From Blue Jersey to John Wisniewski

When the day’s work is done at the Heldrich Hotel, Blue Jersey hopes Democratic Chair Asm John Wisniewski reads this post. It concerns a rumor, hot all day, we hope was never true. If it was, we hope progressive and grassroots outrage has shifted some members of the redistricting commission off a certain highly questionable plan.

As Jay Lassiter wrote earlier today, the hottest rumor coming out the redistricting meetings in New Brunswick is that of Senators Barbara Buono and Joe Vitale being lumped together into one legislative district while Assemblyman and Democratic State Chairman John Wisniewski is left with a new district all to himself, from which he may ascend to the Senate.  If true, this represents the worst kind of backroom treachery – rather than upholding the interests of the Democrats he’s charged to represent, he’s using the redistricting process to serve his own ambitions.

It’s no secret that Senator Buono hasn’t made many fans among the powers that be of late, on either side of the aisle.  She’s consistently stood up to Governor Christie’s assault on working families, no matter what position her Democratic colleagues have taken.  But ironically, it’s Buono’s willingness – as both a progressive and a woman – to stand up to the power brokers that leads us to support her as vigorously as we do.  And, we fear, it’s this same fighting spirit that’s put her political career in the crosshairs.

The same is true, it should be said, of Senator Vitale.  A solid progressive and a health care champion, Vitale was the architect of the NJ FamilyCare expansion that guaranteed universal access to quality health care to all New Jerseyans.  He’s spent his career in the Senate quietly, but steadfastly, working on behalf of children and working families.  As he pointed out, it’s ironic that two dedicated progressive public servants be threatened by insider political machinations in the name of assisting those they’ve both done so much to help.

It’s likely that whatever the map-makers in the bowels of the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick ultimately decide will stand as our next legislative map.  But by no means do we here at Blue Jersey have to accept it.  Our chief interests have always been progressive policy and honest governance.  This move flies in the face of both of those tenets.  That it is allegedly being perpetrated by the Chairman of the Democratic State Committee for his own political gain is a slap in the face of each and every progressive activist who has dedicated their time, effort, and hard-earned money to the Democratic Party.  

We respectfully but firmly ask Chairman Wisniewski to denounce this planned assault on two of our state legislature’s brightest progressive lights.  If he does not, he will have lost the faith of all of us at Blue Jersey, if not all of us in the Democratic Party.

From Blue Jersey to John Wisniewski

When the day’s work is done at the Heldrich Hotel, Blue Jersey hopes Democratic Chair Asm John Wisniewski will read this post. It concerns a rumor, hot all day, that we hope was never true. If it was, we hope rumors of progressive and grassroots base outrage that must even have been heard inside the Heldrich Hotel has shifted some members of the redistricting commission off a certain disreputable plan.  

As Jay Lassiter wrote earlier today, the hottest rumor coming out the redistricting meetings in New Brunswick is that of Senators Barbara Buono and Joe Vitale being lumped together into one legislative district while Assemblyman and Democratic State Chairman John Wisniewski is left with a new district all to himself, from which he may ascend to the Senate.  If true, this represents the worst kind of backroom treachery – rather than upholding the interests of the Democrats he’s charged to represent, he’s using the redistricting process to serve his own ambitions.

It’s no secret that Senator Buono hasn’t made many fans among the powers that be of late, on either side of the aisle.  She’s consistently stood up to Governor Christie’s assault on working families, no matter what position her Democratic colleagues have taken.  But ironically, it’s Buono’s willingness – as both a progressive and a woman – to stand up to the power brokers that leads us to support her as vigorously as we do.  And, we fear, it’s this same fighting spirit that’s put her political career in the crosshairs.

The same is true, it should be said, of Senator Vitale.  A solid progressive and a health care champion, Vitale was the architect of the NJ FamilyCare expansion that guaranteed universal access to quality health care to all New Jerseyans.  He’s spent his career in the Senate quietly, but steadfastly, working on behalf of children and working families.  As he pointed out, it’s ironic that two dedicated progressive public servants be threatened by insider political machinations in the name of assisting those they’ve both done so much to help.

It’s likely that whatever the map-makers in the bowels of the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick ultimately decide will stand as our next legislative map.  But by no means do we here at Blue Jersey have to accept it.  Our chief interests have always been progressive policy and honest governance.  This move flies in the face of both of those tenets.  That it is allegedly being perpetrated by the Chairman of the Democratic State Committee for his own political gain is a slap in the face of each and every progressive activist who has dedicated their time, effort, and hard-earned money to the Democratic Party.  

