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Open Letter to GOP congressional candidate Nick DeGregorio

This is the second open letter sent to GOP congressional candidate Nick DeGregorio that attempts to pry out of his campaign his positions on important issues.

Dear Nick:

Voters deserve to know where candidates stand on issues like abortion and school curriculum. At the start of your campaign, you were the only congressional candidate who refused to be screened by a panel of statewide conservative leaders, which included New Jersey Right to Life and Pro-Second Amendment activists. You continue to avoid stating your position on these important issues.

That’s why I asked you last week to clarify your position on the controversy of school curriculum and parents’ rights. I did so after the comments made by your campaign’s general consultant, Chris Russell (Checkmate Strategies). In a Politico article from April 22nd, Russell attacked Republicans who are engaged in the fight to restore parental discretion over what is taught to their children. Russell is quoted in Politico:
After Schepisi first made her social media post about the sample lessons, it quickly became fodder for conservative blogs and Fox News guests who spent days falsely claiming first- and second-graders in the state are being subjected to “psychological torture” and “predatory grooming,” language that’s been repeated by adherents to the Q Anon conspiracy theory and some conservatives supporting legislative efforts to roll back rights and protections for LGBTQ people.

While Republican-elected officials in New Jersey have avoided the term “grooming,” their Twitter and Facebook comment feeds are rife with unfounded accusations of pedophilia and child abuse against Democrats, school leaders and the media.

New Jersey GOP strategist Chris Russell said those kinds of extreme right-wing buzzwords aren’t effective in the state and don’t resonate with the typical New Jersey Republican voter who leans more socially moderate, but he said Republicans should still find a way to tap into that parental outrage.

“When it drifts into fringe messaging on our side about grooming, that doesn’t do anything to advance our argument. In fact, I think it probably gives people like Phil Murphy the hammer they’re looking for to beat arguments down,” said Russell, who was Ciattarelli’s top adviser during the 2021 gubernatorial campaign.

Still, Russell said Republicans “would be really wise” ahead of the congressional midterms this year and the legislative elections in New Jersey next year to “absolutely, lean into these things” — just “talk about them in a way that is appealing to a broader group of people.”
Instead of taking the writer to task for attempting to link those campaigning for parental rights to “QAnon conspiracy theories” and “roll(ing) back rights and protections for LGBTQ people”, Russell attacked Republicans for using the term “grooming” when the curriculum itself meets the definitions of that term. For example, a website run by victims of child abuse called Out of the Fog, defines “grooming” this way:
“Grooming is an insidious predatory tactic, utilized by abusers. Grooming is practiced by Narcissists, Antisocial predators, con-artists and sexual aggressors, who target and manipulate vulnerable people for exploitation. Child grooming is the deliberate act of establishing an emotional bond with a child, to lower the child’s resistance.”
These are not politicians or mainstream media reporters, but actual victims who know first-hand what grooming is. They are horrified at what is being done to young children in the name of “welcoming diversity”.

The way the Medical Dictionary defines child “grooming” describes aspects of the new comprehensive sex education standards and curriculum that outside interest groups and their lobbyists helped devise:
“The constellation of psychological manipulations and actions taken by a predatory adult, meant to reduce a child’s fears and inhibitions, as a prelude to sexual abuse or exploitation by the predator or his/her associates.”
If an average adult citizen were to visit a playground and talk to children, following some of the lesson plans learned in elementary schools, the police would be called in to arrest him for grooming and he’d be prosecuted. Why is it okay for government to do what we’d arrest average citizens for doing?

Considering your general consultant’s words, it is important for you – as a Republican candidate for Congress – to take a position. It is important to know whose side you are on.

I’ve copied the broader family of New Jersey Republican congressional candidates in this letter – including incumbent members of Congress. I invite them to comment because it is important that Republicans speak as one on the issue of parental freedom and the use of radical Left-wing curriculum to indoctrinate school children.

I hope to hear from you soon.


Frank Pallotta,
Candidate for Congress (CD-05)

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