PARSIPPANY — Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) testified in front of the House Committee on Appropriations to highlight the community projects she submitted on behalf of NJ-11 during the committee’s Member Day Hearing. Today’s testimony is a crucial step in Rep. Sherrill’s efforts to ensure these projects ultimately receive funding through legislation put forward by the Appropriations Committee later this year.
In this extremely competitive process, Rep. Sherrill was only able to submit 10 project requests. Those requests must have been from state or local governments, government-adjacent organizations, and nonprofits. The 10 projects submitted by Rep. Sherrill would each make a lasting impact on the lives, livelihoods, and resilience of those in the communities they serve.
Prepared remarks included here:
Thank you, Chairwoman DeLauro, Ranking Member Granger, and members of the Committee for providing me the opportunity to testify today. I also want to extend a special nod of thanks to my good friend and colleague from New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman for her outstanding work to represent and support our state’s priorities on this Committee.
I want to speak today about a number of crucial projects I have submitted on behalf of my district and the communities and constituents I represent.
You’ve heard from and will continue to hear from a number of members today. Many, if not all, of us, will be highlighting the community projects we’ve submitted for consideration by this committee.
For this committee, it may seem tedious. I assure you, no matter the size, scale, or issue area that these projects fall under — they will be life-changing to the constituents we’re here advocating for.
For every community, the past year has been excruciatingly difficult. The pandemic, the economic fallout, the loss, the isolation, the change in daily routine. Kids learning remotely and families prevented from seeing each other in the most troubling times many of us have ever faced.
Every part of this nation was hit hard. But for New Jersey, we were hit hardest and hit first. The impact hasn’t been lost on those in my district. Whether it’s the trauma of loss or loneliness, the financial hardship of closed businesses or a lost job that threatens housing security, or the uncertainty of what awaits on the other side of this crisis — reopening and getting back to normal is going to be a challenge.
But we’re well on our way to making that reopening a reality, and now is the time to be making the types of investments that will make us better and stronger than before.
So, each of these projects requests that I’ve submitted was chosen because they will make a significant difference in people’s lives and livelihoods. That’s what we as Members of Congress need to be doing more than anything right now — finding ways to improve the lives of our constituents and the services in our communities to help ease our recovery and pave the way for a more resilient future.
I know that goal is at the heart of every one of you as well. And whether it’s the American Rescue Plan, the infrastructure package we’re negotiating, or these community projects I’m fighting for — our priorities have been in the right place. And I want to extend my thanks to this Committee and the Members on it for the role they’ve played in helping to make that the case.
Now with that goal in mind, let me name just a few of the projects I’ve submitted for consideration.
- $3 million for Morris Habitat for Humanity’s largest affordable housing project to date in Randolph
- Nearly $300,000 for Suicide Prevention Services through the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris County
- $250,000 for a Park Improvements Project in West Orange, specifically designed to enhance ADA accessibility and provide exercise options for seniors
- Nearly $650,000 in funding for the installation of new lights at a recreation complex in Totowa
- $250,000 for the replacement of a water main in Stanhope
- $3.1 million for the expansion of a collaborative childcare project through United Way of Northern New Jersey
- More than $135,000 for traffic improvements in Morris Plains that provide safe access to public transportation for residents of affordable housing
- $255,000 for the replacement of lead pipes and service lines in Bloomfield
- $800,000 for a water system upgrade to improve the water system in Hopatcong
- And finally, $500,000 for the preconstruction engineering efforts for a flood mitigation project on the Peckman River
Some of the benefits of these projects speak for themselves. Improvements for clean drinking water and the replacement of lead pipes, aid for a project designed to protect communities, homes, and businesses from flooding, or traffic improvements that will increase pedestrian safety and access to public transportation for an underserved population.
These aren’t the flashiest projects Congress has ever funded, but they are often the most impactful and there are always projects like these in our communities that need to be addressed.
And then there are those, whose importance may have reached a crisis level during the challenges of the past year. Aid to Habitat for Humanity, for example. In my district, they are housing those who may have lost everything during the pandemic. I had the honor of joining as a volunteer on one of their builds just last month. Or a project to expand childcare services that will help rebuild New Jersey’s early education and care sector when 71 percent of the family childcare providers in the state have been lost. Or, perhaps sadly the most life-saving, the expansion of suicide prevention services when we’re in the midst of a mental health crisis only exacerbated by the pandemic.
These are the types of projects we need to be funding right now and I’m proud to be fighting for them here today. Thank you all so much. Thank you, Chairwoman, and I yield back.