A retired Egg Harbor Township police captain has become the second Democrat to enter the race to challenge Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) in New Jersey’s 2nd district next year.
Hector Tavarez, the co-founder and executive director of the Egg Harbor Township Police Athletic League, said he decided to run for Congress after watching the U.S. Capitol insurrection on January 6.
Over the years, I’ve considered running for office but never did for one simple reason. I was always convinced that the good we were doing for the PAL kids far outweighed any benefit I could produce as a local politician,” Tavarez stated. “That all began to change for me after watching violence across our nation for months.”
Tavarez said he is “disappointed and disgusted with our present representation” in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“I am like you, not a millionaire, not an attorney, not a career politician,” he said. “I want to give the people of the 2nd District a better choice, one that is more like them.”
He pledged to limit himself to six terms in Congress – the same pledge Republican Frank LoBiondo took in 1994 and broke on his way to 24 years as the 2nd district congressman – and pledged to not accept campaign contributions from outside his district.
Tavarez is the second retired law enforcement official to announce bid to unseat Van Drew, a longtime legislator who was elected to Congress as a Democrat in 2018 and after switching parties, as a Republican in 2020.
Tim Alexander, a former Atlantic County Prosecutor’s office detective and Assistant Philadelphia District Attorney, entered the race two weeks ago.
Tavarez has staked out a centrist agenda, supporting the 2nd Amendment, a strong military, a path to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals participants, and Health Care for All. His campaign website quotes John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Ronald Reagan.
“I believe many of our national and state problems are due to extreme far left and extreme far right views,” Taveras said. “Most of us have opinions that fall somewhere in the middle.”
He also placed himself to the right of most Democrats on welfare reform.
“Welfare and other social programs were designed to assist American families in need for a short period of time while they got themselves up on their feet. Over the years, these programs have evolved into a way of life, generation after generation,” Tavarez said. “I believe these programs must return to their original intent, a hand up, not a handout, a safety net, not a way of life.”
Tavarez wants to be an advocate for police officers if he makes it to Washington.
“Law enforcement has received some very bad publicity in recent year,” he said. “As a retired police captain, I can tell you, no one hates a bad cop more than a good cop.