We recently attended the mayoral inauguration of our friend, the state’s most pro-gun mayor and 2nd Amendment purist, Daniel Francisco. Also in attendance that evening was someone we didn’t know but were happy to meet. Gregg Mele.
For those of you that don’t know Gregg, he is running to replace corrupt US Senator Bob Menendez. After some great conversation that night, we just knew we had to interview this strong candidate. We need to flip one of our two US Senate seats red and elect a man (or woman) that will stand strong in defense of our God-given rights.
News2A: Mr. Mele, thank you for joining us. Could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and how you came to be a Conservative? What does that label mean to you?
Gregg Mele: I grew up relatively poor in Bergen County (lived in Rochelle Park, wound up attending high school in Paramus). There was a big division between rich families and poor families (the rich families blatantly looked down at the poor families), so my friends were in at least a similar boat. Our parents were collectively similar, and one trait that came through was the idea that we were ashamed to take any hand-out from anyone, because we didn’t want to feel any worse about our situation than we already did from the bullying of the rich kids. The dignity of work, where we could earn what we had, was empowering and made us feel much better about ourselves. No matter what, we were all determined to survive and succeed on our own, without help. Work ethics, integrity, character, pride, resourcefulness, and personal responsibility were paramount, because the rich kids had none of those, so we could easily compete in those areas.
We were also taught not to trust anything the government says without question. There is always an ulterior motive, usually in the realm of self-interest, so everything needs to be taken with a grain of salt. The ballooning taxes and size of government over the years made us question the government, because the end result was frequently a huge wealth transfer from poor to rich, where there were a lot more poor afterwards (no one was lifted up, while many were dragged down, without exception).
To me, conservatism means someone who wants to succeed on their own merit in the system we have, the best in the history of the world. When government is reduced as much as possible, and people are unleashed to fulfill their potential, without the interference of the government and heavy taxation to the extent possible, the American Dream (hard work can pay off and be so satisfying) can be realized, and people can actually improve their lives. Once, when I was eligible for unemployment, I made the conscious decision not to apply for it, leaving it for others. I knew I would always land on my feet and be okay enough, so why not let the funds be available for others? That is the attitude that made America a place everyone wants to be: voluntary giving and much less government taxes, which leads to much less government undue power. I have a heart, I have a conscience, I have gratitude, and I have worked hard to have an ability to achieve something that can then benefit the wider community. That is conservatism.
News2A: You are a Republican candidate for the New Jersey District 6 US Senate Seat. This is a high-visibility race for a number of reasons, including the numerous corruption charges brought against sitting Senator, Bob Menendez. New Jersey has a reputation for corruption, and you are running on an anti-corruption platform. Is this something that is resonating with constituents in both of the major political parties?
Gregg Mele: Absolutely, it resonates. The vast majority are fed up with most government officials being tempted into putting their hands in the cookie jar for decade after decade at their expense, to the point of them becoming too poor to afford the standard of living here. The problem is, no one ever oversees them effectively, and use their accumulated power and wealth to stifle both primary and general election opponents. This is why term limits are absolutely essential. If you know you are going to be in the private sector again and face the laws you write, you will write better laws. The current government demonstrates clearly that almost all career politicians get drunk on the power they have to rig the system and expand their wealth exponentially over time. They spend this wealth in part on preventing the messages of political opponents from getting to the public, so the public assumes the incumbent is somehow the best we can do, so why not leave them in office? They don’t even know other candidates who sometimes have better ideas.
The Jackson Township Conservative Republicans have endorsed me as an anti-corruption candidate. In past campaigns, I did receive my share of threats, which I ignored because I do not scare easily, and I have continually called out corruption at every turn. Some years ago, when I thought about who I would most like to defeat in an election and send packing, the first name that came to me was Robert Menendez. When he came out of his last trial (by the way, as an attorney for 21 years now, after a prior career, a mistrial is a Defendant getting off the hook by the skin of their teeth) and, instead of being contrite and thankful for our justice system working for him, he came out and made threats to those whom he supposed had set him up for having the trial to begin with. It was clear to me that he was emboldened to only get worse after that, as we now know for a fact.
News2A: How do you fight corruption and bring transparency to a State like New Jersey?
Gregg Mele: First, eliminate the line system, which exists only in New Jersey, that perpetuates the tight grip on our election system enjoyed by the corrupt. In reality, it leaves the decision of who our representatives are in the hands of a precious few.
Second, the term limits, to prevent career politicians who stop working for the People and focus solely on perpetuating their careers in government without oversight.
Third, hire prosecutors who actually prosecute in a reasonable way (like being harder on worse crimes, instead of letting the worst offenders go while crucifying the innocent or minor offenders) and eliminate no-bail. Also, incentivize victims and witnesses to come forward to prevent criminals from continuing their crimes, and encourage whistleblowers who have access to evidence of wrongdoing.
Fourth, actually make all public information publicly available and account for all resources and revenues, so that we stop having audits unable to account for obscenely large amounts of money.
News2A: You are very well-educated. You hold a law degree and hold a few other degrees as well. Your website states rather humorously, “It is safe to say that, nationwide, Gregg may well be the most educated person running for Congress this year.” You also come from humble beginnings and worked hard to get where you are. Looking back over the past few years, after being told to “trust the science” and the “experts” many Americans are jaded by credentialism. How do you bridge the gap and find common ground with the average voter?
Gregg Mele: While I did go through a lot of education, and also have the good fortune of being able to put it to good use, I have always respected everyone, and never forgotten where I came from. I was not coddled into thinking I was special. I don’t think anyone who knows me thinks I am arrogant about my education or experience, because I only wanted to build up skills in order to be useful to others, in line with my upbringing. I have a genuine concern and desire to make things better for everyone, and I have run my practice exactly that way for its entire 21 years. I have done more pro bono and reduced-rate work than not, so cost would not get in the way of people getting what they need legally. In that respect, I never made the financial living that most others in my field make, but that’s because my lifestyle has always required less wealth, so I am fine and happy where I am.
