Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz hasn’t gone underground in the wake of her mother’s death.
It’s not what she would have wanted, Munoz said.
“My mother was born right before the depression. Her four years of high school were during World War II. My mother was a very tough woman, and she would want me to carry on,” Munoz said. “It’s not hard to campaign, it’s hard going home to the house without her.”
Freda Foster, Munoz’s mother, died on Oct. 10.
She was 92 years old, and she was very close with her daughter.
Munoz has turned her focus to door-knocking in the closing days of her re-election campaign.
The five-term incumbent was out door knocking in Summit Saturday morning. She’s walked so much that her shoes have worn out and her feet have blistered.
“I have shin splints,” she said.
Munoz’s campaign said they’ve made tens of thousands of direct voters contacts, and the assemblywoman said she intends to keep knocking doors through election day.
Munoz and her running mate, Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, are in a tight re-election race against Democrats Lisa Mandelblatt and Stacey Gunderman. They also face challenges from independent conservatives Martin Marks and Harry Pappas.
Facing two women, Munoz has turned to her record on women’s issues in an effort to hold her seat.
“I’m putting out a piece for the nurses, I’m putting out a piece that targets what I’ve done for women and children on the committee of women and children,” Munoz said. “I’ve listened to the concerns of the people, and I’m going to get my message out.”
Munoz, a registered nurse, has sponsored bills dealing with domestic violence, sexual assault and conditions for nurses.
She served prominently as a vice chair of the select committee that investigated the hiring of former Schools Development chief of staff Al Alvarez, who was accused of sexual assault by Katie Brennan, who is chief of staff at the State Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency.
But, she and Bramnick are primarily running on a Republican mainstay — taxes.
“I’ve gone door to door literally for six months, and what I’m hearing from the people is taxes, taxes, taxes. That’s what they talk about,” Munoz said. “If you ask them, if they take the time to talk, ‘we’re paying too much in taxes. Help us.’”
The Republicans are advocating for a 2% cap on increases to state spending similar to the one that exists at the local level.
They’re also calling for changes to the state’s school funding formula, which they say increases property taxes of residents in suburban towns like the ones that make up the 21st district by sending a majority of state funds to schools in urban areas.
“They agree with us on the 2% cap on state spending, because the municipalities did it, and they think that’s a reasonable thing,” Munoz said. “And to fund the school funding formula, because the highest tax that we have is the property tax, so if we could get better funding from the state for school funding, it would help with the property tax burden.”
Democrats currently hold a veto-proof majority in the Assembly.
There aren’t enough competitive races in the state for Republicans to win a majority in the lower chamber, but it’s possible that they will take away Democrats’ super majority.
The district’s Democratic candidates hold a lead in votes already cast through mail-in ballots.
Munoz thinks she and Bramnick can bridge that gap.
“When I’m not out door-to-door, I’m making phone calls. I know where the vote by mails have gone, and we’re calling them, and I expect to close the gap,” she said. “One of the people on the list was my kid, and guess what: He filled it out.”