Home News: N.J. congressional candidate ends campaign in favor of environmental advocacy

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by: Mark Spivey

Ed TeachingNORTH PLAINFIELD — At the end of the day, there was only room for one of two passions in Ed Potosnak’s life.

It’s why the Democratic candidate for the 7th Congressional District seat announced the end of his campaign on Monday, instead choosing to accept a position as executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, a nonprofit advocacy group active in matters of environmental protection.

“It was a difficult decision,” the borough resident said. “But after deep consideration, I believe I made the right decision.”

Calling his new post a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Potosnak said the work will allow him to promote a cause he described as a lifelong passion. The league is notable for regularly compiling “scorecards” indicating how state legislators vote on bills affecting environmental matters and, in Potosnak’s words, “making sure voters are informed” about the results.

“I’ll be monitoring what’s happening in Trenton, both in the Assembly and the Senate, but also working with stakeholders out in communities, listening and learning about their priorities,” he said. “The league actually has a number of board members very active in different regional environmental interests statewide.”

A former chemistry teacher at Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School who still works as a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University, Potosnak in 2010 mounted an unsuccessful effort to unseat Republican Rep. Leonard Lance, painting the incumbent as a politician who lost touch with his constituents and supports big business at the expense of the middle class. Describing himself as a political outsider, Potosnak specifically cited Lance’s support for Republican budget proposals that would have made cuts to Medicare, and he charged that Lance was more interested in “big insurance companies and big oil” than senior citizens.

Potosnak won about 40 percent of the 2010 vote against Lance in a district that includes large parts of Hunterdon and Somerset counties, plus smaller sections of Union and Middlesex counties. Last May he announced that he was giving it another try.

But while Potosnak in 2011 was one of two apparent Democratic challengers for Lance’s seat, none are known to exist now. The 7th Congressional District was realigned last year, leaving former Edison Mayor Jun Choi, who previously had announced his own campaign, on the outside looking in.

Potosnak, who also owns a small home-improvement business, didn’t say whether he would support another candidate’s run for Lance seat or whether he planned to run for public office again in the future.

“I am very grateful for the outpouring of support I received to bring my real-world experience as a chemistry teacher and small business owner to Congress,” he said. “I will be working every day to ensure our children and future generations have clean water and air, as well open space.”


PolitickerNJ: Dem candidate Potosnak implores commission for more competitive, compact districts.

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By: Max Pizarro

Source: http://www.politickernj.com/51586/dem-candidate-potosnak-implores-commission-more-competitive-compact-districts


NEW BRUNSWICK - Seventh Congressional District candidate Ed Potosnak lost last year when he faced incumbent Republican Leonard Lance.

Now he wants a more competitive and compact congressional district.

"Many people told me they were not going to participate becuse their vote didn't matter, because it was a Republican district."

Potosnak said the lack of competitive districts is a major factor in Congress's hyper-partisanship.

"The only elections that matter are the primaries. You can end that partisanship in Washington by making competitive districts."

The unsuccessful Democratic candidate - who's running again this year in a 7th District primary that includes declared candidate, former Edison Mayor Jun Choi - pointed to Union Township as a further sign of madness.

Three congresspeople serve the same town.

"It just contributes to the confusion people have about where they should go for help," Potosnak said. "It creates diffuculty for members of Congress to be held accountable."


Ed Supports the Arts and k.d. lang

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Article can be found at: http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2011/09/ed-potosnak-comes-out-for-kd-lang-new.html

By: Howie Klein

I was the general manager of Sire Records when k.d. lang released her platinum smash album, Ingénue in 1992. I worked on the amazing video for "Constant Craving," which I wanted to use in this post. But Warner Bros Records, a company long since pillaged by Mitt Romney's Bain Capital and sold off for spare parts to the Russian Mafia, doesn't allow embedding for the clip on YouTube. So... below, the song that inspired the Rolling Stones' "Anybody Seen My Baby" 5 years later-- yes, k.d. gets writing credit on it-- is the live Grammy Awards performance. In fact, the song won the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. 

