Bonnie Watson Coleman
Office Sought: New Jersey's 12th Congressional District
Political Party: Democrat
Campaign Website: http://www.bonnieforcongress.com/nj12
No. of Tweets: 889
No. of Facebook followers: 4,383
Biography: Bonnie Watson Coleman shattered racial and gender barriers by becoming the first African American woman to represent NJ at the federal level; she's seeking a third term in Congress after many years as a state lawmaker in Trenton. She's described as "a dedicated and outspoken advocate for women, the poor, the disadvantaged, and the vulnerable", and she says she's not afraid to fight hard for these communities... she "has never backed down from a fight because of political convenience, and doesn't plan on starting now."
On the Issues:
Jobs, the Economy, Infrastructure and Development
"Bonnie Watson Coleman believes in the greatness of our nation. She also believes that fixing the economy should be a bipartisan effort and that there are many issues on which to find common ground. Modernizing our nation’s infrastructure and emphasizing innovation are critical to getting our economy back on track. Our aged and at times dangerous roads, bridges, and transit systems provide opportunities to put people back to work. One of every nine bridges in the United States remains structurally deficient. There are millions of Americans who are out of work, but are ready, willing and able to take on these infrastructure projects. In 2010 Bonnie Watson Coleman supported construction of the Access to the Region’s Core Tunnel Project (ARC) which would have created 6,000 jobs for people in New Jersey, brought billions of dollars into the state, and eased traffic congestion for commuters in New Jersey and New York. She believes our focus on infrastructure should include Research and Development, spurring innovation that will revamp our health care, banking and telecommunications systems. We should incentivize the development of technologies that will take this nation to the next level, investing in higher education and training programs for workers. We must support our community colleges because they give students the tools necessary to obtain high-paying and high-demand jobs in manufacturing, trade and other growing industries. We must also keep high-paying jobs on our shores by negotiating trade agreements that are fair to the American worker, and we need our tax code to incentivize investment in the American economy. Additionally, the gap between the wealthiest and most in need is one that will continue to divide rather than unite our country. To ensure that Americans of all backgrounds have an opportunity to pursue the American Dream, we must move from a minimum wage to a living wage."
"For the last several years, the housing market in New Jersey has been tumultuous. From the burst of the housing bubble to the destruction of homes caused by Hurricane Sandy, middle-class families in New Jersey have been hit hard. Thousands of residents expected their homes to serve as a long-term investment for education, retirement and landmark expenses, but found themselves facing foreclosure and at the mercy of big banks. As a result of deregulating our consumer protection laws, struggling families fell victim to predatory lenders. Although the foreclosure crisis was a tough issue to tackle, Bonnie Watson Coleman championed housing relief efforts for thousands of New Jersey families, including the the New Jersey Stabilization and Relief Act and the Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act. In Congress, Bonnie Watson Coleman will continue to fight to create strong and healthy communities by helping Americans to stay in their homes."
"To create a safe and engaging environment that encourages critical thinking, schools and families need support. Bonnie Watson Coleman is a strong advocate for our public school system; she believes in the guarantee of equal education to all children and the diversity that is promoted by public schools. While charter schools may serve specific niches and limited purposes, they should not be a replacement for the public school system. Coleman believes that providing our children with access to affordable higher education or vocational education is critical to our nation’s advancement. She is a strong supporter of Pell Grants and tuition forgiveness programs that reduce the high burden of obtaining degrees. In addition to affordable education, our children should be exposed to trade and vocational opportunities early."
Energy & Environment
"Reducing our fossil fuel dependence will make America a stronger, safer place to live. Whether it is open space and farmland preservation, protecting natural wildlife habitats, or holding polluters accountable for their carbon footprint, Bonnie Watson Coleman is putting the environment first. She led the way for New Jersey to invest in energy efficient appliances long before the green revolution took root. Now, she continues that mission of promoting common-sense, sustainable energy policies through solar, wind, and cutting our dependence on fossil fuels. It is critical that we ensure clean air and clean water for the sustainability of future generations."
