Scott Sipprelle, the Republican challenger in the hotly contested District 12 congressional race, spoke of his staunch support for Israel and fielded questions on such diverse subjects as the federal tax code, heath care, and education in a visit to two Orthodox day schools.
Sipprelle visited Moshe Aaron Yeshiva High School in South River the morning of Oct. 6, and Shalom Torah Academy in Morganville that afternoon.
Both schools said they also extended an invitation to the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Rush Holt, to address students.
During the MAYHS appearance, students in separate sessions for males and females listened intently as Sipprelle tied America’s financial stability to Israel’s security and voiced his support for school vouchers and Israel’s right to self-defense.
Sipprelle also vowed that if elected he would cap his stay in Congress to three terms, or six years, saying “career politicians” are “dangerous” because they too often put their own futures ahead of the concerns of their constituents.
“This is a critical election coming up,” MAYHS principal Rabbi Dovid Komet told his students. “Although most of you may not be able to vote, you nevertheless should be aware of some of the political issues in Washington.”
During the audience question session, one young man asked whether the flat-tax supported by the Republican might also increase the unemployment rate by throwing tax lawyers and accountants out of work.
“There’s not that many lawyers involved,” said a smiling Sipprelle.
A young woman asked him to assess the performance of NJ Gov. Chris Christie.
Sipprelle said the state needed “tough love” decisions in light of its poor economic condition.
“I don’t like the way the debate on education has been painted as Chris Christie versus the teachers,” he said. “The right debate is with the union and union control of the school system. We all love teachers, and we need to respect our teachers. If there’s one thing I fault him on is that he let this become too emotional.”
Sipprelle said the United States and Israel shared beliefs in democracy, capitalism, entrepreneurship, and religious freedom.
“America and Israel share a common bond that comes out of our history of respect for the enduring power of liberty,” he said.
Afterward students said they were impressed with the Republican candidate. “He seems like he’s really pro-Israel,” said Samantha Kold, a sophomore from Deal. “He had some good ideas for getting us back on track.”
Uriel Richman, a MAYHS junior from East Windsor, said he thought Sipprelle might be “a bit of a long shot” but was intrigued by the program. “He’s asking people to change, and what he says sounds good in theory,” he said
Jason Shaulov, an eighth-grader from East Brunswick who attended Sipprelle’s talk at Shalom Torah Academy, told a reporter he thought Sipprelle “really respects the Jewish community.”