Aside for my love for k.d. and for her music, why am I bringing this up now? Glad you asked. k.d. is also one of Ed Potosnak's favorite all-time artists and, as you probably know, Blue America has endorsed Ed for the New Jersey congressional seat currently held by anti-health care reactionary Leonard Lance. See that platinum award disc up top? k.d. gave that to me after her album sold a million copies. This week she agreed to personally autograph it, not to me, but to whomever wins our Ed Potosnak contest. She's playing at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, NJ on September 22. So... we'll pick a lucky random winner on September 20 and Ed will personally take the plaque backstage so k.d. can sign it to the winner. So, the obvious question: how do you enter? 

That's easy: just donate to Ed's campaign here-- any amount; after all, we're not Republicans-- and one winner will be chosen at random to get this very special Thank You from Blue America. We did a similar kind of contest for a signed Green Day guitar and raised over $5,000 although the winner just gave $10. Make sure you contribute between now and September 20th, either on the linked ActBlue page or by check to Blue America PAC, PO Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027. 

But, apart from wanting a memento of k.d.'s incredible career, why donate to Ed's campaign? We've written about him many times before but you can get to know more about him from this guest post he wrote in July. Ed's a science teacher and yesterday he told me that "our future is in today's classrooms. All across our nation great disparities exist between the educational experiences of some students and others. Not only is it not fair, these inequities hurt our future. Republicans have shown their disregard for our future time again by slashing aid to schools, teacher bashing, and cutting support for our colleges. For America to remain economically competitive in the global economy, Congress needs educators like myself to make sure every child is treated fairly and has access to a high quality education." Equality of all kinds is a hallmark of Ed's campaign. He also said that "our nation's diversity is one of our greatest strengths and in Congress I will work every day to ensure every American is treated equally. It is not acceptable to allow discriminatory policies to be on the books. As an openly gay man, I have experienced institutional discrimination and am committed to making sure it ends for all our communities." 

Again, you can contribute to a stalwart and dedicated New Jersey progressive, Ed Potosnak, here at the Blue America page, and we'll enter you in the running for the k.d. lang RIAA platinum award for Ingénue


Blue Jersey: Jared Polis in NJ for Ed Potosnak

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Found at: http://www.bluejersey.com/diary/19463/jared-polis-in-nj-for-ed-potosnak

by: Rosi Efthim

Ed Potosnak & Jared Polis
Congressman Jared Polis of Colorado was in New Jersey last night at an out-of-district event in Hoboken to raise money for NJ-7 repeat challenger Ed Potosnak.

Among the 30-plus attendees were DNC Executive Committee member Babs Casbar Siperstein and Hudson Stonewall Democrats founder Bob Zuckerman.

Polis spoke about the importance of the 7th District and why it's a key to taking back the House in 2012. Of course, we don't know how the 7th will be reconfigured after congressional redistricting, and the possibility New Jersey will be redrawn to force a showdown between a Republican and Democratic incumbent in central Jersey is very real.

At the moment in the current 7th, we're looking at a primary on the Democratic side, with Potosnak, the candidate in 2010 competing for the nomination with Jun Choi, former mayor of Edison.

And there's an interesting wrinkle there. Choi has been telling potential supporters that he was drafted to challenge GOP incumbent Leonard Lance by the DCCC itself. That may be true, certainly. But it is Jared Polis who chairs DCCC's Red to Blue program, which NJ-7 Dem challengers, like Linda Stender, have been chosen for before, and the District is likely to receive that program's boost and attention in 2012.

Polis, like Frank Lautenberg, is one of the richest men in Congress, with a business portfolio that includes Pro Flowers and several internet-based companies. He's a Princeton alum. And swimming upstream against a tide of GOP antagonism toward teachers, Polis is the founder of a teacher recognition program in his home state. Potosnak, a small business owner now, is a former chemistry teacher at Bridgewater-Raritan Regional HS.

The visiting congressman, who is the first openly gay man elected to the House as a freshman, also discussed the value of a more diverse Congress, and how after Tammy Baldwin is elected to the Senate in Wisconsin (I hope), there will be only three openly gay members, and he hopes Ed would be the fourth.


Courier News: Lance now touts programs he voted against

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Found at: http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/20110916/NJOPINION03/309160011/Lance-now-touts-programs-he-voted-against?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|NJOPINION|s

By: Ed Potosnak

“You lie!” shouted Rep. Wilson while pointing at President Obama during his 2009 health care address to Congress. After the dust settled and apologies were made, it was determined that it was in fact the Republican congressman who was lying: illegal immigrants were not getting government-subsidized health care.

