Office Sought: New Jersey 1st Congressional
Political Party: Republican
Campaign Website: www.pauldilks.com
No. of Tweets: 2,547
No. of Facebook followers: 579
Biography: Dilks, 50, is a former radio host on The Big Talker 1210 and other stations. The Gloucester County resident and community leader wants to stop the Norcross family, saying, "We not only need to drain the swamp in South Jersey, but we need to dredge the sludge."
On the Issues:
"There is nothing that lifts up a community more than the people that give back. For this reason Paul would like to start a civil service organization in South Jersey asking local businesses to give back. If you are a contractor in the region, Paul will be asking you to give one job per year to someone in need. This organization will be asking people and businesses to give their time, talents, and donations to assist people who don't have the resources to make sorely needed repairs."
"Paul believes there should be an outlet for students entering 11th grade to go to trade or vocational school if they feel that college is not for them. That way, at age 18 they can enter the workforce and be productive immediately without student loans, as it would be part of the education platform of local school districts. Paul will ask local unions for their assistance as we strategize and make this educational platform materialize. This region was once thriving as vocational schools turned many of our high school students into skilled, productive, and successful employees and contractors. We need to create an atmosphere of learning where students have a real alternative to college. As anyone who has been making a great living in a trade can testify, college isn't and shouldn't be the only pathway to a wonderful career. We are creating white-collar country when we also need people with strong blue-collar skills."
"10-year path to citizenship. DACA immigrants pay for the wall. If the 1.8 million pay an up-front application fee of $1,000, and $500 per year thereafter, more than $10 billion will be raised, according to recent estimates. Require 50 hours of community service each year to help immigrants get involved in American life. As Paul knows well from personal experience, serving others is one of the best ways for a person to feel welcome and connected.
For DACA-specific immigrants, Paul believes there should be a path to citizenship if you have lived in the country for 10 years, have assimilated, and are a productive law-abiding individual who has never been convicted of a crime. You'll be put in the back of the line, but you can continue to live here. You'll pay taxes on your wages and also pay an annual fee, to be determined, while you wait for citizenship and perform your 50 hours of community service each year. Your name will be put on a registry along with your address. If you do not pay the annual fee, time will be added to your path."
"Paul remembers growing up as a child in South Jersey and going to Philly to a dinner theater called the Riverfront Dinner Theatre. It broke his heart when it was closed. In his vision for South Jersey, Paul would like to bring the dinner theater concept here with not just one, but a few locations with weekly performances. Various local restaurants would participate, bringing guests a variety of menus and food and getting for themselves a chance to attract new customers. South Jersey also has many parks that theater companies could make use of."
"In Paul's opinion, this proposed PATCO extension from Camden to Glassboro is going to be needed more than ever with the economic growth of Glassboro and the expansion of Rowan University. This would alleviate strain on the highways, which has only gotten worse over the last decade. Many times it is just changing people's attitudes, getting the government to realize a problem and work to fix it. When people have a vision and make it a reality, great things happen. Also, South Jersey needs a convention center located within 30 miles of two international airports. Given all the medical facilities in the region, it would be sustainable. In addition, as important as the riverfront truly is, the economic development of our region can't reach its full potential by concentrating on that one area. South Jersey has so many great features! We are half way from New York to Washington and a stone's throw to Philly, so our location has many advantages, but there's at least one drawback: South Jersey is in desperate need of an identity to call its own, distinct from Philadelphia and separate from North Jersey. Instead, Paul would like to see local ad campaigns to attract businesses. Ask Campbell's Soup, Subaru, RCA, and other local companies to help create commercials and social media marketing campaigns that get the word out that South Jersey is open for business. Finally, Paul and his son fondly remember going to minor league baseball Riversharks games, soaking up the great atmosphere of that stadium, enjoying the excitement of the game, the fireworks, and the entertainment between innings. Paul would love to figure out a way to re-create that, perhaps in Glassboro or near Rowan University or in Washington Township or Williamstown. If we had great baseball action in our own area, you could spend a fun evening at the ballpark without the traffic nightmare. We are at a time in South Jersey where we need a local wave of new industries and technologies. Far too many people are leaving this state in search of other opportunities because our cost of living has risen to ridiculous heights. Although Paul will be working for the State of New Jersey on a federal level, he feels strongly that he can make a difference for South Jersey in policy making at the State level."
