Mayor Steven Fulop hosts U.S. Rep. Andy Kim in Jersey City for Senate Town Hall


Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, a declared gubernatorial candidates, hosted U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-3), the frontrunner in the Senate race, at a Jersey City Town Hall late this morning into the early afternoon.

By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View

Fulop first mentioned that the Democratic U.S. Senate candidates would be holding Town Halls in Jersey City during the February 7th episode of HCV Live & Uncut.

Kim has been leading the federal lawsuit against the county line, which initially received emergency injunctive relief after First Lady Tammy Murphy dropped out of the Senate race. The congressman is still fighting an appeal, which Fulop is also pushing back against.

“Obviously, the race for the Senate has changed a lot over the last two weeks plus. That obviously impacts the size of the crowd and the interest. But I’m thankful you all came out this morning,” Fulop said during his introductory remarks at the Zeppelin Hall Biergarten.

“Andy has been at the forefront of shaping politics in New Jersey, and I think all of New Jersey will be better for it.”

Kim said that he wants to be a public servant, which he said isn’t just a job but a way of life, before giving some background on his career prior to politics, such as working for the U.S. State Department under President Barack Obama (D).

“That was extraordinary. That’s what I thought I was going to do for the rest of my life,” he noted.

He noted he was first elected to Congress in New Jersey’s 3rd District, which includes  Burlington, Monmouth, Mercer, and Ocean Counties, in 2018 by the slimmest margin in the country, defeating U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur.

He said MacArthur’s unabashed support of former President Donald Trump (R), who he feels was (and still is) unfit for office and dangerous, motivated him to run for the seat. Trump still won the district in 2020 despite losing his re-election bid overall.

Kim explained he is in a battleground district where Republicans and Democrats both could win versus the Democratic stronghold of Hudson County, where Republicans very rarely run serious campaigns for office.

“They talk about it as a blue army versus red army duking it out,” Kim noted.

However, he believes most people are distrustful of government and politics here in New Jersey, citing a recent poll.

“84 percent of people in New Jersey surveyed believe their politicians are corrupt. That is an existential threat to our democracy. They don’t feel like their voice matters,” Kim stated, continuing that he wants to combat that apathy and make politics more inclusive.

“We’re trying to create lasting, meaningful change here in New Jersey, starting with getting rid of the ballot line,” he declared to applause.

“For too long, it’s … just been adding to this sense of apathy. It doesn’t have to be that way … Running for office is not just for the well-connected and the well-off. We can have space for sons of immigrants.”

He noted the appeal of the decision was argued in the U.S Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit yesterday, with a decision expected next week.

Fulop then read questions collected from the audience via note cards. The first question read asked Kim what he would do once elected.

Kim noted that the most progress can be made with a Democratic President, Senate, and House of Representatives, which is difficult to achieve.

“We have to be able to codify women’s rights,” he said to applause.

While they made progress in the House, the U.S. Senate blocked its passage by utilizing a filibuster. Kim said this was a textbook reason why the filibuster needs to be reformed.

He also wanted to address gun control and climate change, as well as economic issues like affordability.

“Tackling immigration is … very difficult. We’re seeing how out of control it’s getting. It’s just becoming an element that is weaponized for political purposes,” Kim noted.

Fulop circled back by noting one question asked about the need to reform the Supreme Court and the filibuster.

Kim explained that significant legislation only gets passed often through budget reconciliation since a divided government makes it so difficult.

“No sole senator should be able to block the entire legislative agenda of America,” he asserted.

He also called U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson “the most extreme and incompetent speaker of the House in history.”

Additionally, Kim noted the need to reform gerrymandering in the House incentivizes extremism, which makes passing significant legislation very hard. Filibuster reform would have to happen before the Supreme Court is reformed.

“A dysfunctional Congress gives the Supreme Court so much leeway,” he explained, also pointing out that progress they were able to achieve was codifying same-sex marriage.

Continuing with audience questions, Fulop noted that one asked about Senate terms limits.

Kim said it would have to be part of a broader package, arguing that money in politics is very difficult since he has had to raise about $21 million in total since 2018 to win his elections.

“Big money in politics fundamentally affects those who are in politics,” he declared, indicating that campaign finance reform should be a bigger priority.

“If you gamify Congress… it’s often about having the most likes and the most money … I work with a lot of people who want to be social influencers online instead of lawmakers,” Kim added.

Fulop noted someone raised questions about affordability and homelessness, to which Kim said he was in favor of legislation to help first-time homebuyers with grants to afford a down payment.

The high costs of prescription drugs and food are also problems he wants to address.

Furthermore, Fulop recalled that Kim voted yes for Tump’s impeachment despite many in his district supporting Trump.

“I was prepared to do that. I make sure I don’t get too attached to it,” Kim said about his office.

“How do you hold onto those seats?” Fulop asked.

Kim said his district is more Democratic and safer than it was after redistricting and he thinks he can help swing a lot of independent voters across the state.

“No Republican can ever credibly attack me as being some yes man to the Democratic party when I’ve literally been stepping up to run against the senior senator as well as the Governor’s family simultaneously. I’m willing to be independent-minded,” Kim declared.

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