Gun Violence & Gun Policy
"Bonnie Watson Coleman understands that too often senseless killings could have been prevented if common sense gun measures were in place. We need comprehensive background checks, so that only responsible people own guns. We must ban assault weapons and ban high-capacity ammunition clips — there is simply no need for an individual to carry the capacity to kill so many people. Coleman believes that our goal should be to cultivate and preserve healthy communities; absent sufficient gun control laws, we risk the systematic dismantling of our communities. That is why she supported legislation that limited ammunition magazines, introduced legislation that requires prospective buyers to undergo background checks, and clarified that cars containing illegal firearms may be seized by police."
"Bonnie Watson Coleman understands that health care is a basic need. Prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans were deprived of the ability to obtain quality and affordable health care. Now, Americans are no longer discriminated against by insurance companies because of their pre-existing conditions, millions of children are now covered under their parent’s health insurance, and preventative measures are emphasized, resulting in more screenings for seniors. These measures were brought about because of strong leadership by Democrats in Washington, D.C. Unlike the Republicans and Tea Partiers whose first agenda item would be to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Bonnie Watson Coleman believes that the Act should be fully implemented and supported to ensure that it works the way it is intended, especially in New Jersey. Our focus should be on keeping the healthy, healthy, reducing the costs of acute care and emergency room visits and considering the needs of individual communities in the implementation of health care policies."
"As the wife of a Baptist minister and a Deaconess at her African American church, Bonnie Watson Coleman has and will stand up for LGBT rights regardless of the external pressures. Bonnie spoke fiercely on the New Jersey Assembly Chamber in favor of granting marriage equality for all New Jersey couples. Her voting record shows that she has always voted in favor of any legislation that allows for equality of all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity."
"As an advocate for fairness, openness and diversity, Bonnie Watson Coleman fights for Net Neutrality as it means a level playing field for all to thrive on. The proposed rules by the FCC are just the opposite — they would let large corporations pay more to get faster service, putting the consumers up for sale and essentially wiping out all the little guys trying to make it on their own. Such rules put those with the most money in control of the content that WE want to access. Net neutrality is an essential principle that impacts our daily lives as we enter into a more high-speed, technologically driven 21st century. In Congress, Bonnie Watson Coleman will keep the internet open."
Social Security and Medicare
"In 1935 our nation passed the Social Security Act and demonstrated our commitment to an American value-that after years of working, Americans should retire with dignity. Today, millions of seniors depend on social security benefits as a primary source of income, and others depend on it as the only means to stay above the poverty line. We must consider the obstacles that keep so many from even getting by, including rising health care costs, housing, job loss and depleted savings. Bonnie Watson Coleman believes that our values require us to defend and strengthen the retirement, medical, survivors, disability, and unemployment benefits promised to us in the Social Security Act."
"When increased age leads to rising health care costs, Medicare serves as a safety net to provide millions of Americans with quality medical care. In Washington, Bonnie Watson Coleman will work to protect Americans from Tea Party attempts to cut Medicare, convert it to a voucher program, and raise the age for eligibility of benefits. The contributions that senior citizens have made to our country are immeasurable. In Congress, Bonnie Watson Coleman will remain committed to providing seniors the opportunity to retire with dignity."
"Voting is one of the most fundamental rights of any democracy, and it is critical to preserve this freedom for all eligible voters. Bonnie Watson Coleman is steadfast in efforts to end voter suppression tactics used by the far right that keeps people from the polls on Election Day. While it is important to make sure our elections are conducted with integrity, we cannot infringe on the rights of the electorate to a fair and accessible electoral process. In Congress, Bonnie Watson Coleman will continue to be a staunch defender of the constitutional right to vote."
"Women are a key component in reviving the American economy. When women succeed, America succeeds. Despite this fact, women are paid $.77 to every dollar earned by men regardless of job choice. Pay disparity has a significant impact on women with low incomes and single mothers; it impairs their ability to repay student loans and results in lower pensions, ultimately making retirement more difficult. Coleman has sponsored the Unfair Wage Recovery Act and the Wage Transparency Act in the past, and she will continue to fight for women to be paid equal wages for equal work." "Bonnie Watson Coleman believes that a woman’s right to choose is between a woman and her doctor. She is committed to protecting women’s access to comprehensive reproductive health care services including access to contraceptives, education regarding all reproductive options, and support for healthy pregnancies. Coleman will continue to defend a woman's right to choose and vigorously oppose attacks against it."