For The New Jersey Family.
Twas a good convention. I was moved by speeches given by Chair John Wisniewski, our Senator Frank Lautenberg and most notably the one passionately delivered by Speaker Sheila Oliver. The theme of all was: remember why we’re Democrats, and go back to the grass roots who share our values. Young people, candidates, vendors and many interesting folk in attendance. The breakout sessions were informative, and meeting other Dems was most satisfying. Made some great connections with other women throughout the state who want to help with the womens’ access to health care issue. Also enjoyed meeting some of the very famous Blue Jersey bloggers in person. They were all over the convention. Rosi, with her trusty computer, kept all of you up to date in real time.
But why do some in our ranks continue to try to plant negative stories with the press? Not designed to help anyone!
Along with the Women’s Political Caucus, we hosted the Women’s Health Roundtable in Trenton this past week. Very well attended and representatives of the various groups including nurses and other health professionals, womens’ organizations, and providers were outspoken in describing what the cuts to these health programs mean for women and their families. Thanks to Jay Lassiter for being there with his camera. I did describe the Governor as having initiated a “war on women”. Mike Drewniak, Gov’s press secretary, responded with: ‘that’s over the top – everyone knows Chris Christie is a loving husband and devoted father to two daughters’. I would assume that’s very true, and would only add: And they have very good health insurance and access to health care! more below…
That very same morning I was at the Primary Care Association brunch to receive an award along with colleagues Diane Allen and Linda Stender and others in the field. It was the start of National Women’s Health Week, and there was much eye rolling upon the receipt of the Governor’s proclamation in honor of that occasion. Both Assemblywoman Stender and I remembered the phrase, “Well behaved women rarely make history” Our remarks were frank and honest about the status of women’s health under this Governor!
We have more plans to keep the spotlight on this issue and will inform Blue Jersey readers as soon as they are finalized.
With the leadership of Senator Joe Vitale, I also joined in a press conference in Trenton questioning the Governor’s planned draconian cuts to our Family Care insurance program for working poor folks. He wants to freeze enrollment preventing any “new” parents from accessing the program. He’s talking about making the income guidelines 25% pf the federal poverty level. How immoral and stupidly uneconomical. Parents frozen out usually end up in Emergency Rooms along with their children!
Sit down before reading further. Some shocking news is followning. Since he was elected, Christie has authorized $822 million in tax credits to 69 corporations. Panasonic received $102 million in urban transit hub tax to move from Secaucus to Newark. Can someone explain that ‘investment’ to me? Oh I almost forgot the $200 million promised to “America’s Dream” which is now a developer’s dream! And we can’t find $1million (which would generate $9 million in federal dollars) to expand medicaid coverage for poor women?
Combine this with his veto of the “more than millionaires” tax, and we are beginning to talk about real money here. Do I have to paint a picture of what’s happening under this Governor? People are getting wise. His poll numbers in NJ are tanking.
Tomorrow, Senate Health & Human Services Committee along with the Assembly Human Services Committe are heading to Vineland for a hearing on the administration’s plan to close the Developmental Center. Of course, people who are able and wish to should be in the community! But what about the existing 8000 person waiting list for community placement? Do we have the infrastructure for appropriate oversight? Lots of questions and let’s see if we can get any answers.
Legislative Correspondents dinner is also tomorrow in the evening. It’s the press making fun of the electeds. Am looking forward (with a little trepidation) to a few laughs even if they’re at my own expense.
And so another full week drew to a close and another one begins. Stay involved.
Keep your voices heard!