Tavarez was born in South New Jersey, where he grew up with six other siblings in a large Hispanic family. After attending Oakcrest High School, Tavarez graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Atlantic Cape Community College and a Bachelor’s Degree from Richard Stockton University. Tavarez then graduated from the NJ Association of Chiefs of Police West Point Command & Leadership program and was certified as a Public Manager by the state. In 1986, Tavarez joined the Egg Harbor Township Police Department as a self-described “community-oriented” police officer. Three years later, Tavarez and five other officers created the EHTPAL to improve police relationships with community youth. Today, EHTPAL (now called the Police Athletics League of Egg Harbor Township and Atlantic County) continues to serve about 800 children across South New Jersey, providing a variety of services and programs (STEM camps, after-school care, laser tag, etc.) to the community. In 2011, Tavarez retired from the Egg Harbor Township Police Department as Captain, but still serves as the Executive Director of the PAL. Tavarez has been married for 32 years to his wife Denise and has three children.
Health Care & Mental Care
Tavarez is focused on quality, accessibility, and affordability regarding healthcare and mental care. He wants to implement changes to the current insurance coverage system to provide healthcare (including drug prescriptions) at an affordable price. Tavarez also believes that improving facilities and staffing them with quality clinicians is key to making quality healthcare available.
Tavarez is a firm believer in climate change as an issue important to the economy and national security. He believes that the current discussion surrounding the environment needs to focus less on an anti-business narrative of excessive regulation and more on economic incentives that can increase environmental protection.
Policing, Law Enforcement and Public Safety
With an extensive background in policing, Tavarez does not believe in defunding the police. He also does not support eliminating qualified immunity, as he believes that removing the protection from public officials and first responders will result in a “tidal wave” of lawsuits that cost billions of taxpayer dollars. Tavarez wants to provide the police with necessary resources to protect and serve the people. Tavarez intends to initiate legislation that supports funding for police agencies that promote proactive, community and problem-solving oriented policing. He also wants to create legislation that provides funding for professional hiring standards, investigations and actions against misconduct, stat-run police academies for basic training and career development, and officer body cameras. Tavarez emphasizes that the legislation will include funding to replace “bad cops” and those “not suited to the high demands of law enforcement.” He also wants to financially support and train NJ Emergency Communication Officers (ECOs), who he believes are currently underappreciated and underpaid.
Strengthening Labor Unions
Tavarez supports organized labor, and believes in supporting Labor unions to improve wage parity, economic opportunities, and working conditions.
With multiple family members and colleagues who are Veterans, Tavarez wants to work closely with veteran service organizations and ensure that Veterans have equal access to education, jobs, and first-class healthcare (including mental healthcare and rehab).
Tavarez intends to help women have access to pay equity, equal opportunity, and harassment-free environments. He believes that reproductive-rights organizations like Planned Parenthood should be funded more to support women’s access to personal healthcare.
Tavarez wants to support a strong New Jersey economy by providing more job opportunities. He intends to back farmers, improve transportation, support the William J. Hughes Technical Center and the Cape May Coast Guard Training Center, and promote/increase tourism. Additionally, Tavarez intends to support legislation that will protect and build trade schools, support Labor unions, and attract new industries (such as tech) to the area. He wants to create a South Jersey Jobs Leadership Team that will bring together community members to help create more living-wage jobs in NJ.
As a supporter of the New Jersey Education Association and the New Jersey Federation of Teachers, Tavarez believes in expanding funding for trade school/college for those serving in the armed forces. He wants to support student loan forgiveness in exchange for military/Peace Corp service, teaching in most-in-need schools, and for those entering the workforce in critical jobs that grow/protect America.
Tavarez believes in supporting reliable mail-in voting for those who cannot make it to voting booths. He wants to make Voter IDs free, reliable, and easy to access. Tavarez also strives to turn Election Day into a national, federal holiday and expand access to voting centers to minimize travel time and costs.
Tavarez is a gun owner and supporter of the 2nd Amendment. He wants to introduce legislation that will protect firearm access and rights for law-abiding citizens. He also supports requiring universal background checks and cross-checking with military databases for every gun purchase. Additionally, Tavarez believes in mandating reviews after conviction of a violent crime or psychiatric episode, increasing penalties for violent crimes, and supporting research that investigates and helps prevent violent crime. He wants to propose funding for required education/training programs for firearm safety.
Tavarez strongly believes in expanding out-of-school recreational and discovery programs like the ones that the PAL runs. He supports in/out-of-school meal programs, STEM-based education, and modern school and community centers’ construction. He also intends to support laws that prevent child abuse and mistreatment.
Tavarez believes that undocumented immigrants and secure borders need to be suported simultaneously. He wants to support a citizenship path under DACA, immigration laws that do not overburden taxpayers, and humane treatment for all immigrants.
Tavarez supports social programs that assist Americans in improving their quality of life. He intends to back free job and life skills training, child care assistance, and youth and community center financial support.
Eric Scheffler (Atlantic County Sheriff)
Lisa Jiampetti (Egg Harbor Mayor)