors, Barry said those in the district are con­cerned with main­tain­ing a great qual­ity of life.

“I know the district re­ally well be­cause I lived here for a num­ber of years and raised my fam­ily here,” she said. “I want to con­tinue to live here and I want to con­tinue to en­sure that it is a fab­u­lous place to live, to raise a fam­ily, and to grow old.”

Ra­mone, who was first elected in 2008, said that he’s al­ways had the ba­sic plat­form of tak­ing care of his com­mu­nity, which he’s tried to do by be­ing ac­ces­si­ble and par­tic­i­pat­ing in com­mu­nity meet­ings.

“Be­cause if you’re not ac­ces­si­ble when they need you, then you’re re­ally not do­ing your job,” he said.

As part of the mi­nor­ity party, Ra­mone said that he of­ten works with peo­ple across the aisle to ac­com­plish his goals. He has sat on sev­eral house com­mit­tees, in­clud­ing the Joint Sun­set Com­mit­tee; Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, Bank­ing, In­sur­ance and Com­merce, Hous­ing and Com­mu­nity Af­fairs, Rev­enue and Fi­nance, Vet­er­ans Af­fairs, and La­bor com­mit­tees.

“Each have an enor­mous learn­ing curve and a lot that it brings to some­body’s abil­ity to serve as a more well-rounded, ed­u­cated, ex­pe­ri­enced leg­is­la­tor,” he said.

He has cham­pi­oned not rais­ing the gas tax and putting a lock­box on the trans­porta­tion trust fund money that comes from the tolls and gas tax. As part of the Joint Fi­nance Com­mit­tee, he worked with other rep­re­sen­ta­tives and sen­a­tors to tackle the $400 mil­lion bud­get short­fall last year.

Should he be re-elected, Ra­mone wants to con­tinue to sup­port small busi­nesses, re­duce state spend­ing and re­duce reg­u­la­tory over­lays. He also wants to use his ex­pe­ri­ence to help sup­port the new rep­re­sen­ta­tives, as he was sup­ported by peers when he was first elected.

“I think each year I go back a lit­tle bet­ter equipped to rep­re­sent my district,” he said.

BARRY

RA­MONE

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