Aimee Belgard for Congress 2014
This was the official website for Aimee Belgard, a congressional Democratic candidate for New Jersey's 3rd congressional district. She sought the seat that was being vacated by Republican Congressman Jon Runyan.
Content is from her site's 2014 archived pages as well as other outside sources.
Meet Aimee Belgard
Aimee grew up in South Jersey, in a middle-class family of four. She graduated from Haddonfield Memorial High, followed by Stockton College in South Jersey, before obtaining her law degree from Widener University.
When she was twelve, Aimee began her first job delivering newspapers throughout her neighborhood and she’s been working hard ever since. She is a seasoned trial and appellate litigator, a Burlington County Freeholder, an award-winning volunteer community leader, and the mother of two young boys. Additionally, Aimee is an active member of Neighborhood Watch and proudly serves as an Honorary Commander with the 514th Air Mobility Wing at the McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Joint Base.
When Aimee was nine, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Doctors said that she had less than a year to live, but her mother fought the disease for over twenty years before eventually losing her battle. Several years later, Aimee’s father, a Vietnam Veteran who was exposed to Agent Orange, was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He eventually lost his battle to the disease as well.
Aimee has always believed in taking her life experiences and putting them to good use for others. After losing both of her parents to cancer, she became very involved with the American Cancer Society and served on both the local and national level, sitting on the Executive Board of the American Cancer Society Eastern Division and the National Board of the Cancer Action Network.
After years of advocating to elected officials at every level of government on behalf of the American Cancer Society, Aimee decided to run for office herself. She was elected to the Edgewater Park Township Committee in 2009 and was elected to the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2012. In her race for Freeholder, her opponents – including Super Pacs funded by Sheldon Adelson – spent over $1 million in an attempt to defeat her. But against all odds, Aimee won, and has been shaking things up on the Freeholder Board ever since. Aimee is a battle-tested candidate and a proven fighter, and as a Burlington County Freeholder, she represents 55% of the 3rd Congressional District.
As a Freeholder, Aimee works across party lines to deliver results for her community. She has increased transparency, worked with both parties to save the treasured Rancocas Nature Center, and worked with her Republican colleagues to pass a balanced budget. Aimee will take her consensus-driven approach to governance with her to Congress, to help break the partisan fever that has paralyzed Washington.
Aimee and her husband, Bill, a small business owner, are the proud parents of two school-aged sons, Liam and Tommy. They live in Edgewater Park.
On The Issues:
Creating Jobs and Promoting Economic Growth
America thrives when American workers thrive, and my priority in Congress is to put us back on the path to prosperity. We need policies that promote long-term economic growth, strengthen middle-class families, enable small businesses to succeed and prevent corporations from shipping American jobs overseas. Instead of tax breaks that encourage outsourcing, we must reinvest in small businesses – the leading job creators in our country. We need to make education a priority, invest in our nation’s infrastructure and support the workers that make our nation thrive by increasing the minimum wage and requiring pay equity for women.
Standing up for the Middle Class
Wealthy special interests are raking in record profits, while more and more of the burden is being shifted onto the middle class. The middle class needs more allies in Congress.
I’ll fight to close tax loopholes for corporations that ship American jobs overseas, utilizing those savings to provide middle-class tax relief, make higher education affordable and pursue policies that help businesses create jobs.
If Congress had its way, it would increase taxes on middle-class families, increase out-of-pocket costs for seniors, and cut student loans by billions in order to pay for subsidies to Big Oil as they rake in record profits, and huge tax breaks for corporations that ship American jobs overseas.
Congress has chosen its priorities, and it has chosen wrong. I’ll always put the interests of South Jersey ahead of special interests.
