Thursday, May 31, 2012

Castle for Congress: A Marine Aims to Change the Mission in Washington

Jason Castle
 Voters in northern New Jersey have a choice this year to elect a very different and refreshing member of Congress than the usual incumbents. Jason Castle is a Marine veteran of Iraq who wants to quickly wind down the war in Afghanistan and boost reinvestment and jobs at home. He is running in Tuesday’s primary election seeking to become the Democratic candidate in the newly redistricted 5th Congressional District, which sweeps across the top of the state, encompassing much of suburban Bergen County, a rural portion of Passaic County and most of rural Sussex and Warren counties. That seat is currently held by conservative Republican Scott Garrett, who is seeking reelection. 

Castle gained a strong endorsement by The Record, the region’s largest newspaper, over his opponents in the Democratic primary: Teaneck Deputy Mayor Adam Gussen, whose governmental focus has been limited to parsing school and municipal budgets, and Diane Sare, a supporter of the LaRouche campaign to impeach President Obama.

As The Record’s editorial stated: “While Castle lacks day-to-day political experience, his personal narrative is impressive. A Marine veteran now working in the information technology industry, Castle served in Iraq and also on presidential detail as a member of the Silent Drill Platoon. Castle proposes forming collaborations among colleges, trade organizations and companies to identify where jobs in a region are needed and to then develop training programs to fill them. It’s a good idea.

“Castle may not be an expert on the ins and outs of Congress, but he is intelligent and persuasive. Democratic voters in the 5th District should give him a chance on Tuesday, although we wish Castle was now living in the district. He plans to move from Cliffside Park to Teaneck by the end of June. Nevertheless, we like the idea of a charismatic military veteran going against Garrett, who is New Jersey’s most conservative member of Congress.”

A 30-year-old New Jersey native, Castle is mounting a challenge to both Garrett and the grid-locked Congress over the federal government’s priorities during the past decade of costly global warfare capped by economic disaster at home. As he put it in a campaign statement:

“The United States needs to responsibly reduce our military commitments abroad. We can no longer fight wars without a direct mission or clearly defined objectives. These wars tax our servicemen and women mentally and physically and leave our country vulnerable to other threats. For these reasons and many others, we must end our involvement in Afghanistan.

“As a Marine, I know that we cannot be successful in a war where we are unable to define success. America can no longer afford to commit billions of dollars and thousands of lives to the vast and divided country of Afghanistan. We need to build roads and schools in America and pay down our own deficit. More importantly, we must bring our young men and women home to their families.”

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