Americans are still in the process of recovering from the recession, and while it may take some time before American optimism in the economy returns, creation of opportunities for economic prosperity is more important than ever. Bonnie Watson Coleman believes in the greatness of our nation. She also believes that fixing the economy should be a bipartisan effort and that there are many issues on which to find common ground.
Modernizing our nation’s infrastructure and emphasizing innovation are critical to getting our economy back on track. Our aged and at times dangerous roads, bridges, and transit systems provide opportunities to put people back to work. Our nation would benefit from investment in infrastructure programs, similar to those in the New Deal. One of every nine bridges in the United States remains structurally deficient. There are millions of Americans who are out of work, but are ready, willing and able to take on these infrastructure projects. We should create avenues to help those Americans find work. In 2010 Bonnie Watson Coleman supported construction of the Access to the Region’s Core Tunnel Project (ARC) which would have created 6,000 jobs for people in New Jersey, brought billions of dollars into the state, and eased traffic congestion for commuters in New Jersey and New York.
Bonnie Watson Coleman believes our focus on infrastructure should include Research and Development, spurring innovation that will revamp our health care, banking and telecommunications systems. We should incentivize the development of technologies that will take this nation to the next level. A key component to maintaining a strong workforce is investment in higher education and training programs for workers. Community colleges educate a significant portion of our workforce, and demand for workers with associate’s degrees continues to grow. We must support our community colleges because they give students the tools necessary to obtain high-paying and high-demand jobs in manufacturing, trade and other growing industries. We must also keep high-paying jobs on our shores by negotiating trade agreements that are fair to the American worker, and we need our tax code to incentivize investment in the American economy. Additionally, we should move from a minimum wage to a living wage.
Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle need to work together to maintain our competitive edge and modernize our infrastructure. Bonnie Watson Coleman will continue the effort to create jobs and provide federal support to the people of New Jersey.
The gap between the wealthiest and most in need is one that will continue to divide rather than unite our country. To ensure that Americans, of all backgrounds have an opportunity to pursue the American Dream, we must move from a minimum wage to a living wage. Without a living wage, countless Americans continue to struggle to provide a decent life for their families, but because of low wages, they are only able to obtain the bare minimum.
Bonnie Watson Coleman was a lead advocate in New Jersey for the successful “Raise the Wage” campaign to increase the minimum wage in New Jersey. See Bonnie’s interview with NJTV here regarding her efforts, alongside New Jersey’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono on raising the minimum wage as a referendum question on the ballot. In Congress, Bonnie Watson Coleman will continue to support legislation that guarantee workers a living wage.
"The loss of a family's home undermines the stability, health and economic vitality of neighborhoods."
- Bonnie Watson Coleman
For the last several years, the housing market in New Jersey has been tumultuous. From the burst of the housing bubble to the destruction of homes caused by Hurricane Sandy, middle-class families in New Jersey have been hit hard. Thousands of residents expected their homes to serve as a long-term investment and to use equity generated by their homes for education, retirement and landmark expenses. However, too many families who hoped to have achieved the American Dream found themselves facing foreclosure and were at the mercy of big banks. As a result of deregulating our consumer protection laws, struggling families fell victim to predatory lenders. Although the foreclosure crisis was a tough issue to tackle, Bonnie Watson Coleman championed housing relief efforts for thousands of New Jersey families.
Bonnie Watson Coleman sponsored the New Jersey Stabilization and Relief Act, which incentivized banks to pursue mortgage refinance options for homeowners. The bill required that creditors seeking foreclosure on “high risk” loans offer a six-month hold on foreclosure proceedings at the borrower’s request, and required banks to mediate in good faith. The bill made paramount the privacy rights of borrowers by prohibiting credit reporting companies from selling lists of “trigger leads.”
To provide further protection to New Jersey Families, Bonnie Watson Coleman sponsored the Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act, which shielded homeowners from scams by unscrupulous foreclosure consultants. She also sponsored the Foreclosure Prevention and Neighborhood Stabilization Trust Fund in the Department of Community Affairs, which placed a surcharge on each foreclosure complaint filed. Funds generated from the trust fund will be utilized for legal services to homeowners in danger of losing their homes.
Bonnie Watson Coleman believes that foreclosures result in abandonment and deterioration of property, which creates additional pressures on local governments and the federal government. In Congress, Bonnie Watson Coleman will continue to fight to create strong and healthy communities by helping Americans to stay in their homes.