As a former nurse, the proud wife and mother of police officers, and the grandmother of thirteen precious children, I am deeply concerned about the rise in crime in our communities. Too many people these days are suffering from tragedies that could have been completely avoided if law enforcement received the proper funding and resources to perform their jobs.
Unfortunately, this growing problem is directly attributable to the policies advanced by my opponent in the upcoming election, Frank Pallone, the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House of Representatives.
Pallone is one of the leading enablers of the Defund the Police movement that has infected the Democrat Party â€" and led to the decaying trust that elected officials will do their best to protect their constituents.
During the wake of the tragic events surrounding George Floyd in 2020 and the rash of violent riots that followed, Pallone voted for legislation that would subject police officers and their families to financial ruin for simply performing their duty. Pallone and every other Democrat in the New Jersey delegation voted to strip police officers of their immunity from lawsuits against them personally for reasonably doing their jobs.
"Qualified immunity" protects government officials, including police officers, from personal lawsuits unless they engage in behavior that they reasonably should have known violated a citizen's rights.
Eliminating qualified immunity does not protect the public from the actions of rogue cops. Bad cops who violate the rights of individuals are, and should be, subject to prosecution and the agencies and governments they work for are subject to civil penalties. Indeed, in the horrendous tragedy of George Floyd, the cop was convicted and sentenced to over 20 years in prison by both federal and state courts. Mr. Floyd's family received a $27 million settlement from the City of Minneapolis.
Without qualified immunity, good cops would be handcuffed from exercising their good judgment in making split-second decisions that protect lives and property. Cops would be compelled to buy private insurance to defend them from frivolous lawsuits. Insurance companies would have the power to determine policing practices.
Just last month, Pallone even championed the Mental Health Justice Act of 2022.
This ridiculous law, which passed through the committee Pallone chairs and was passed by the Democrats in the House on September 22, would provide funding for mental health professionals to respond to emergencies and domestic violence situations in lieu of law enforcement officers. The bill would penalize state and local governments if defendants were incarcerated or institutionalized.
This legislation gives federal grants to states, tribes, and localities to hire mental health providers to respond to certain emergencies involving: an individual with an intellectual disability or developmental disability, an individual experiencing a mental health crisis, or an individual under the influence.
In other words, this bill would have social workers instead of police respond to a school shooting situation.
There is nothing wrong with mental health professionals working with police officers to keep our communities safe. I would support legislation that encourages this practice, but sending mental health professionals into dangerous situations in lieu of the police, as this bill supported by Frank Pallone does, is insane.
The policies and practices advanced by Pallone and his fellow Democrats have led to a surge in crime. In my district's Monmouth and Middlesex Counties, there is a surge in car thefts and gang activity. Liberal bail reform policies in nearby cities are resulting in the release of dangerous criminals soon after arrest to commit more violent crimes. Fentanyl coming over our open border is leading to overdose deaths of over 100,000 people per year.
We can't change Washington without changing the people we send there. Frank Pallone has been in Washington for 34 long years. He has lost touch with the values of his constituents. It is time to make a change. It is time to send the proud wife and mother of police officers, who represents your values, to represent you in Congress.
Sue Kiley is the Republican nominee for Congress in the 6th District of New Jersey and the Deputy Director of the Monmouth County, NJ Board of Commissioners.