To the Editor:
Fatima Mughal’s candidacy for Reed Gusciora’s open assembly seat is the best political news I’ve heard in too long. I have worked with Mughal on several social justice initiatives in Hopewell Township and beyond and would feel unequivocally represented by her as my assemblywoman.
Certainly the Trump presidency has made many of us Democrats more aware of our need to provide a more clear and powerful alternative to the right’s assault on nearly all our values. Our history as a party, sadly since Nixon, has been one of increasing centrism and compromise with unyielding Republican policies and strategies. I register and vote Democrat as a pragmatic necessity, but I hold the foundational values of the German Green Party and the various European red-green alliances. These are the values of commitment to the environment, labor, feminism, racial equality, inclusivity and social welfare that Democratic centrism, though having a far better track record than the Republicans’, needs to more strongly emphasize. This history of co-operation with corporate and financial interests is responsible for Mitch McConnell’s unconscionable blocking of Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, and it’s time we draw a line. The Republicans are not going to bargain with us in any kind of good faith, and younger voters need to see us provide clear alternatives to the right’s agenda.
I will say Kevin Kuschinski would be a good choice. He has worked out many longstanding issues in Hopewell Township and has been an excellent communicator and listener. Working outside a legislative context, of course, always allows the demonstration of greater commitment to issues. With those caveats (and I’d like Kuschinski to continue as mayor as well), I know from experience working with her that Fatima Mughal holds to the kind of progressive values we need to have visibly represented at all levels of government if our party and nation are to survive, and, as we see with Trump and his party, it’s probably not melodramatic to say so. Mughal has worked from the grass roots in many organizations dedicated to immigrant rights, demilitarization, racial justice, poverty campaigns, amelioration of gun violence etc. She puts her body on the line at public demonstrations. Hers is the kind of committed and courageous voice I want representing me in the New Jersey Assembly.
It does not hurt that as a young Muslim woman she would contribute to a badly needed diversification of our legislative body.
Please take the time to urge any Democratic Committee member you know in your municipality to strongly consider Fatima Mughal’s candidacy and cast a progressive vote on July 26.