Letters to the Editor: An open letter to Rep.-elect Mikie Sherrill

Mikie Sherrill fields question after defeating Jay Webber in 11th District Congressional race. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Mikie Sherrill fields question after defeating Jay Webber in 11th District Congressional race. Photo by Kevin Coughlin


Dear Representative-Elect Sherrill –

I am very proud to be a part of the groups who worked to elect you, and so I am writing to express very serious concern with early decisions I have seen from you.

Your choice to oppose Nancy Pelosi and your ambivalence towards not only the most effective Speaker in my lifetime, but to a woman who has tirelessly worked to pave the way for you, was deeply distressing. I hope you will reconsider this position and work with her and other women in Congress. 

Now we are told you are caucusing with the Blue Dog Democrats, a group that has been detrimental to progress in Congress for, again, my entire adult life.

I did not help elect you because I am for “fiscal responsibility.” This phrase has been used by the GOP to gut environmental protections, the social net, education and healthcare for decades. We do not need austerity — we need an investment in these long-term benefits.

I voted for you to stand against gun violence, which will require funding for scientific research and education. 

I voted for you to stand for immigration reform which welcomes refugees and the needy and people trying to make a better life which will require funding for processing and legal representation.

I voted for you for justice system reform so the school-to-prison pipeline is stopped, so people are not given life-robbing sentences for minor infractions. This will require another investment after removing for-profit prisons from our system; we will need a prison system that works towards rehabilitation and release.

I voted for you to make it easier and more affordable for all Americans to have healthcare — not just health insurance — health care. We will need an investment in our medical care.

I voted for you to uphold (and increase!) voting rights, marriage equality, protections, equal pay, livable wages, and freedoms for all within our country’s borders, not just for a select few.

And I will hold you accountable every time you caucus with a group that has firmly stood against that progress for my entire life. Thirty years ago, you probably would have run as a Republican, and I understand that. I will be asking you to work with the constituents who worked for you to help make the United States the land of progress it should be.

It’s time to stop banging the fiscal conservatism drum. Austerity hurts us. We need investment in the future. 


Erica Friedman
Morristown, NJ

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  1. Please explain to me the reason why the police departments throughout the country can’t be issued tranquilizing guns that can shoot tranquilizing darts at fleeing suspects. Technology today can manufacture tranquilizing guns that can shoot computerized darts that can penetrate clothing with enough force to penetrate the skin and knock out a fleeing suspect within 5 seconds. This would allow a police officer to shoot at a suspect without any worry about killing them. When a suspect is running within a crowd, the police officer can still discharge his tranquilizer gun without the fear of killing another person that could be shot by accident. I had mentioned this to members of Pequannock Townships police department years ago in 1997 when I was Mayor and their attitude is the opposition is using live ammunition, why shouldn’t we use live ammunition! My answer was it would give the police a sense of security that they wouldn’t have to kill anyone utilizing a tranquilizing gun and they would still have a live suspect to question. This would even be better than taser weapons! I have sent this information to MSNBC and CNN and have not received a reply. My cell phone number is (973) 332-7009

  2. Erica- “fiscal responsibility” does not mean gutting environmental protections or social security. Economic growth and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive. Sensible regulation is required for both. Approvals from seemingly every branch of federal, state and local governments over two years to build a bridge or road is not fiscally responsible. Anyone (Democrat or Republican) with a basic understanding of math and budgeting can see that social security, federal and state pensions, and other entitlements are in desperate need of reform to remain solvent. Since you’re not for “fiscal responsibility” and probably want to tax the rich (which I am not), consider this, the top 140,000 (the top 1%) taxpayers paid over 37% of all income taxes, according to the IRS. You can only tax those people so much before they leave or become a “resident” of a tax haven. Nancy Pelosi doesn’t represent NJ11, period. Mikie pledged to vote against her leadership, and anything other than a “nay” vote is a betrayal of her constituents. Abstaining from voting lowers the bar for Pelosi’s approval and is equally a betrayal. If Mikie doesn’t see a better option than Nancy, then she has a duty to us in NJ11 to run for Speaker of the House herself.

  3. Well said.

    And without the on-the-ground volunteer game both here and across the district, Ms. Sherrill would not have won. Period.

    Running to the right instead of working with your base paints you into a corner – now the GOP can run anyone with a smidgen more class and social beliefs that don’t harken back to 1950 (or maybe Jay’s more of an 1850’s guy) and EASILY overtake Sherrill in two years. Someone with Sherrill’s background should know what leadership means, but it seems like she’s dead set on listening to a campaign advisor intent on thinking this is Montana (also, nice job in Iowa, Mollie).

  4. Dear Ms Friedman,
    I have to respectfully say that I disagree with your letter. Not one month after the election, it seems you have chosen to start criticizing Mikie Sherrill, for whom we all worked hard, for not supporting Nancy Pelosi and for deciding to caucus with the Blue Dog Democrats. I also heard on the radio that the group NJ 11th for Change is also criticizing Ms Sherrill for these actions. I believe these opinions do not reflect the views of CD 11 Democrats.
    You certainly were aware of Ms Sherrill’s pledge not to support Rep. Pelosi and to be a force for compromise and consensus. So, these decisions, certainly the former, should not have been a surprise and, indeed, I believe were important and desirable elements of her platform to most of her supporters. Regarding Blue Dog Democrats, while some Blue Dogs may hold views contrary to mine and yours (e.g., gun control and health care) others in this group share our views. (Please see Wikipedia and other sources here). On the whole, I’m guessing that CD 11 Democrats want exactly what Ms Sherrill promised and welcome a Representative who is socially progressive while being fiscally responsible.
    So, please, let’s stop undermining our own and together stand behind our newly elected Democratic Representatives while at the same time encouraging them to live up to their promises. If it’s unacceptable for Democratic Representatives to seek support and compromise with fellow Democrats, how will anything ever get done in Congress, let alone win in 2020?
    Henry Bernstein
    Montville, NJ

  5. I agree entirely. We need a united progressive front to evict trump and the spineless GOP from the Senate. I was so very annoyed to have stood in the rain to support you then see your ad opposing Nancy Pelosi. Nancy EARNED her “bones” as they say. With all due respect, you have not.

  6. Nancy Pelosi was just nominated as Speaker of the House by a resounding majority of her party. Ms. Sherrill specifically campaigned and pledged to not support Pelosi. Ms Sherrill’s name was conspicuously absent from a 11/18 letter from 16 Dems urging their colleagues to vote for new leadership. NJ11 wants to know if you will vote against Pelosi or ignore your campaign pledge with (probably) the very first vote of your congressional career. Will be a very good barometer of what your constituents should expect from her going forward.

  7. Erica,

    You really should move to Cuba or Venezuela. Except those are countries from which those “refugees” are fleeing to come here.