Allen foe says their ideas are far apart Carole Lokan Moore, running to unseat the senator, says Republicans are meant to be conservative - and she is.

Posted: May 19, 2003

This is the first of two articles looking at the candidates in the Republican primary for the Seventh District state Senate seat.

Carole Lokan Moore and State Sen. Diane Allen both live in the small riverfront town of Edgewater Park, but they are worlds apart when it comes to political ideology, says Moore, who is challenging Allen in next month's Seventh District primary.

"Republicans are supposed to be conservative," said Moore, a retired biology teacher and a firearms instructor who operates a bed-and-breakfast. "I am, and she's not."

Allen, 55, has made a name as the legislature's most prolific bill writer.

Moore, 57, believes that government is too meddlesome, making needless laws, and that more effort should be put into enforcing the criminal code instead of plea-bargaining.

"I know we have more people per capita than any other state, and we have to have a lot of laws, but there are too many of them," Moore said. "I vow not to write any more laws until the ones we have are upheld."

Allen has said that her job is to represent constituents, and that proposing bills to fix problems and improve lives is part of it. She won reelection in 2001 by touting herself as one of the busiest legislators in Trenton.

Moore said most New Jersey legislators were not concerned about constituents. Instead, she said, they become obsessed with staying in office and lose their sense of purpose.

"Politicians say what gets them reelected," she said. "It doesn't matter how they really feel. People know that I mean what I say."

Her opponent is also outspoken, especially in support of issues such as abortion rights and gun control. Those stands have won Allen support in the Seventh District, where Democrats hold both Assembly seats. Diane Gabriel of Cinnaminson is running unopposed for the Democratic Senate nomination.

The district covers Burlington County's river towns and the Camden County towns of Merchantville and Pennsauken, a Democratic stronghold.

Moore said her lack of political experience allowed her to present herself as someone untainted by the political process.

She has stayed busy since retiring from the Willingboro school system 11 years ago, helping to found groups such as the New Jersey Landlord Association, the South Jersey Bed and Breakfast Association, the Home for Wayward Animals, the Riverfront Historical Society, and the committee that organizes Civil War Remembrance Day at Beverly National Cemetery.

She grew up in Willingboro on her family's farm, attending township schools before heading to Burlington County College and then Glassboro State College, now Rowan University.

Her twin daughters, 31, are teachers in Willingboro.

Years ago Moore and her husband, William, also a retired teacher, began buying properties to restore during summer breaks.

They live at the Whitebriar Bed & Breakfast and own two other long-term-lodging houses nearby, along with seven other properties in area towns.

"All my life I have worked. I have never sat idle, and I don't now," Moore said. "I clean toilets, I scrub floors, I make beds, and I love it."

She also teaches people how to shoot rifles, shotguns and pistols at a Delran range. She does not hunt, but her husband does. This year, for the first time, she took a deer he killed and butchered it - on the dining room table.

"It took about eight hours. My daughter said I was nuts," she said. "It was very exciting for me, having been a biology teacher. I made venison chili. I've always been hands-on."

Moore said that, if elected, she would serve without a salary as long as the state had trouble balancing its budget. The state could further save money by cutting welfare benefits, she said.

Acquiring and managing properties has prepared her to be a legislator, Moore said.

"I know what it is like to scrape and save. I know the value of a buck," she said. "The people in Trenton do not."

She becomes angry when talking about state budget increases in recent years, from $16.8 billion in 1997 - the year Allen was elected to the Senate - to the current $23.4 billion.

Taxes are still the most important issue to voters, Moore said. "People are moving out of the state because they can't afford to live here," she said.

In a letter sent to Moore asking her to abandon the primary challenge, county GOP chairman Glenn Paulsen said Allen had a solid record on taxes, voting for reductions more than 30 times.

This is Moore's second primary challenge. In 2000, she ran for the Assembly against the party's endorsed ticket as a member of gubernatorial candidate Bret Schundler's slate.

Most area Republicans do not view Moore as a party regular, said Chris Russell, executive director of the Burlington County Republican Committee.

"We need to conserve our resources to run against the Democrats. Sure, there are different kinds of Republicans, but most of them try to solve their differences instead of take each other out," he said.

Burlington County has more than 423,000 registered voters. About 135,000 of them are unaffiliated, and the rest split between Republicans and Democrats.

Contact staff writer Joel Bewley at 609-261-0900 or jbewley@phillynews.com.

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