By Vin Gopal – As the 219th New Jersey Legislature gets underway I look forward to new responsibilities in the State Senate, but the mission of making Monmouth County and NJ safer and more affordable for families, seniors, taxpayers, and small businesses remains the same.
The Legislative District 11 Senate Office has relocated to the former LD11 Assembly Office at 802 West Park Avenue, Suite 302, in Ocean Township.
I’m especially excited about chairing the Senate Education Committee because nothing is more important to the future of our state than ensuring our children have the tools they need to succeed. The COVID-19 pandemic has put children, parents, and educators under tremendous strain. I embrace the opportunity to take on a leadership role in finding solutions to the challenges of keeping our children safe in school and making sure Monmouth County school districts – and property taxpayers – get a fair share of state aid.
I come to these tasks having gained valuable experience supporting educators as a legislator and successfully fighting for an additional $100 million to be included in the FY2022 State Budget for extraordinary special education funding, including an additional $3.4 million for LD11 school districts that brought total funding for all Monmouth County schools to $13.4 million.
In addition to the Senate Education Committee and continuing to serve as Senate Majority Conference Leader and on the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, , my new assignments include serving as Vice Chair of the State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee.
The LD11 office has a strong record of successful legislation in health and human services and in helping seniors. Every year the LD11 office also assists hundreds of seniors through our Savings for Our Seniors (S.O.S) program, helping them find benefits and programs available to help them financially and improve their quality of life. I also fought hard to restore funding in the State Budget for the Homestead Rebate and the Senior Property Tax Reimbursement program known as Senior Freeze. The Senior Freeze enables seniors to freeze their property taxes at the current level so they don’t go up in subsequent years.
As Vice Chair of the State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee I will be able to continue working with the small businesses and LD11 tourism community that are the backbone of the local economy.
There is much more to do and, as always, I want to hear your ideas and suggestions.
You can still reach me at the same email, SenGopal@njleg.org, and phone number, (732) 695-3371, in the Ocean Township office, where the LD11 Constituent Services Team will continue to help residents address their concerns. We will be a smaller team, so I ask residents to please be patient when seeking assistance. And while we continue to work remotely because of the pandemic, residents may contact a Constituent Services Professional at senatorgopal.com/constituent_services to request help.
A note of thanks to my former LD11 colleagues Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey. While they are no longer serving in the State Assembly after six years, generations of LD11 residents to come will continue to benefit from Eric and Joann’s hard work and their many accomplishments and dozens of sponsored bills that have been signed into law while representing LD11 residents.
I look forward to continuing to serve you in the State Senate and to all we will accomplish together.