At a press conference this morning in Fort Lee Historic Park, overlooking the George Washington Bridge, five key Democratic leaders joined Senator Lautenberg, who said, “We stand here today with a simple message for Governor Christie and the Port Authority: suspend the next round of toll hikes, and stop punishing NJ commuters. They shouldn’t continue to pay the price for PA’s dysfunction. Local commuters can’t afford to be footing the bill for years of mismanagement and cost overruns by the Port Authority.” Representative Steve Rothman said, “The PA is challenged and dysfuntional and should get its own house in order before increasing tolls further.”
Before the press conference got underway there was an opportunity for me to ask for comments from attendees on various matters:
U. S. Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ)) – After thanking him for going after the “powers that be,” he said, “Maybe they are the powers that were.”
U. S. Representative Steve Rothman(D 9th) – Said he knew of no public poll coming out on the CD 9 primary race between him and Representative Bill Pascrell. He went on to add, “I imagine we are ahead, but I’m taking nothing for granted and am working seven days week. Bill (Pascrell) also has a strong work ethic.”
State Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37) – On today’s news that she has had her name on top of more bills signed into law than any other lawmaker since Christie took office, said, “It’s not how many you introduce, but how many get signed.” She was pleased with developments regarding her anti-bullying law which now has a fund of $1 million just for this year’s implementation. More important she thought was the new task force which was set up to to provide further clarity and help guide schools through the process.
State Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-38) – When asked if she has endorsed a candidate for CD 5, she said she had not. She added, “My gut reaction would be to support Teaneck Deputy Mayor Adam Gussen because of his local political experience.”
As a side note, her colleague, also in attendance, State Senator Robert Gordon (D-38) has endorsed Marine veteran Jason Castle. (It was State Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-37) who has endorsed Jason Castle.)
During the speeches Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37), feisty as ever, quoted an on-line toll group which referred to the PA as “A huge conglomerate, and you never know where the money is going.” During the Q&A period Senator Lautenberg charged, “Governor Christie receives the PA minutes and knew what was going on, but he conspired with the PA to put the toll increases into place so he could receive more PA money for his transportation projects.” When asked about Governor Christie saying that Lautenberg was an “embarrassment,” Lautenberg responded, “The Governor should look in the mirror.”