While Sussex County progressives have celebrated election of the first Democrat to represent Congressional District 5 in decades, five county municipalities—Byram Township, Hopatcong, Ogdensburg, Sparta Township and Stanhope—are part of District 11, represented by Rodney Frelinghuysen, who has held that seat for 22 years.
A new group, NJ11th for Change, now wants to ensure transparency and public input into the legislative process in that district. Claiming 1,200 members across the district so far, the non-affiliated, nonpartisan group describes itself as “dedicated to advocating for all citizens of the 11th Congressional District through promoting political transparency by monitoring the positions and voting record of our congressional representative, by fostering productive citizen-to-congress communication, and by demanding public accountability. The philosophy of NJ11 For Change is rooted in the belief that decency and fairness is the public's right, and we are committed to advancing common-sense policies that are in the best interests of all.”
So far it has planned activities such as “Fridays with Frelinghuysen,” meetings with the representative to discuss specific issues (this week, for example, it’s the Affordable Care Act), and the group is pressing Frelinghuysen to hold a Town Meeting (his last was in 2013).
“We'd love to expand our membership and outreach to more Sussex County residents who live in District 11,” said Debra Caplan, a spokesperson for the organization.
The SCDC has invited NJ11th for Change members to its municipal organization meeting for District 11 towns, to be held Jan. 26 at the Sparta Library; NJ11th for Change has invited interested residents to attend its next organization meeting, on Feb. 5 at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship.