Today we have the “job creating” (or if you are on the opposite side) the “raising rates” deregulation of telecommunications-phone-cable bill (S2664) up for a vote in the Senate. The bill passed the Assembly easily without much comment. However, AARP weighed in to their membership along with Citizen Action (and their member groups) and the League of Municipalities to red flag the deregulation that would result in increased rates. They were so successful that our phones were on overload from seniors calling to urge me to vote “No”.
Not to be outdone, a group called “6o Plus Association” which, is actually Grover Norlquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, contacted seniors with a message: Call your Senator and tell them to vote “Yes” on S2664 to create jobs in New Jersey. Many more hundred phone calls came in from folks who generally were a bit confused about why they were calling. The robo call told them this was a “job creation” bill. When staff engaged these folks, there was no doubt that those who made the earlier AARP generally knew why they were calling. The Norquist inspired callers were a little misled. What a surprise!
I also managed to attend some meetings with a couple of lobby groups from both sides of the issue. more below
The bill has bi-partisan support and is sponsored by leadership, but, based on the intensity of the lobbying, is there a chance that there might not be 21 votes for the bill? As I write this, I’m planning to vote No because I worry about deregulation generally and certainly consumer protection in this industry is sorely needed.
The drama will play out on the Senate floor today. But however it tallies, our constituents did a job in contacting our offices to call attention to this bill!
And that’s one reason why I’m proud to be a New Jersey resident, but here’s a couple more:
Ready to Run, sponsored by the Center for American Women and Politics was held this weekend. A couple of hundred women gathered at the student center on the Douglas campus to learn the “Ins and Outs” of getting involved in politics and running for office. I participated in a panel which I have done each year since its inception. It is always an honor to spend a little time sharing experiences and insights with these enthusiastic women who spend a day and a half to learn. Also on the panel was Senator Jen Beck and Republican leaderhip friend Candace Straight. Explaining the party structure in New Jersey is no easy task.
The Center, located at Eagleton, is a national resource about everything pertaining to women in politics. We should be very proud of having it right here in New Jersey. The next time someone talks about the “Real Housewives of New Jersey”, tell them about the Real Women of New Jersey at the Center.
A Rutgers Eagleton poll conducted Feb. 24 to 26 among 912 New Jersey adults, shows our residents remain to the left of the country on abortion rights. This may be hurting our ‘pro-life’ Governor. Only one in ten believe abortion should never be an option; half believe in access to pregnancy termination with restrictions and 37 percent think women should have access with no restrictions.
Also had an opportunity this past week to speak to a terrific group of women called the “West State Street Women”. Organized by the women at Capital Impact Group, they are a group of folks who work in or around Trenton and meet over lunch. Very interesting women who asked great questions. Congratulations to all of you for supporting each other.
Battle looming over collective bargaining right here in New Jersey. The Governor has already announced that, though CWA has come to the table with offers of employees paying more for health benefits, he doesn’t like taking “Yes” for an answer and won’t negotiate this important issue. There might even be some disagreements brewing among we Dems. More next week as we see this play out.
Keep your voices heard!