Some voters are jaded, but I believe others are not. Also, some people with credentials have surely behaved badly and lied to the public, but I believe others have held to the truth, even at great peril to themselves in some cases. I believe in voters’ ability to see through the differences. When I meet people, and they get to shake my hand and look me in the eye, almost every single one trusts me, because I have spent a lifetime with an attitude of caring for people while in a position of trust. In my practice, for example, I have always, without exception, put the interests of the clients ahead of my own. That is what we are all supposed to do in our field, but of course, some are tempted to take advantage when no one is looking. That is the integrity thing. I could not live with myself if I sacrificed someone else for my own benefit, even if I would never be caught. I find that money has never been nearly as important as being able to sleep at night with a clear conscience. I have always related to everyday people, because I came from that and have always remained that way myself, in attitude, personality, and empathy.
News2A: “Restoring Second Amendment” rights is Pillar number four of your eight-part plan. New Jersey is home to some of the most restrictive and constitutionally challenged gun laws in the country, and there seems to be no end to the anti-gun legislation being pumped out of Trenton. How will you personally put this plan in play in a meaningful way for New Jersey residents?
Gregg Mele: It has been an absolute, proven truism that stricter gun laws have led to more gun violence, and the opposite has been similarly proven with experience. One quote I remember was from former Senator Feinstein, where she said that, if a burglar comes into a home with a gun and finds an unarmed family, they will put their gun away. I may have never heard a more ridiculous statement than that. She projects a conscience onto someone who was willing to break and enter into someone else’s property and have a gun with them to threaten with. The fact is, in the hypothetical situation above, what occurs is what I call “sitting duck syndrome”. If the family is defenseless, the burglar will not hesitate to shoot the entire family, because there is no threat to them that they might die first.
The vast majority of legal gun owners are law-abiding, and will sometimes come to the aid of a situation and prevent it from becoming much worse. Every criminal is deterred by the idea that the other person might also carry a gun and use it faster. Many will choose another line of work and earn an honest living. That is why I stand for full Constitutional carry and reciprocity. It’s an expansion of the old saying, good fences make good neighbors: the idea that anyone could be a threat makes people behave themselves better. The Governor has known full-well when proposing unconstitutional gun laws that he could not win the inevitable Court cases against them, but has moved forward anyway, largely because he has cronies who get paid to defend the bogus laws with taxpayer money instead of his own, so that everyone but him wastes valuable time and money. Drafting and/or enacting these laws is equivalent to frivolous lawsuits, meaning the Governor should pay out of his own pocket when his flawed legal proposals wind up costing a lot of money and effort to eliminate. He has a fiduciary responsibility to be far more considerate of the merits of any action, relative to the impact on constituents/taxpayers, before undertaking them. If he goes ahead with clearly fiscally-irresponsible actions (only to score political points with his voters who don’t know any better), he is violating his oath, the same as employees who act outside the scope of employment, so that the cost and any penalties should be born by him as an individual.
News2A: Have you ever voted FOR any gun-control legislation, and if so, why?
Gregg Mele: No. Even in the future, where there is sometimes some horse-trading to get this done, the Constitution is clear on 2A: shall not infringe.
News2A: How does the Second Amendment go hand-in-hand with a properly functioning government that serves the interests of the People?
Gregg Mele: A defenseless populace leads to government oppression. It is the same every time throughout history: If the public is disarmed, soon after, the government starts shooting them. Contrary to AOC’s uninformed comments in the past, the people should NOT be afraid of the government, because the government are the servants, not the People. It is a similar deterrent, to what was mentioned earlier, to make sure the People are allowed to be armed. Not everyone has to be, but everyone has to be able to be. Normally, the government is far more powerful and wealthy than the People, so if you also take away the guns, there is no reason for the government to stop short of eliminating perceived or actual enemies of the State. Keeping the government in check in this way is what prevents tyranny. After that, the People can be around long enough, hopefully, to reduce government’s power and wealth.
News2A: We assume you enjoy expressing your own Second Amendment rights. Our readers would be interested in your preferences. Favorite type of shooting? Place to shoot? Firearms? Thoughts on concealed carry?
Gregg Mele: I have only had a handful of opportunities over the years to shoot, actually, for one reason or another, so, although I am on the verge of purchasing guns, I haven’t yet. I am looking forward to making time for some more occasions to shoot, so let’s do it! I applied once to make a purchase, but then never had a chance to make it happen, with so many other responsibilities I have had, but with all the crazy things going on for the last few years, I do feel a growing need to protect my family. My preference so far is range target shooting, and I enjoy the kick of automatics. I am in favor of concealed carry, with the idea that people have hopefully learned how to do so for their own safety. An allowance for it adds to the deterrent effect on bad actors I mentioned earlier. If someone knows that another person COULD be armed, then someone might well choose not to commit a mass shooting or other crime.
News2A: How can people volunteer for your campaign, donate, or otherwise get involved?
Gregg Mele: This can be found on our website: https://www.mele4america.com. We have all the ways to contact the campaign there, and buttons/instructions to donate. People can reach out with questions/comments/offers to get involved, and they can expect an answer right away. The campaign’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and the phone number is (732) 454-7020. We are mobilized across New Jersey, so I hope more people will be interested in getting involved. We have what I believe to be the only winning strategies against any of the prospective opponents, and the type of background that matches up well with them. Our team is expanding, and we are leading the charge to a better America.
News2A: Where can people follow you on social media?