New Jersey has a long history as a center of innovation. Today, that spirit of ingenuity is as strong as ever. We have more scientists and engineers per square mile than anywhere else in the United States. We’ve gotten here with hard work and smart investments in our schools and our community, and we’re poised to lead in the years to come. But reaching our full potential will require renewed dedication and forward-thinking ideas, because the truth is that wages are not keeping up with our high cost of living and the COVID-19 pandemic has hit New Jersey small businesses and workers particularly hard.

The health of our economy cannot be a partisan issue. I’ve worked with members of both parties to bring our tax dollars back to New Jersey, create more good-paying jobs, and help New Jerseyans thrive. But more work needs to be done to:

Help Small Businesses During the Pandemic. Our small businesses are suffering as a result of the unprecedented COVID-19 public health crisis. Not only have I voted for legislation that established the Paycheck Protection Program, I’ve also worked hard with small businesses in the community and colleagues in Washington to make fixes to the program to better serve our district. This program has helped keep people employed during this economic crisis, created grant programs, and enabled New Jersey to set up rental and mortgage assistance for small businesses. I will continue to fight for more support to help our local businesses survive this crisis.

Build on our economic strengths. We are leaders in healthcare, biotechnology, and medical research, and we have the most talented workforce in the world. We’ve seen it firsthand during the COVID-19 crisis. Our scientists and medical professionals are leading the charge in testing, treatment, and vaccine development. We need to leverage our highly-educated workforce to attract the next generation of technology and clean energy jobs to New Jersey. I’ve passed legislation in the House to bring federal dollars back to the New Jersey life sciences ecosystem and our technology sector.

Pass a tax plan that provides relief for the middle class. New Jersey gets back less money for our federal tax dollars than almost any other state in the nation. The 2017 GOP tax bill continues to target our middle-class families, with NJ hit harder than any other state in the nation. I have worked with Republicans and Democrats in the House to pass the Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act to lift the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap, and will continue to work on real, impactful tax relief to help the people of New Jersey.

Rebuild our crumbling transportation infrastructure. The Gateway Project is the most important infrastructure project in the country. The Northeast produces 20 percent of our nation’s GDP and needs reliable transportation to continue to deliver. Gateway will help our national economy by creating jobs, attracting businesses, and making our workers more productive by cutting commuting times. I’ve been laser focused on the Gateway Tunnel Project during my first term in Congress. Working with the New Jersey delegation, the Governor, and the Trump administration, we announced funding for the Portal North Bridge, a key first step to Gateway, which will create more than 15,000 jobs. I also secured millions of dollars for the Northeast Rail Corridor. I won’t stop fighting for Gateway and federal investment in North Jersey infrastructure.

Invest in education and job training. A good paying job with benefits comes from an excellent education, and we know that our school system attracts businesses to our region. I am dedicated to working with parents and our local schools to invest in science, technology, engineering, math, and civics. We have great universities in the district like Montclair State, Fairleigh Dickinson, Drew University, and St. Elizabeth’s as well as fantastic community colleges in Essex, Morris, Passaic, and Sussex counties. I want to continue to help them partner with local employers to provide a direct path to high-skill jobs for recent graduates so we don’t lose our talented students to other states. We need to do much more to make college affordable for everyone who wants the opportunity. For those who do not plan to go to college, we should provide apprenticeships and job training opportunities that lead directly to a job. The education cuts pushed by the Administration either mean less funding for our local schools or higher property taxes. Both hurt our economy, our students, and the ability of our children to compete for good jobs in the future.