New Jersey Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex) said there will be a "stark difference" between the policies put forth at the Democratic National Convention, and those touted by Republicans a week ago.
Oliver, who is a delegate in Charlotte this week, said the role of government in providing economic opportunity, the issue of tolerance and inclusiveness, and the wilingness to work in a bipartisan way are just some of the issues that separate the two parties.
She said President Barack Obama has succeeded in many areas in spite of the Republican-controlled House and Senate, "Despite the obstacles in his way, he has created a big tent nationally, across ideology, ethnicity and religion - across lines. He has been open minded enough to bring people's ideas to the table."
She said Democrats will challenge the Republican iea that government should not have a role in helping the middle class. She said government has played a role successfully in aiding people with: business development, mortgage financing, access to higher education, development of small and medium business and women's rights.
"It's going to debunk this myth that Americans don't watn their government involved in facilitating opportunity," Oliver said. She said she recently spoke to a family who has a special needs child who thanked her for support services, transportation and respite care, all facilitated by government programs.
Oliver, who is the first African-American woman to become Speaker of the Assembly, said the New Jersey delegation represents the diversity of the Garden State. She said there is a diverse group of Latinos, Asian-American delegates, and a significant number of women. She said the delegates also vary from wealthy Democrats, to middle-class homeowners and renters, "It's an opportunity for us to reaffirm that our social and political and cultural ideology is vastly different from the Republican Party's."
Oliver also refuted criticism of the Democratic party here at home, "There's a lot of talk that the Democrats have lost their way in New Jersey." That impression, she said, is due to the state is being governed by another party.
A couple of things New Jersey delegates will be doing this week:
- Members of the delegation will take part in constructing a house that will be given away to a veteran.
- There will be many seminars and work sessions taking place. One is about models of economic development taking place in various parts of the country. Speaker Oliver said delegates can study those models and replicate them successfully in many states.