Unfortunately, it is all too common for Americans to distrust our elected officials. And who can blame them? Politicians in Washington continue to fabricate lies to defend the harmful actions they take and their lack of action to address the nation’s critical needs. Meanwhile, our families and businesses face the consequences of policymakers’ actions head-on: high unemployment; soaring costs of gas, healthcare, food and other necessities, fear of losing their jobs; and the prospect of good jobs for their children when they graduate.

The American people operate in reality, while our politicians in D.C. spin words into an abstraction of reality. It is sickening to watch as career politicians distort the truth to gain political advantage. I am tired of the “Washington Doublespeak.” It is time we hold our elected representatives accountable for misleading Americans time and again.

I was struck how my Congressman, Rep. Leonard Lance, paraded around Bound Brook with his Tea Party Mayor Pilato, touting projects funded by legislation both of them opposed. While it’s no longer surprising to see politicians mislead voters, it is striking when they take credit for things they were against. The Army Corps of Engineers deserve credit for the flood control efforts in Bound Brook, and so too do those brave politicians who voted to fund this project and many others across New Jersey and our nation.

Unfortunately, Congressman Lance opposed funding for the flood project on numerous occasions, in both the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Recovery Act made it possible for the Green Brook Flood Control Project in the Raritan River Basin to move toward completion with over $13 million in funds that Lance voted against.

This is one of the many problems in Washington: politicians who want to have their proverbial cake and eat it, too. They think that if they vote against funding something, they can still take credit when the check arrives. It saddens me to see this, and it is simply wrong.

We need members of Congress who will fight to bring our tax dollars back to our community where they belong. People who will not hide from their record by misleading voters with empty words and false smiles for staged photos when it is convenient for them and their re-election. Members who will advocate for investments to improve the lives of our families and businesses and vote for funding that provides security for their homes from flooding.

Nearly two years after Congressman Wilson’s misguided outburst, President Obama once again addressed a joint session of Congress to address the economy and outline a job creation proposal. And, as expected, with clockwork precision, spin and deception began from career politicians like Lance and Wilson.

In order to change Washington, we need to change the people who represent us in Washington. Career politicians will only bring us more of the same problems. We need real world people with real world experience to represent us in Congress, teachers and small business owners who don’t think or act like them. We can do better, and together we will.


DWT: More Uncertainty And Spinelessness, Washington’s Inability To Get The Job Done

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Found at: http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2011/07/guest-post-from-ed-potosnak-d-nj.html

More Uncertainty And Spinelessness, Washington's Inability To Get The Job Done

-by Ed Potosnak

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a production of the 2010 Kennedy Center Honoree Jerry Herman's, Hello Dolly! As the lead character, Dolly Levi smartly proclaims, "Money, pardon the expression, is like manure. It's not worth a thing unless it's spread around, encouraging young things to grow."

As true today as it was in 1964, investments in education, research and development, and infrastructure promote future economic growth and prosperity. Unfortunately, Washington hasn't learned that lesson and are instead succumbing to rightwing extremist pressures to concentrate wealth, give handouts to big oil, proliferate the military-industrial complex, gut medicare and social security, and cut vital programs intended to "help young things grow."

All this is leading to more uncertainty for our families and businesses. Fears of whether they will have a job tomorrow, keep their home, whether their children will be able to afford college and get a good job upon graduation continue to cast doubt in America.

I believe in the United States of America's ability to meet the challenges of the 21st century and those created by the Bush Recession. I believe the American people are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to grow our economy, create jobs, and ensure full economic recovery.

Congress doesn't get it; they are putting politics ahead of people. There is a job to do and they are not getting it done. The debt ceiling debate is riddled with talking points, catch phrases, and empty words. Statements like "putting everything on the table"-- which seems to be code for cutting the core programs that working families and seniors in our communities depend on.

What about the bloated military spending? Is that on the table? The spineless leaders in Washington are unwilling to take on this thorny issue for fear of being labeled unpatriotic. Meanwhile our tax dollars are being shipped over seas to protect the world adding trillions to our debt with unfunded wars, military bases across Europe, and countless government defense programs.