Minimum Wage, Retirement, and Employer Automation
"Paul will be all for a $15 minimum wage if employers get penalized in some way for replacing workers with automation. For every job lost to automation in the state, the business would have to pay an hourly-rate fee to compensate people for the unemployment that may result. As a protection for retirees, Paul proposes that 5% of the fee go to a fund dedicated for retirement purposes. The fund would enable people over the age of 68 who have owned a home for 25 years to be exempt from real estate taxes up to $10,000. If your spouse is under 68, you will receive half the benefit until they turn 68. This fund would also help seniors supplement their Medicare. It would be a benefit for all. Working at this high level with big buying power, we could negotiate for a low-cost group plan. Everyone would contribute 5% of their wage up to $31,200, and once they have reached the $31,200 it will be decreased to 3% up to the Social Security limit. This fund would be untouchable by the State except for 5% that would be set aside for administration, management, and allocation, and another 5% for infrastructure because we don't want to rely on the federal government. The retirement account will belong to the individual, who can keep track of it with a quarterly statement. The increased revenue for infrastructure would enable towns and municipalities to borrow from the fund through bonds to finance their infrastructure needs. This would enable the fund to earn income through interest.
We also need to find a way to incentivize companies to bring back pensions, an employee benefit for all. The 401k experiment begun in the 70s has not worked for middle-class folks who are raising children and growing a family in. Participation in a 401k only to have a company match the employee's contribution up to a certain percentage can be a financial burden in a high cost of living State, in Paul's opinion. Paul worked for three companies that abandoned their pensions shortly after he started and rolled them over into plans which required him to contribute to receive a benefit. A non contributory benefit for the people who may not be able to contribute at a lower percentage than those who can contribute could be a great solution."
"Paul's Catholic faith drives him to say he is pro-life. Paul is not ashamed and will never be ashamed of this position. Rape, incest, and if the life of the mother is at risk are situations for which Paul would consider compromise."
"Paul was hounded by a stalker for 12 years, so he believes that people should always have the right to defend themselves with a gun if necessary. Paul himself does not own a gun, but it is a right granted by this country, and he feels it always should be preserved. Paul's biggest fear regarding "assault weapons" and rifles would be that if they were banned, criminals who have them would have a lethal advantage. Restricting ownership to people over 21 doesn't make sense. After all, we have plenty of military servicemembers under 21, which suggests, and Paul firmly believes, that heavy emphasis should be placed on teaching the principles and practices of responsible gun ownership."
"We need to do more to fix this opioid crisis. Addressing this deadly issue will surely be part of Paul's plan. There is a shortage of detox and inpatient beds for people on Medicaid and the uninsured. A lot of funding is opening up, but it's focused on medications (methadone, suboxone, etc). These are meant to be combined with other aspects of treatment which can't be done due to lack of beds. As a result, many patients are sent to outpatient prematurely--a recipe for relapse. In addition, state and federal direction is for medication-assisted treatment. With suboxone, for example, Medicaid covers the medication but not the doctor visits, which cost a typical patient $150 to $200 a month. And in addition to the shortage of beds, there is also a lack of sober living houses in New Jersey. Most sober living houses don't want to--or can't--take people on medication assistance, but that's what the State is putting money toward. Further, the State is in court with halfway houses right now over regulations. The primary shelter in South Jersey is in Camden, but pending time in Camden is a real hazard for recovering substance users, given all the illegal drug distribution activity there."
"Medical marijuana is the right medication for many people. The process is difficult, and the card costs $200 every two years. Patients have to use a New Jersey doctor, but some people's specialists are in Pennsylvania or Delaware."
Veterans and First Responders
"Paul supports our police, firefighters, and our veterans and will make it a point to be present at various functions throughout the year. When Paul was on the radio, he thought it was important to honor those who serve and are willing to put their lives on the line in a moment's notice. They are our heroes. As part of his show, Paul started a "Your Hometown Heroes" segment. He asked local police departments to sing a song from his playlist. The plan was to incorporate veterans, then fire departments into the segment. Paul did not get to see it through to the end due to the sale of the station, but he felt it was a great way to honor these heroes. Paul has been to many events all over the region, whether the 9/11 ceremony in Washington Township, or Veteran's Day and Memorial Day ceremonies, to pay tribute, as well as the Wreaths of Remembrance at the Veteran's Cemetery in Williamstown. Paul says we owe these people so much, and he has felt great as a citizen taking opportunities to show these heroes the respect they deserve."