We respectfully but firmly ask Chairman Wisniewski to denounce this planned assault on two of our state legislature’s brightest progressive lights.  If he does not, he will have lost the faith of all of us at Blue Jersey, if not all of us in the Democratic Party.

Comments (7)

  1. toaonua

    ’nuff said.

    Oh, and Sen. Buono ROCKS for having a backbone and the will to stand up for what she believes in – something lacking from many others in both parties of late.

    Reply
  2. Jeremy F

    It has been a long time since I commented, but the question of redistricting seems to stir up everyone’s passions. At a time when our Governor and his allies have attacked labor, women, environmentalists, and just about every other group in NJ (although he did protect millionaires from having to pay their fair share), we NEED progressives in the State Senate. Majority Leader Buono and Senator Vitale have been some of the leaders who make that progressive voice heard (another of course being the ever exceptional Loretta Weinberg.)

    Being a Democrat also means standing up for our Democratic principles, and Senators Buono and Vitale have done so time and time again. I sincerely hope that their paths to reelection will not be made more difficult by redistricting. We need their leadership now more than ever before.

    Reply
  3. Senator Loretta Weinberg

    Are always ready to stand up for the important things!  From everything I heard (and read) Dem Commissioners  will not support a map that puts Buono and Vitale in the same district. Being ever-vigilant never hurts.

    Reply
  4. Jersey Jazzman

    http://jerseyjazzman.blogspot.com/2011/03/self-dealing-nj-dems.html

    Cross-posted at Jersey Jazzman. Curious if others feel about this as I do.

    I’m a music teacher, not a political strategist, but I think I’m dead right on this: the best chance Democrats have to beat Christie badly is to run a smart, articulate, progressive woman against him.

    Christie is a bully; like all bullies, he is also, at heart, a coward. So was Rick Lazio, and Clinton cleaned his clock. Lazio didn’t know how to deal with a strong, smart woman; neither, I guarantee, will Christie.

    And when I look out at the NJ political landscape, I really see only two possibilities: Linda Stender and Barbara Buono. And, while I like Stender enormously, I think Buono’s got the better shot. (Yes, I also think Loretta Weinberg is great)

    Is this sexist of me in a weird way? Yeah, maybe. I’m not saying a man couldn’t beat Christie, and I’m not saying there aren’t men who would be great governors. I just think mobilizing women is the way to beat this guy, and running a woman is a great way to do that.

    So, Chairman W, if you care about the future of your party, don’t cut the legs out from under one of your best possibilities for beating your greatest nemesis.

    Reply
  5. Jan Bidwell

    Every time I have attended an event advocating for children these two Senators have been there, along with Senator (or Assemblywoman at the time) Weinberg.   They have stood up for all the issues named, but please know they are tireless advocates for children…and we have few of those.

    I don’t think Rosenthal will allow these incumbents to go against each other to the benefit of someone in the room.  I hope I’m right.

    Reply
  6. Bertin Lefkovic

    …that I told you so, but I told you so.  Actually, that is not entirely true.  I completely underestimated the brazen hubris of John Wisniewski, who I have consistently given the benefit of the doubt since he ascended to the NJDSC’s chairmanship, because he was an early supporter of Howard Dean’s, but if this rumor becomes reality, that ship will have clearly sailed.

    However, this situation is a direct result of the progressive community’s failure to organize itself with a laser-like focus on the 2011 legislative elections in general and the redistricting process in particular.

    When Steve Sweeney and Sheila Oliver stole the legislative leadership in 2009, I said that we should start organizing.

    When the Senate, including 9 Democrats, voted against marriage equality, I said that we should start organizing.

    When the members of the legislative redistricting commission were named, I said that we should start organizing.

    When Democrats were delivering votes for a Republican budget, I said that we should start organizing.

    When it became clear that the 11th member was a hoax and commissioners were just running out the clock to prevent insurgencies from having enough time to organize, I said that we should start organizing.

    How many times do we have to be disappointed by our Democratic leaders before we start becoming proactive instead of reactive with our vision for what Democratic Party politics and policymaking should look like?

    Blue Jersey is a fantastic blog, but it is still just a blog.  It provides the progressive community with a voice, but without a coherent and cohesive vision and the will to organize around it, that voice will only be heard, but never listened to.

    Reply

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