A candidate’s answer to why they are running is at best underappreciated and at worst overlooked. In their why is the impetus for their candidacy, the foundation for how their policies are built, and illumination of their priorities. For Stephanie Schmid, her why is simple: her life’s vocation is public service.
Stephanie’s vocation has been present throughout her life. First, it led Stephanie to litigate for some of society’s most vulnerable at California’s Asylum Representation Clinic during her law school education. Once matriculated, Stephanie served the United States through the Federal Judiciary working to impart justice then onto the United States through the Foreign Service as a diplomat in which she developed a specialty of strengthening overseas democratic institutions.
However, after having a professional and personal crisis of faith in the wake of foreign interference throughout our 2016 presidential electoral process, Stephanie left the State Department in 2018 after the Trump administration deleted massive sections of human rights reports which are used by judges to decide immigration and asylum decisions. Shifting her focus to domestic battles, Stephanie then joined the Center for Reproductive Rights, which put her back in front of her old boss Rep. Chris Smith who she was doing battle with on Capitol Hill.
Smith, the architect of the Mexico City Policy (or the global gag rule which is a federal government policy that blocks U.S. federal funding for non-governmental organizations that provide abortion counseling or referrals, advocate to decriminalize abortion, or expand abortion services), found himself directly in focus of Stephanie’s ire as she fought against his regressive policies.
Smith is the main proponent of these (Anti-Choice) policies on Capitol Hill. He is the leading architect of the global gag rule. He is against reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights and he is someone who I’ve known for 23 years because I actually got my start in international policy work and human rights work as a 17 year old intern in his office in D.C.
Confronted with a political representative from her home state legislating policies antithetical to a society that Stephanie felt is just, she followed her why and decided to run for office to unseat him.
So it was just this moment of how can he still be in office? He doesn’t represent the New Jersey I know. -Stephanie Schmid
Now well into Stephanie’s candidacy, the differences between the known quantity of Smith and herself are apparent. Through an amalgam of pragmatism and a dedication to virtues she holds dear, Stephanie has outpaced the sitting Smith on bed rock contemporary issues. Foremost of these is health care, an issue that Stephanie is decidedly different from Smith on as he continually attacks the Affordable Care Act.
“I think the top three large issues with health care are expanding access, increasing affordability particularly around prescription drugs, and then ensuring that the 390,000 plus people in this district and hundreds of millions of people around the country that have preexisting conditions are always covered and insured and protected.”
To accomplish this health care goal, Stephanie has pledged to support The Medicare for America Act, a piece of legislation that is currently being put forth that ensures all access to healthcare and regulates prescription drug prices. She suggested that this is a plan that can be accomplished quickly to serve Americans and can serve as a step toward the public option in the future.
In addition to healthcare reform, Stephanie is an advocate of campaign finance reform, with the clear goal to advocate to overturn the obscene Supreme Court decision “Citizens United.” Without accepting donations from Fossil Fuel industry donors and without corporate PAC money, she has nonetheless raised more money than any Democrat before in the history of District Four at this point of the campaign.
I think as we modernize our infrastructure we absolutely have to be thinking about. Green. Clean tech transportation and jobs and making sure that when we do the upgrades that allows us to pivot and innovate toward the future and a cost-effective manner.
Stephanie has key values and goals: Protecting the environment. Protecting women’s rights. Ensuring all Americans receive affordable healthcare. Championing campaign finance reform. Modernizing our infrastructure. Generating green clean technology, transportation and jobs. Safeguarding social services for society’s most vulnerable. Lowering the middleclass tax burden.
Stephanie, who lives in Little Silver, stressed that due to both a national security and a foreign policy perspective, she is running for Congress because she believes that Congress needs to “reassert its’ decision-making power through the power of the purse, the power of oversight, and the power to authorize force.”
While her background as a foreign service diplomat and lawyer for a private firm as well as for the Center for Reproductive Rights have prepared her to serve as a Congressperson, it is her personalized, face-to-face experiences as a life-long volunteer that resonate with her drive to be a public servant. She recalls volunteering as a candy striper as a youth and years later volunteering at an orphanage in Haiti, when she was stationed there as a foreign service diplomat. She even worked with President and Mrs. Carter in Haiti, helping rebuild homes destroyed by the earthquake via Habitat for Humanity. She described those experiences as fueling her desire to serve as an elected-official, where she can craft legislation to serve the citizens of N.J. Congressional District 4.
She has put together a campaign team of experienced political managers and grass root supporters to reach every corner and segment of CD4 voters. Her immediate goal is to earn the county line in upcoming Ocean and Monmouth County Conventions, which have been moved to vote by mail due to the restrictions on large gatherings. The restriction has also curtailed her ability to meet voters and attend events, but she turned to technology, presenting a Facebook Live Town Hall Sunday.