Doing Right by Our Veterans
When Congress shut down the government and made across-the-board cuts to our country’s military, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and our entire local economy around it suffered. The Joint Base and South Jersey families can’t afford further cuts because of more irresponsible partisan brinksmanship. Likewise, our veterans, who have given so much, can't afford cuts to the benefits they deserve. In Congress, I’ll work with members of both parties to protect and restore funding to the Joint Base. And, as the daughter of a Vietnam Veteran, I will work to ensure that we fulfill the promises we've made to our veterans, making certain that they receive quality health care – including mental health care – job training and placement when they come home. That means providing incentives for employers to hire the highly skilled men and women of our armed forces, and take steps to ensure our veterans have access to affordable educational opportunities, whether it’s a four year university, community college or trade school. We must also prioritize a reduction of wait times and finding solutions to the incredible claims backlog.
I find the current crisis at the VA deeply disturbing. Dozens of veterans have reportedly died while waiting for care, and it has become clear that VA officials all over the country have used deceptive practices to make it appear that appointments and claims were being processed faster than they were. I believe the VA Bill recently passed by Congress is a step in the right direction, but it is only a starting point. We have much more work to do before the claims backlog is processed so that veterans receive the health care that they deserve. I also believe that those responsible must be held accountable, and I support the provisions in the recent VA Bill that make it easier to discipline and terminate high-ranking VA officials for wrongdoing.
Protecting Social Security and Medicare
I strongly believe that we must keep the promises that we’ve made to our seniors. They have worked hard to pay into Social Security and Medicare, sacred trusts that must be protected. In recent years, shortsighted politicians have placed these important programs on the chopping block as an easy way to balance the budget, while refusing to enact policies that would help these programs stay solvent. I think that’s wrong and entirely unacceptable.
If Congress were to increase the minimum wage, it would add $4.3 billion to Social Security’s coffers by 2016 alone. If Congress would pass Pay Equity, it would reduce Social Security’s projected shortfall by 1/3. But instead of rolling up their sleeves, having a conversation and getting something done, Congress has dug in its heels and proposed cut after cut after cut.
I will ardently defend Social Security and Medicare from cuts and I will oppose all efforts to privatize Social Security or end the Medicare Guarantee. Seniors shouldn’t be forced to gamble their retirements on the stock market nor should they have their Medicare benefits reduced just because our dysfunctional Congress can’t come together to work toward a responsible solution.e.
Standing up for Women
It’s 2014, and the fact that women still make only 78 cents for every dollar that men make is not only wrong, it’s embarrassing. In Congress, I will fight for measures to ensure equality in the workplace, including equal pay for equal work and paid family leave. I will also work to ensure that women’s health care decisions are made between women and their health care professionals, not extremists in Washington. I think it’s wrong to allow employers the ability to limit access to birth control for women, and I stand strongly against proposals that many in Congress have introduced that would limit access to lifesaving cancer screenings and mammograms.
Aditionally, I will be a voice that is currently missing from New Jersey’s Congressional Delegation. New Jersey hasn’t had a female representative in Congress for over a decade, and it’s about time that changed.
Rebuilding After Sandy
Over 20,000 people are still displaced in Ocean County as a result of Superstorm Sandy and between insurance companies not paying what they should, new regulations placing a heavy burden on our families and government programs not working, it’s obvious we need to make some changes.
I’ll work with members of both parties as well as state and local officials to rebuild the Jersey Shore. It has been nearly two years since Superstorm Sandy devastated parts of our community and, for many, rebuilding has been a slow and often, impossible process. As a member of Congress, I will focus on ensuring that New Jersey families and businesses receive the resources they need to get back on their feet. I’ll work to fix government programs that aren’t working, or that are placing an extreme burden on our communities – like Biggert-Waters Act – and I’ll fight to hold insurance companies accountable when they pursue the practice of delay, deny, defend.
Making Higher Education Affordable
We have world-renowned universities right here in New Jersey, but high tuition is putting them out of reach for many students. For those who are able to go to college, skyrocketing tuition is putting many students and their families into extreme debt.
In New Jersey, the average student in the class of 2012 graduated with $29,287 in student loan debt, which ranked New Jersey 8th in the country. Yet, instead of making student aid a priority, Congress responded by voting to cut Pell grants by $125 billion in 2014.