More than 60% of our nation's discretionary budget is spent on military. Members of Congress need to come together and work out a solution to America's fiscal challenges and the solution needs to include a reduction in military spending. One missile pays for the education of more than 150 students for one year. It is time we heed Miss Dolly's advice and reprioritize our money to ensure economic stability and global competitiveness.

In Congress I will make it as unpopular to go to war as it is to raise taxes by working to require all military actions (whether authorized by Congress or the Executive branch alone) be paid for. This means the cost to take a military action would need to be recovered through a spending reduction in a non-military area, or through the generation of new income in the form of a War Tax.

It is unacceptable to pass on debt from unfunded wars onto our future generations. The cost of war needs to be shouldered by this generation, not future ones. If we are truly going to get our fiscal house in order, funding for military, defense and national security must be on the table.

I don't believe this Congress is up to the challenge to meet the August 2nd deadline. Please help send more progressives to Congress to fight for our future and encourage "young things to grow."


Patch.com: Warren Fundraiser and Barney Frank Help Relaunch Congressional Bid

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Democrat Ed Potosnak seeks to unseat U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance from New Jersey's 7th Dist. seat in 2012.

By John Patten   http://warren.patch.com/articles/warren-fundraiser-and-rep-barney-frank-seek-to-relaunch-congressional-bid#photo-6665848

Ed Potosnak, Roberta Krumholz, Rep. Barney Frank
Ed Potosnak, Roberta Krumholz, Rep. Barney Frank


About 75 supporters of Ed Potosnak, running for the Democratic nomination in 2012 for the U.S. House Seventh District seat held by Leonard Lance, gathered for a fundraiser in Warren, Saturday night.


The main draw for the event was U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, of Massacheusetts, who came to the Glenview Drive home of Arnold and Roberta Krumholz after meeting with U.S. Rep. Rush Holt in Princeton earlier in the day.

Speaking to the group, Frank said he was happy to help support Potosnak because "he's a bright guy and has a great grasp of policies."

Referring to Potosnak's bid for Lance's seat last year, when he lost by about 30,000 votes out of 175,000 cast, Frank added that Potosnak did better than many other, better-known candidates did.

"He did quite well in a difficult year for Democrats," Frank said.

Potosnak is a resident of North Plainfield, and is among New Jersey's first openly gay candidates for Congress. His biography includes stints as a high school chemistry teacher at Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School, and as owner of  a home repair business.

He was twice tapped for the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship, a program enabling teachers to work with members of Congress and other Washington officials on education policy.

Not surprisingly, the event included opportunities for Frank and Potosnak to decry positions taken by Rep. Lance and Congressional Republicans.

Frank noted the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission, which overturned limits to campaign and election spending by corporate, union and other groups under the McCain-Feingold law, and said consequently, there is an "unrestricted flow of right-wing money."

"All you can do if you're appalled by it is to give to give to those of us fighting it," Frank said.

Frank took issue with Lance's positions on the lack of oversight on financial institutions and spectulation in energy production; and Lance's support for proposed changes to Medicare, which Frank said would end Medicare for people under 55 but not Medicare taxes.

"Let me be clear—I'm not singling out Leonard Lance," Frank said. "At this point, there is no singling out. There is no difference between Leonard Lance and (Minnesota Congresswoman and presidential hopeful) Michelle Bachmann."

On a lighter note, Frank said that when the HBO movie version of "Too Big to Fail," by Andrew Ross Sorkin, was being filmed, he had been told someone from the TV series "Taxi" would be portraying him.

"I was afraid it would be Danny DeVito, but it was guy named Dan Hedaya," Rep. Frank said.

Among the attendees was Montgomery High School sophomore Lakshya Bommireddy, who accompanied former Montgomery Mayor Louise Wilson. She was anxious to meet Frank, and said she thought the event was interesting although she hasn't been too focused on politics.

Another Montgomery resident at the fundraiser was attorney Michael Fedun, who said he believes Potosnak belongs in Congress.

"I have a law firm and we have a sizable gay and lesbian clientele, " Fedun said. "I think it's important (for them) to have representation in Congress."

Roberta Krumholz, acting as hostess for the evening, introduced Potosnak saying she was "thrilled" to have Potosnak and Frank at her home. She said she had hosted an event for Assemblywoman Linda Stender when she ran against Lance in 2008, but has otherwise not been too active in politics.

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