Students Hit the Polls to Vote in NJ Race

Voters headed to the polls on Tuesday, casting ballots in the race for governor and their local legislators.

Christie won the election by a landslide, but many at Ramapo pointed negatively at his policies on education when asked why they voted for Buono. Others said Christie’s leadership was a key factor in casting votes for the sitting governor, who is widely seen as a front-runner in the 2016 presidential race.

“I’m voting for Barbara Buono because I can’t stand Christie. My mom’s a teacher and I feel like his best interest is for Republicans and not New Jerseyans, and he’s in general a vindictive bully,” freshman voter Julia Montelia said.

Many students said that they were put off by Christie’s cuts to education funding. As most Ramapo students were in high school when these cuts were made, they were directly affected by Christie’s policies.

According to sophomore voter Tiajah Beach, Christie’s lack of support for education has affected her and her family.

“I’m voting for Barbara Buono because I’m not voting for Christie,” said Beach. “I don’t like Christie because his budget cuts affected my grammar school in Paterson, so they don’t have all the stuff that they had when I was there including the libraries. I live for stuff like that so the fact that younger kids don’t have that, and when my niece and my nephew get to grammar school it’s like they can’t read.”

Others said they approved of the way Buono said she would handle education.

“I voted Barbara Buono because she’s supporting education. I’m not a big fan of Christie because he’s very conservative,” said sophomore Kevin Hurtado.

Besides education, Buono’s emphasis on human rights was a contributing factor to why students were so eager to vote her into office. The more liberal views of gay marriage, women’s rights and other social issues that Buono espouses seemed to align more with many Ramapo students’ political ideals.

“I’m voting for Barbara Buono because I think that she is more passionate about issues of human rights like marriage equality, women’s rights, health rights and that kind of thing,” sophomore Laura French said.

Other voters said Christie’s leadership was a key factor in voting to re-elect the governor.

“I believe Christie is a strong leader who has effective plans to help put this state back together,” said Colleen Rulter, 42, of Wyckoff.

Christie ran with lieutenant Gov. Kim Guadagno, while Buono’s choice for lieutenant governor was union leader Milly Silva.

“Buono’s ideas are good but I don’t think she has what Christie does. He acts quick, and he’s smart. He has direction and Lord knows we need direction,” said Evan Baumgarten, 51.

“I’m choosing Christie because of all the major, positive impacts he had immediately after Hurricane Sandy,” said Jennifer Personnett of Wyckoff. “He is a true leader. I believe his ideas on preserving lands for parks is a smart idea. We need more of that around here.”