As we enter into a new year and a new legislative session, I’m humbled by the knowledge that, just two short years ago, I took my first steps onto the Senate floor as a representative of New Jersey’s 11th Legislative District.
In the time since, I’m proud of what our team has managed to accomplish, including the people we’ve been able to help, the bills we’ve been able to pass into law, and the issues we’ve raised on behalf of our residents.
Just by the numbers, our office last year hosted 7 charity drives to benefit our community, assisted 817 constituents with casework and connections to state programs, hosted 11 outreach events to connect residents with state agencies and services, hosted Mobile Office Hours 72 different times throughout the district, and won $10 million for extraordinary special education aid for District 11 schools. I’m incredibly grateful to Assemblyman Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Downey for being such great partners in the State Assembly, and to all of our community partners and staff for working hard to help serve our constituents.
I’m also humbled to share that a full 66 of the bills that I sponsored or co-sponsored were signed into law last year, where I hope they’ll continue to improve the lives of all of our Monmouth County residents. That includes Senate Bill S1331, which expanded the veterans’ property tax deduction to members of continuing care retirement communities; Senate Bill S3158, which repealed the Shore Rental Tax for traditional renters and homeowners; Senate Bill S2858, which banned state and local officials from abusing law enforcement badges to get out of trouble; and Senate Bill S2241, which gives businesses a new way to advertise products made right here in New Jersey.
Currently, my office is partnering with Assembly Members Houghtaling and Downey to host two community events. The first is a blood drive for Charlotte Scalese, a local 2-year-old who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare type of cancer found in young children. The drive will take place between 1 and 7 PM on Friday, January 31st at the Neptune Township Senior Center, and I encourage anyone who can safely donate blood to come out to help Baby Charlotte and to support her fight against cancer.
The second event is our ongoing “Socks for the Homeless” Drive, where my office will be accepting donations of new and unused socks to provide to local charities. On a cold winter day, families without a home or shelter can face major health risks like hypothermia, frostbite, blisters, and ulcers if they’re not able to keep their extremities warm. If you’d like to help by donating, you can drop off socks at my Ocean Township office at 802 W Park Ave, Suite 221.
With that said, my number-one priority remains making my office available to you, our residents, and making sure that I can continue to serve as your voice, both in Trenton and at home. As such, I encourage you to reach out at any time if I or my staff can assist you in obtaining services or tax relief programs you qualify for, introducing a bill that you’re passionate about, or supporting an organization that helps the most vulnerable members of our community. You can reach my office at (732) 695-3371, or email me at SenGopal@njleg.org.
Thank you, as always, for the opportunity to serve you for another year. I hope that you have a wonderful 2020!