Dana's has a long record of public service and fighting for regular people. Dana’s service began with a volunteer position on a local government board at just 18 years old. Most recently she served as Chairwoman of the Hoboken Housing Authority where she blew the whistle on millions of dollars in no-bid contracts being steered to an assemblyman's campaign donors. In between, Dana has volunteered thousands of hours taking on NJ party bosses, attending local government meetings, and advocating for good government. In her law practice, she fought all the way up to the NJ Supreme Court to protect every New Jersey citizens' right to political free speech in the landmark case Mazdabrook Commons v. Khan.
Dana has accumulated decades’ worth of policy knowledge and government experience entirely through volunteer positions.
Dana is a proud New Jerseyian through and through. She grew up in Hasbrouck Heights and attended Rutgers University, where she graduated with highest honors while working full-time. She went on to graduate from Rutgers Law School and then William Paterson University where she earned an M.S. in Biotechnology. While in law school, she was a Raimondo fellow with the Eagleton Institute of Politics. Dana and her husband, Dave, live with their 2 year old daughter, Josephine, in Wood-Ridge.
Dana's Political and Public Service Background
9/11, the Iraq War, and the passage of The Patriot Act were early formative events in Dana's political activism. She strongly opposed both the Iraq War and the Patriot Act and was drawn to the Democratic Party because of their (belated) opposition to domestic spying and the invasion of Iraq. In Morris County, at the age of 22, Dana ran for political office as a Democrat, but her fiscally conservative beliefs put her in the strange position of running to the right of the incumbent Republican.
In 2007, Dana ran against Michael Patrick Carroll for state assembly in the safe Republican 25th district. During one of their debates, Carroll made a statement about "corrupt Hudson County Democrats." At the time, Dana thought he was exaggerating, but in 2008 Dana moved to Hudson County and soon learned about those corrupt Hudson County Democrats herself.
In Hoboken, Dana was happy to find a non-partisan coalition of citizens dedicated to reform principles and good government. She threw herself into the movement and was eventually appointed to be a commissioner on the Hoboken Housing Authority, where she was elected Chairwoman after just a few months. The housing authority is charged with overseeing the federally-funded public housing and section 8 program. At the time of Dana's appointment, the full-time executive director was moonlighting as a Democratic Assemblyman. Dana quickly uncovered that the Executive Director/Assemblyman had been giving out millions of dollars in no-bid contracts to his campaign contributors. Dana alerted the authorities and after a very public seven month battle with both the Executive Director/Assemblyman and HUD, finally forced HUD to do an audit of the housing authority, which substantiated the conditions Dana had uncovered. Dana's service at the housing authority pitted her against powerful figures in Hudson County politics and HUD, but she never wavered in her commitment to the principle that government agencies should fulfill the mission they are tasked with in an ethical and efficient manner.
In the 2016 election, Dana backed Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary because he was the only Democrat with the guts to run against Hillary Clinton. When Dana learned that the DNC and Hillary Clinton had rigged the primary against him, it prompted a political awakening in her. The corruption, she finally understood, was systemic, not just local, and went far deeper than she ever thought.
Donald Trump's election both shocked and terrified Dana. She was shocked because everyone around her, the media, and the pollsters were all certain Hillary Clinton would win. She was terrified because social media, the mainstream media, and prominent figures in our society had convinced her that we were on the edge of becoming an authoritarian state. After the election, it seemed that everyone was talking about "bubbles" and how being so ensconced in a liberal bubble had prevented us from seeing Donald Trump's election as even a remote possibility. For most Democrats, this analysis lasted just a week or so, but for Dana, it helped her break out of her bubble.
Donald Trump's election had several effects on Dana. First, it made her more conservative and more appreciative of how important having a small, minimally intrusive government is. Second, it made her far more skeptical of the media, which led to a profound shift in Dana's worldview. Third, it forced her to take a look at what the national Democratic Party had become during the time that she was focused on local non-partisan politics. What she found shocked her. The Democratic Party no longer treasures long held values, such as the importance of free speech and our Constitution. The Democratic Party has eschewed principles of equality in favor of identity politics. The Democratic Party rejects basic biology in favor of the sexist idea that being a woman is a feeling rather than a biological reality. And when she tried to talk about these things with fellow Democrats, she was branded a bigot, and worse.
Dana left the Democratic Party and registered as a Republican.
Dana still feels both parties are corrupted and beholden to special interests as a direct result of the fact that our political system is corrupted. But, with the people in the Republican Party, Dana found independent thinkers, diversity of opinion, and a welcoming attitude. And in the Republican Party itself, Dana has found a common appreciation for the importance of our Constitution, a love of liberty and other enlightenment values, and an ability to have policy discussions in a civil manner.
Why Dana Should Be the Republican Nominee to take on Bob Menendez
Dana is uniquely positioned to take on Bob Menendez in a general election because her views reflect the values of most New Jersey citizens. Her common sense approach to issues like the economy, healthcare, immigration, foreign policy, and consumer protection resonate with others who are as concerned as she that we create a secure and stable future for our children. The contrast between Dana and an ethically-challenged career-politician like Bob Menendez will grow the Republican Party by attracting young people and independent-minded voters. She will be the proof that the Republican Party can be the future.