Families Say, “Let Our Dads Drive!” at Father’s Day March and Rally For Expanded Access to Driver’s Licenses in Woodbridge
At least 168,000 New Jersey children have one parent who cannot access a state-issued driver’s license. Advocates are calling on legislators to pass A4743/S3229 to expand access before they leave for Summer break.
WOODBRIDGE, NJ– On Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16th, children, and families rallied and marched in Woodbridge, New Jersey. They called on legislators to pass legislation for expanded access to driver’s licenses. While the New York Assembly moved forward and passed the licenses bill this past week, New Jersey families are still waiting for legislators to take action on the similar bill introduced in Trenton.
The rally began at Woodbridge City Hall and marched in front of Assembly Speaker Coughlin’s office calling for the immediate passage of legislation A4743/S3229 that would expand access to driver’s licenses to more than 719,000 residents and benefitting thousands of families in the state. Children delivered a large Father’s Day card to the Assembly Speaker’s office with messages of how their parents having access to a license will help them in sports and school.
When parents and providers are unable to access a driver’s licenses, the entire family loses mobility. Children have trouble participating in sports, extracurriculars, and getting to necessary appointments because their parents are not able to drive them. Parents are also not able to spend quality time with their kids because they can spend upwards of 4-5 hours daily commuting to work.
Access to a driver’s license would allow parents to spend more quality time with their children and improve mobility for entire households.
When fully implemented, expanding access to driver’s licenses will raise at least $90 million in revenue annually towards New Jersey’s budget helping the state keep a balanced budget.
Parents and advocates provided the following statements:
Luis Santamaria, father and faith leader with Faith in New Jersey, said,
“As a father and Catholic faith leader in our community, we pray along with all our undocumented brothers and sisters that it is time for Assembly Speaker Coughlin and the New Jersey leadership to move this bill forward and put it up for a vote. It is a moral obligation to for us to stand with our neighbors and community members of whom there are more than 719,000 residents and their families that can benefit.
Alberto Jandete, father and member of New Labor said,
“The best gift for Father’s Day is that we’d have drivers licenses for all.”
Andrea Lopez, mother, and resident of Dover, and member of Wind of the Spirit said,
“I work outside of my town. I go in at 10 pm. At that time, there is no public transportation or bus available to take me to work. Our children suffer, especially when the weather is bad because our school district does not provide transportation to and from school. Driver’s licenses are a necessity in New Jersey, not a luxury. My daughter is afraid that we could be stopped for a simple traffic stop and her parents detained and deported. Let us live with dignity. We too pay taxes. We have the right to feel safe on the road, to not have to hide.”
Margarita Rodriguez, mother and member of Make the Road New Jersey Passaic said,
“As a single mother of three children, it is extremely important to be present in the life of my kids. However, not having a driver’s license means not being able to be in my kids’ lives. I am missing their extracurricular activities, missing their soccer tournaments, and not giving them all the moral support they need just like any other child. Our kids deserve better. We need driver’s licenses for all now.”
Laura Mora, Community Organizer with LALDEF/Welcome House in Trenton, said,
“The expansion of driver’s licenses in New Jersey will raise $90 million annually that can be used towards the state budget’s deficit and it is crucial for those parents that do not have access to driver’s licenses. They will be able to provide transportation for their entire family. By expanding driver’s licenses, 168,000 children in New Jersey will have access to reliable transportation to go to sports practices, get to after-school programs and doctor appointments, and enjoy the freedom of getting to where they need to go. After almost two decades, our ask is the same: pass A4743/S3229 to expand driver’s licenses for ALL!”