Cutting student aid while tuition continues to skyrocket affects students, their families, and America’s future. We must do more to make higher education more affordable. I believe we should start by allowing students with federal student loans to refinance, just like homeowners do.
I support measures that expand income-based repayment, which would allow federal loan borrowers to cap their monthly payments at 10% of their discretionary income.
And, I think Congress should take a hard look at federal aid to for-profit colleges on a case-by-case basis. Graduates of for-profit institutions represent half of all student loan defaults in America and taxpayers are on the hook when those loans aren’t paid back. If a for-profit school demonstrates unusually high default rates, I believe federal funding should be reconsidered and shifted to programs with better records of preparing students for jobs of the 21st Century.
Helping Businesses Create Jobs
Anyone involved in running a business knows that despite the rhetoric, Congress is not making things easier. There’s too much red tape, it’s too hard to access capital and taxes are too high. Congress’ top priority should be creating an environment conducive to job creation and economic growth, and if Congress would stop trying to score cheap political points and instead focus on getting work done, Congress could make a real difference.
We must pursue policies that help small businesses by increasing their access to capital and by reducing their tax burden. I will support efforts to permanently double the amount of start-up costs small businesses can deduct from their taxes. I support initiatives like the CREED Act, which would make it easier for business owners to refinance commercial property.
I believe Congress should waive fees for businesses on SBA loans and increase the amount of SBA loans that can be guaranteed, ultimately decreasing their cost.
And, I believe Congress should pass the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Creation Act, which would allow credit unions to make larger loans to small businesses.
Declaring Our Energy Independence
We must reduce our dependence as a nation on foreign oil and fossil fuels by advancing clean energy solutions. It comes down to a question of priorities. While Congress has given the five biggest oil companies in American $40 billion in subsidies, we should have been investing in smart alternatives that would help grow our local economies. Making clean energy technologies a national priority and leading the way with solar and wind will not only protect our environment, it will create jobs here in New Jersey and further protect our economic and national security.
Protecting Our Natural Treasures and Our Environment
We must reduce our dependence as a nation on foreign oil and fossil fuels by advancing clean energy solutions. It comes down to a question of priorities. While Congress has given the five biggest oil companies in American $40 billion in subsidies, we should have been investing in smart alternatives that would help grow our local economies. Making clean energy technologies a national priority and leading the way with solar and wind will not only protect our environment, it will further protect our economic and national security.
By declaring our energy independence, we will chart a new direction where clean energy alternatives will enable America to break our dependency on foreign oil and fossil fuels. This is a win-win approach. We can create high-paying job growth in the clean energy sector and strengthen our foreign policy interests by reducing our reliance on oil imports.
National Security – Fighting Terrorism at Home & Abroad
I’m proud of my strong record of protecting our environment and I’ll continue that fight in Congress. The 3rd Congressional District is home to many natural treasures that encompass our farmland, shore and Pinelands. I’ll work to protect these treasures by pushing to expand alternative energy, which will serve to create jobs with real benefits, lessen CO2 emissions, and decrease our dependence on foreign oil. I’ll also support initiatives that protect our farms and curb pollution. And, I’ll work to keep the shore clean for recreation, tourism and fishing, for generations to come.
I know how critical it is to protect vital elements of our ecosystem and in Congress I will continue my advocacy for the Pinelands and I’ll work tirelessly to protect Barnegat Bay as a natural, economic and recreational resource. I will be a frontline advocate to ensure that the stability of the environmental gems of our region are protected for our continued use and appreciation as well as for future generations.
Our national security challenges are constantly changing, but the resolve of our nation to stand up against those who would threaten us never waivers. I will always make our national security a priority. We require a well-trained national security presence to stay a step ahead of terrorism at home and abroad and we must provide our troops with the training, equipment and support they need to protect our freedom. We further need to provide our soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines with the resources they need to carry out their missions and ensure that our Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst continues to be an key component of our national security presence.
