Opinion

Student Interviews State Senator Jennifer Beck on Plans to Help College Grads Find Jobs

For the first time in New Jersey state history, an all-female assembly district and senate in Monmouth County's District 11 was elected on November 8.

Assemblywomen Caroline Casagrande, Mary Pat Angelini and State Senator Jennifer Beck were elected.

During an interview last Tuesday, Beck discussed her plans as State Senator, including helping the struggling job market, mainly re-energizing the economy with graduating college students.

Prior to the election, Beck was State Senator of District 12, but due to redistricting ran and won District 11. Beck is a graduate of Boston College, where she majored in mathematics and physics. She has a master’s degree in government administration from the University of Pennsylvania. Beck serves on the Environment and Energy Committee along with the Judiciary Committee. She believes in reducing government involvement in the private sector and spending on infrastructure projects to put people back to work.
She also believes that the state should help college students with financial aid.

Beck has two major objectives during her term as Senator and these are education reform and property tax reform. She said, "We have so many failing school districts in the state of New Jersey that are leaving our young people with not a lot of opportunities in the future."

Governor Chris Christie has been a supporter of reforming New Jersey's educational system but has met strong opposition from the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA).

When asked about her plan to deal with sky high property taxes Beck said, "The Pension Reform Bill will help the state and local towns to lower property taxes along with reevaluating the civil service."

She said the civil service system has been taken advantage of and is hurting tax payers. Beck wants to have the public sector mirror the private sector.

Beck offered a few ideas to help the struggling economy. One of her ideas is to make business more affordable in New Jersey. She said, "Being a member of the Environment Committee, we are hoping to streamline regulations while protecting our environment, but allowing new businesses to open their doors."

Dr. Eugene Simko, Associate Business professor, mirrors Beck's plan for economic success. He said, "Let's offer tax cuts to small businesses and offer incentives for those who do green business." Another idea Beck had for job creation was the usage of Fort Monmouth. Fort Monmouth closed September 15 of this year. Beck suggests using the vacant property to help job creation. "It is 1,100 acres of land with the some of the best laboratories in the country and it would be great to see that space used in a timely manner," she said.

Most college students are worried about entering the job market due to high rates of unemployment, not to mention the debt the student must pay back once their education is complete. "We have a number of programs which we have sustained during the economic crisis such as the TAG program and the STARR program which offer assistance to good students."

Simko also challenged the staff to do more. "Experimental learning outside the textbook gives hands on approach," he said.

When asked how a math and physics major ended up becoming a State Senator, Beck reflected on how she volunteered in a congressional campaign in college and encourages interested students to do so because it offers a great learning curve.

"Most of my staff at one point or another worked on campaign teams to help serve the general public." Senator Beck is part of the first all-female district in New Jersey history.

When asked about this she said, "It is historical for the State of New Jersey to have an all-female legislative team, but I think it says a lot about women role in public life and our expanding role in public life." She also said that "A female President is not out of reach, it is almost expected and I think we will see a day where we have one in the White House."

State Senator Beck has been a huge supporter of Governor Christie. Some are very critical of the Governor while others love his "in your face mentality."

When asked about Christie's success as Governor, Beck said, "He is doing an exceptional job from turning the ship around correcting a lot of the bad decisions of the past decade. These reasons led to so many people and businesses leaving New Jersey. He is turning that ship around. We are seeing that change and budgets balanced. He has done an excellent job in a very difficult economic climate."