While the United States Senate started the impeachment trial of Republican President Donald J. Trump on Tuesday afternoon, U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-5, was in his northern New Jersey district holding a discussion with state and local officials, as well as representatives from the Jersey Central Power and Light utility, about preventing future power outages during storms.
Gottheimer is one of around 30 Democratic representatives that won seats in the 2016 elections from districts that Trump carried in his White House victory.
“Just like I was bi-partisan in my first term, I’m deeply bi-partisan now,” Gottheimer said following the Jan. 21 utility forum with U. S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-11, at the Odgensburg Fire House. “I focus on getting things done, and this (forum) is why we are having this meeting today. Most of what we focus on day in and day out is working together to get things done to help people.”
Gottheimer was named “most bi-partisan” of the freshman class in 2019.
He said he has continued working on local issues, including an unregulated dumping facility in Vernon, or Tuesday morning’s forum on storm response for the constituents in his district, despite the historic vote on impeachment taking place in Washington, D.C.
The House of Representatives voted 230-197, and one present, on Dec. 18 to impeach Trump on the first article of abuse of power, and 229-198, with one present vote, to impeach on the article charging obstruction of congress, according to the Congressional Record.
The vote fell strictly along party lines, with no Republicans supporting either resolution, although three Democrats voted against the articles, including South Jersey U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, NJ-2, who switched to the Republican Party because of the vote.
The approved articles of impeachment were finally taken to the senate last week, and the trial for removing Trump began in earnest Tuesday afternoon.
Gottheimer said the impeachment is now in the hands of the senate, and he is focusing on matters in the district like keeping the power on during storms, bringing back the SALT tax deduction for state and local taxes, as well as removing lead from drinking water.
“There are so many things that bring people together,” he said. “I think we have to fix our roads, bridges and tunnels to make commuting easier.”
Gottheimer’s GOP opponent in 2020, Montvale Mayor Michael Ghassali, is hoping the district that Trump won over Hillary Clinton 49-48%, will hold Gottheimer accountable in the next election for taking the Democratic Party line in the house.
“Josh Gottheimer is just as radical as (Democratic House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, just look past his empty words and promises and check his voting record,” Ghassali said Tuesday. “He votes with Pelosi 93% of the time.”
Ghassali said his opponent refused to stand up to the Democrats “illegitimate scheme” to impeach the president and overturn the 2016 election.
“He'd make a better boxer than congressman the way he dodges questions,” he said. “West Milford and the people of the fifth congressional district deserve a representative who shares their values and will stand up for what is right.”