With regard to the current threats posted by ISIS and other international issues, I am in favor of continued, targeted airstrikes to eradicate ISIS. They are terrorists that pose a threat to the United States and must be eliminated. I strongly support Israel's right to defend itself against terrorist attacks by Hamas. And with regard to Russia and the Ukraine, I believe that tough economic sanctions should continue to be pursued.
I’m committed to protecting our national security by fighting for economic prosperity and energy independence, ensuring that America can lead from a position of global strength. The enemies we face often change, but our resolve does not and in these complex times we as a nation require a Congress that will put patriotism – and people – before politics.
Creating Jobs and Promoting Economic Growth
America thrives , when American workers thrive, and my priority in Congress is to put us back on the path to prosperity. We need policies that promote long-term economic growth, strengthen middle-class families, enable small businesses to succeed and prevent corporations from shipping American jobs overseas. Instead of tax breaks that encourage outsourcing, we must reinvest in small businesses – the leading job creators in our country. We need to make education a priority, invest in our nation’s infrastructure and support the workers that make our nation thrive by increasing the minimum wage and requiring pay equity for women.
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy having created 64% of all net news jobs in the past 15 years. Creating a small business friendly environment will spur economic growth, enabling middle-class families to reinvest their incomes back into the economy.
In addition, arming our workforce with a world-class education is key to staying competitive in a global economy. I’ll work to make higher education affordable and I’ll work to increase access to low-cost tuition and job training programs, especially in industries that need skilled workers.
Aimee Belgard Wins Broad Support of Police and Firefighters in her Race for Congress
(Willingboro, NJ) – Aimee Belgard has recently been endorsed in her race for Congress by the New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police, New Jersey State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association, International Association of Firefighters, and the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey. The broad coalition of support from law enforcement and public safety is a huge boost to Aimee Belgard in her campaign that has seized momentum off a successful debate season that concluded last week.
Aimee Belgard secured the support of law enforcement officers and firefighters because she can be counted on in Washington to stand up and protect their interests. Aimee Belgard knows firsthand that our police and firefighters lay their lives on the line for the safety of our communities, and deserve a Congresswoman who will fight for them in Washington.
“I’m honored to have the support of local law enforcement and firefighters who bravely put their lives on the line to protect our communities,” said Aimee Belgard. “Each and every day, these heroic individuals fight to keep us safe. I have a deep respect for them that I will carry to Washington to ensure that they have the tools they need to do their jobs. I’m truly humbled to have the confidence of law enforcement and firefighters as I seek to represent New Jersey’s Third Congressional District in Congress.”
The endorsements from police and firefighters underscore the broad coalition of support that Aimee Belgard has earned in her race for Congress.
Aimee Belgard Endorsed by National Bipartisan Veterans’ Organization
(Willingboro, NJ) –Veterans’ Vision - a national, bipartisan veterans organization - has enthusiastically endorsed Aimee Belgard's candidacy for Congress in New Jersey's 3rd Congressional District. Belgard is a strong advocate for accountability at the VA, passionate about cutting down wait times and clearing the claims backlog, and has a strong vision for policies to encourage employers to train and hire the highly skilled men and women of our armed forces after they come out of the service. Belgard also serves as the Honorary Commander with the 514th Air Mobility Wing at the McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Joint Base.
“We endorsed Belgard because of her strong support for and attention to veterans throughout her campaign through her veterans’ committee, as well as her record of service to both active and retired personnel as the Honorary Commander of the 514th Air Mobility Wing at McGuire Dix Lakehurst. For these reasons the electoral board believes she is the best candidate for veterans in New Jersey’s third, and the VETERANS’ VISION Publication is proud to put its support behind her in her bid for the United States Congress,” said Benjamin Peoples, Political Editor for the VETERANS’ VISION.
“My father was a Vietnam Veteran, exposed to Agent Orange and lost his battle to stomach cancer at the age of 53. Veterans’ issues are not only important to me personally, they are important to me as an American. I will work to ensure that we fulfill the promises we've made to our veterans, making certain that they receive quality health care – including mental health care – job training and placement when they come home,” said Belgard. “That means providing incentives for employers to hire the highly skilled men and women of our armed forces, and take steps to ensure our veterans have access to affordable educational opportunities, whether it’s a four year university, community college or trade school. And we must prioritize a reduction of wait times and find solutions to the incredible claims backlog so that our veterans have access to quality care.”
