From the home of a supporter in the Seaview Village adult community in Brick – and with her 10-year-old son Oliver by her side – Shelley Adler announced her run for Congress Tuesday.
Adler, the widow of former Democratic Congressman John Adler, faces a contest with incumbent Republican Jon Runyan, and says she wants to be a champion of middle class issues. She hopes to pick up where her husband left off, she said, and Tuesday afternoon mentioned a study in John Adler's name that addresses veterans issues.
"Since John’s passing, I’ve worked to establish a national fund in John’s name to study what we can do on a federal level to improve veteran benefits and better integrate them back into civilian life. I’ll take the results of this study and go to Washington to implement them," Adler said. "This is one study that’s not going to sit up on a shelf and collect dust. It’s going to be the blueprint for real and lasting change for our veterans.
She told the crowd of ten or so supporters and media at the press conference that her opponent is failing to address the needs of the middle class in a struggling economy and rising costs.
“I’ve had so many people share with me their struggles, their frustrations and their hopes. Finding a job in this economy is still hard and listening to Washington is virtually unbearable. But there is still a fervent hope and belief that things will get better, if we’re able to restore the idea that Congress should be finding solutions, rather than picking fights,” said Adler.
“We need to help small businesses create jobs. We need to cut wasteful spending and the taxes on middle class families that fuel it. We need to do justice by our veterans. And we have to stand up and protect Social Security and Medicare, rather than turn these lifelines into scapegoats for the sins of a reckless Congress,”
Adler took aim at Runyan on several occasions during her speech, accusing the professional football player turned congressman of voting to "end Medicare" and cut social programs.
“For his part, Congressman Runyan is eager to run on his record as a political outsider who never voted for a tax increase and cut spending by trillions of dollars, while fighting for pro-growth economic policies and beginning to clean up the mess in Washington created by politicians in both parties over the years,” said Runyan for Congress spokesman Chris Russell.
Adler faces an uphill battle in the newly-laid-out third congressional district.
Her hometown of Cherry Hill – a Democratic stronghold – was ousted from the district in favor of Brick, which traditionally votes Republican. Brick voters will choose between Adler and Runyan in the Nov. 2012 election.
John Adler, in his two congressional campaigns, failed to win a majority of Ocean County voters.
Shelley Adler said she hasn't thought about her husband's showing in Ocean County, but is in the area frequently.
"I'm here all the time, as my husband was all the time," she said. "That's what you have to do to engage voters. You have to talk to them and you have to listen to them."
As for her chances of winning the votes of Ocean County residents: "This time, we're gonna do it," she said.