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Could There Be A Gov. Holt In New Jersey’s Future? A Talk With Rep. Rush Holt

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U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, D-12, was cagey when asked if he’d consider running for New Jersey governor.
Photo: Office of Rush Holt

U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, D-12, says he hasn’t thought too much about what he’ll do when he leaves Congress next January.

“I don’t know if I’ll go back to academia, go to a foundation, work with the (Obama) administration,” he said.

How about running for governor?

“My next act is very much open,” he said with a smile, after a slight pause. “Take that for what it’s worth.”

But Holt, who spoke recently with the Franklin Reporter & Advocate at the Somerset Diner, said that he’s not thinking about the future because he’s still in the present. Holt announced last month that he would not seek a ninth term in Congress.

“I’m still in the job,” said Holt, who has served in Congress since 1999 after beating one-term incumbent (and former township Mayor) Mike Pappas. “In the last two weeks, too many comments I’ve received are in the past tense. This is not in the past tense.”

“This is ongoing,” Holt said. “There have been representatives before me, and there will be representatives after me. I certainly work hard at it.”

Holt said he decided to not seek re-election because “it was not my goal to stay on Congress until they carried me out. That was the defining moment, when I realized that I would be leaving some time.”

“Assuming I would be re-elected, 10 years from now it wouldn’t be any easier to leave,” he said.

Holt has a long list of things he’d like to accomplish before his last term expires, he said.

“We haven’t yet gotten the Office of Technical Assessment reactivated in Congress,” he said. The office was abolished by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

“That office provided really great guidance on how to deal with issues from oil spills to missile defense to health care delivery in rural and poor neighborhoods,” he said.

“I also haven’t been able to shift the debate in Washington to an appreciation of where the government invests in America,” Holt said. The Republicans “say, ‘oh, you mean wasteful spending.” And I say no, I mean investing in America.”

“The debate in Congress is all about cutting spending,” he said.

Holt said that he feels he has been able to make strides in areas such as consumer protection, civil rights and civil liberties.

“I still like to think that the most important thing I’ve done is to build trust in our government,” he said. But that, he said, “will only be known in retrospect.”

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