Belgard is also a strong advocate for Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, serving as an Honorary Commander with the 514th Air Mobility Wing and as a Burlington County Freeholder. “When Congress recklessly shut down the government last year and made across-the-board cuts to the military, it negatively impacted Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and the entire local economy that surrounds it,” said Belgard. “Neither the Base, nor Burlington and Ocean County families, can afford further due to irresponsible partisan brinksmanship. In Congress, I’ll work with members of both parties to protect and restore funding to the Joint Base.”
The VETERANS' VISION has made endorsements for federal office every campaign cycle since 1996. Each election cycle the Electoral Board, composed of Democrats and Republicans, meets multiple times to consider biographical information, platform information, and past voting records before deciding who to endorse. The main criterion for endorsement has always been whether or not a candidate stands up for veterans. Far too many candidates have been unabashed in saying they what they would do to help veterans, but have fallen short.
MacArthur wins vs. Belgard in 3rd Congressional District
Bob Jordan, APP.com | Published Nov. 4, 2014 | Updated Nov. 5, 2014
Republican Tom MacArthur won a high-stakes House race in NJ with $2.7 million in independent expenditures from outside groups,ranking the race 17th out of 438 congressional races in independent money.
Republican Tom MacArthur won New Jersey's most expensive and possibly nastiest race for a House seat Tuesday, defeating Democrat Aimee Belgard in the 3rd Congressional District in Ocean and Burlington counties.
MacArthur rolled up a runaway lead among voters in Ocean County, where he resides, while Belgard was held to a much smaller advantage in her home county of Burlington.
Elsewhere at the Shore, incumbents Frank Pallone, a Democrat, and Republicans Chris Smith and Frank LoBiondo rolled to easy victories. Statewide, the 12 seats in the House of Representatives remain evenly split among the two major parties.
MacArthur captured 55 percent of the vote to Belgard's 44 percent, according to unofficial final results.
MacArthur, a retired insurance executive, mostly self-funded his campaign and spent three times as much as Belgard — $4.4 million to $1.1 million, including primary campaigns, according to finance records.
Other spending records underscored the national importance the race had as the parties vied for control of Congress. There was $2.7 million in independent expenditures from outside groups siding with MacArthur or Belgard but not legally allowed to coordinate with the campaigns. That ranked the race 17th out of 438 congressional races nationwide in independent money.
MacArthur is moving into a seat already held by a Republican, former Eagles football player Jon Runyan, who did not seek re-election after two terms.
MacArthur, 54, a former Randolph mayor who now lives in Toms River, opposes marriage equality, opposes an increase in the federal minimum wage, and has promised to work to totally repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Those positions apparently hit a chord with voters, especially in Republican-rich Ocean County — even if the messages from the two candidates weren't always audible over the TV and YouTube attack ads and hurtful campaign literature that went back and forth.
MacArthur, in his victory speech at the Toms River Hotel, said there was a clear choice in the campaign between sound bites and substance, without referring to Belgard.
"It's time to get America working again," MacArthur said. "We need leadership from our president and we also need leadership from our own party in Congress. This has been a successful night, but this is an opportunity to govern, not gloat."
MacArthur was introduced by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, and he was praised in a statement from Gov. Chris Christie, who said, "Throughout this campaign, Tom has embodied the best our party has to offer — true leadership, bold ideas, and a commitment to work across the aisle to get things done. The people of the 3rd District saw Tom's character and how he will be as their representative, a leader who sticks by his principles."
Belgard, 40, a Burlington County freeholder and attorney, ran as a moderate Democrat whose campaign emphasized addressing the needs of the middle class and leveling the playing field for women.
