To the Editor:
My name is Latham Tiver, and I’m running to be your senator in the 8th Legislative District — representing Hammonton, as well as other parts of Atlantic and Burlington Counties. Your current senator, Jean Stanfield, is retiring and endorsed me to run in her spot. Jean has been a mentor to me and is the most honest public servant I know. It’ll be a tall task replacing her, but I know I’m up for the challenge.
They say Hammonton is a multi-generational town —maybe tops in the state when it comes to families laying roots down and not wanting to leave.
You walk into a place like Rocco’s or Maplewood, and if you live in town, multiple patrons are going to shout out your last name to acknowledge your presence. With a sense of community that strong, who would want to move away?
I know a little something about generational. I was born a short distance from where I live now. I married my high school sweetheart, and I built my own house in Southampton, where I live to this day with my wife and kids. Throughout my time in town, I’ve been a coach, volunteer, Township Committee member and Burlington County Commissioner. You can’t truly represent a community without knowing it, and I know South Jersey —especially the Pines and up and down 206.
My full time job as an Operating Engineer in Local 825 has expanded my horizons over the decades and brought me all over New Jersey. The issues I see in most towns are the same issues I see in Hammonton, and the biggest one is always that the cost of living is way too high.
The main reason for this is our state government has ballooned to untenable levels.
Government has just gotten too big, and that’s 100-percent evident in the fact that Governor Phil Murphy has raised the state budget by more than 50 percent since taking office. The budget has gone from $35.5 billion in Christie’s last year to a proposed 2024 budget of $53.1 billion. Even in crazy inflationary times like today, that’s still an unheard of increase in expenses.
Of course we need social programs to support our working-class families. We need to pay our pension obligations to support our state workers, and we should be helping our seniors and disabled community so everyone can live with dignity. But even with all our spending, New Jersey struggles to meet our most basic needs. Our credit rating is second-worse in the nation, only behind ultra-liberal Illinois, which shows we’re still struggling to pay the bills.
The days of treating the Garden State taxpayers with willful disregard need to be days of the past. I will fight to lower the special-interest spending that makes up so much of our budget, and in turn, lower the tax bill — just like I did in Southampton and Burlington County.
It’s a sham when big government tells us they can’t lower taxes because the working class will suffer. I’m sorry, but as a member of the working class, what have I gotten from being in the highest-taxed state in the nation besides a smaller paycheck?
If a town like Hammonton can offer a great downtown, amazing teachers and schools and keep spending relatively stable, why can’t the state?
Oftentimes we get overlooked in South Jersey, especially rural South Jersey, but there are valuable lessons to be learned from us. We farm the food the rest of the state eats. We wake up at 5 am to get to our job sites to build the houses people live in and buildings they work in.
Heck, I’m known as the dance dad to my daughter’s dance team because I build all the props they use for their performances. The sweat equity we put into life makes everything better for the community around you, and the pride that comes with a job well done is better than any big-money payout.
To get on the right path in this state — one that doesn’t bleed its residents dry of our hard-earned money — we need a culture change that values the ideals of towns like Hammonton.
It’s community first. If you’re a good neighbor and add value to your village, you’ll wake up every morning with a sense of fulfillment.
If I’m elected as your senator, I promise to bring a change of culture to Trenton because no amount of taxes and spending can replace values like hard work, rule of law and common decency.