Ten-term Congressman Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R-11) addressed students at Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy in Livingston on Wednesday, reiterating his support for Israel and defending Congressional spending.
Frelinghuysen serves the newly-redistricted eleventh district, which includes 54 municipalities including communities in Morris, Sussex, Passaic, and Essex counties — including Montclair.
Frelinghuysen told students that he spends weeks in Washington D.C., and weekends in New Jersey, traveling throughout his district.
One of his goals, said Frelinghuysen, is "to put a human face on Congress." He noted that many citizens speak of Congress as a body, without knowing their representatives and how their interests are served.
Students introduced Frelinghuysen as a "fiscal conservative." However, the Congressman was challenged by a student to explain how he would cut "rampant" government spending over the past 60 years.
Frelinghuysen objected to the characterization, noting that government spending includes defense, as well as social security, Medicare, and Medicaid. "Many of you may have grandparents who rely on social security," said Frelinghuysen, describing the program as a "commitment" made to the nation's seniors.
Frelinghuysen spoke of his support for Israel, which he described as "our greatest friend in the Middle East." Frelinghuysen is New Jersey’s senior member of the House Defense Subcommittee.
A student asked the Congressman about his daily life in Washington, D.C. Frelinghuysen compared Congress to 435 student council presidents, all passionate and opinionated. "We love what we do," said the Congressman. "I love what I do."