"Despite the outcome tonight, I'm so proud of the race we ran because we stood for what we believe in and I know that our message will push issues to the forefront that will strengthen America," Belgard said in a statement. "The fight for equal pay is not over, women making 78 cents on the dollar is not acceptable."
Endorsements and Awards
- EMILY's List
- NJ Fraternal Order of Police
- Human Rights Campaign
- International Association of Firefighters
- League of Conservation Voters Action Fund
- National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
- New Jersey State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association
- NJ AFLCIO
- Ocean Champions
- Planned Parenthood
- Sierra Club
- Women's Campaign Fund
- Stephen Sweeney NJ Senate President
- Loretta Weinberg NJ Senate Majority Leader
- Joanne Schwartz Freeholder Burlington County
- Herb Conaway, Jr. NJ Assemblyman
- Troy Singleton NJ Assemblyman
- Joseph Champagne Mayor South Toms River
- Robert Bancroft Council President Beverly City
- Jim Cann Mayor Bordentown Township
- Jill Popko Deputy Mayor Bordentown Township
- Steve Benowitz Councilman Bordentown Township
- Barry Conaway Councilman Burlington City
- Marie Lollar Councilwoman Burlington City
- Michael Cantwell Council President Burlington Township
- Brian Carlin Mayor Burlington Township
- Pete Green Councilman Burlington Township
- Robert Jung Councilman Burlington Township
- George Kozub Councilman Burlington Township
- Carl Schoenborn Councilman Burlington Township
- Trish Siboczy Councilwoman Burlington Township
- Sandy Stewart Councilwoman Burlington Township
- Ken Paris Mayor Delran
- Gary Catrambone Council President Delran
- Patti Kolodi Councilwoman Delran
- Tom Morrow Councilman Delran
- Lona Pangia Councilwoman Delran
- Michael Schwartz Councilman Delran
- Rovenna Overton Mayor Eastampton
- Ricardo Rodriguez Deputy Mayor Eastampton
- Robert Apgar Township Committeeman Eastampton
- Jay Springer Township Committeeman Eastampton
- Anthony Zeno Township Committeeman Eastampton
- John McElwee Mayor Edgewater Park
- Thomas Pullion Deputy Mayor Edgewater Park
- Darrell Booker Township Committeeman Edgewater Park
- Scott Kercher Township Committeeman Edgewater Park
- Michael Trainor Township Committeeman Edgewater Park
- Judy Hall Mayor Emeritus Edgewater Park
- Kevin Johnson Mayor Emeritus Edgewater Park
- Donna Mount Mayor Emeritus Edgewater Park
- Rob Wells Mayor Emeritus Maple Shade
- Anthony Saporito Councilman Maple Shade
- Lou Manchello Councilman Maple Shade
- Claire Volpe Councilwoman Maple Shade
- Nelson Weist Councilman Maple Shade
- Greg Newcomer Councilman Moorestown
- David Patriarca Mayor Pemberton
- Sherry Scull Council President Pemberton
- Jason Allen Councilman Pemberton
- Diane Stinney Councilwoman Pemberton
- George Conard Mayor Riverside
- Lorraine Hatcher Deputy Mayor Riverside
- Timothy LeConey Township Commiteeeman Riverside
- Robert VanMeter Township Committeeman Riverside
- Carolyn Chang Mayor Westampton
- Andre Daniels Councilman Westampton
- Robert Maybury Councilman Westampton
- Eddie Campbell, Jr. Mayor Willingboro
- Jacqueline Jennings Deputy Mayor Willingboro
- Nathaniel Anderson Councilman Willingboro
- Lavonne Johnson Mayor Emeritus Willingboro
- "Outstanding Woman" for volunteer leadership achievements New Jersey General Assembly (2012)
- Capitol Dome Award American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (2011)
- Edgewater Park's "Citizen of the Year" Edgewater Park (2012)
- Forty Under 40 Burlington County Times (2013)
- National Saint George Award American Cancer Society (2012)
- One of Ten People Who Made a Difference in Burlington County Burlington County Times (2006)
- President's Gold Volunteer Service Award -2013