Happy Mother’s Day (Yesterday)!
Hope you moms, daughters, grandmas, aunts, and cousins heard from all your loved ones and enjoyed the sunshine and the love.
But we live in the “Big Jersey Grab State”, so it’s back to reality. We live in New Jersey. The state that cut all funds for family planning centers; the state that charges a tax on your cable TV bill earmarked for the aged and disabled and then “grabs” the money for the general fund; the state that took away $6 million for training for women and minorities cause “there were no jobs anyway”; the state where the Governor wants a tax cut while he “grabs” more from the wire tax that belongs to property tax relief for your town; the state where Affordable Houseing money paid for by builders and developers is not going to provide more affordable housing; and the state where 9000 children will not be afforded “wrap-around” day care; Of course, we’re also the state where the “lower tax” Mr. Christie let Port Authority tolls increase in huge amounts while calling them “user fees”. Oh and lest I forget – there’s a “little matter” of equal rights called “Marriage Equality”. There’s the President – and then there’s Mr. Christie!
This is also the state where “our” Governor went off to campaign for the illustrious Scott Walker. That Scott Walker who decided pay equity was not important to women; that collective bargaining was no longer to be tolerated; and money for poor women’s access to reproductive care was not important.
So even though I have two wonderful children and two adorable grandchildren and scores of extended family and friends who took the time to wish me a great Mother’s Day, I’m feeling frustrated at being a mom, a grandmom and a State Senator in New Jersey. It’s a tough environment. Not very “family friendly” these days! We work to figure out how to cut ever escalating property taxes, and can’t even find a meeting time to reach an agreement with our Democratic colleagues in the Assembly on how best to do it. No there’s a downer!
I live in a Congressional District where I’m forced to watch two good friends of “blue” New Jersey fight each other in a primary. (Note: I did endorse Steve Rothman.) I guess it could be worse! I could live in Scott Garrett’s district. My friends and neighbors in a good portion of Teaneck where I live and work were moved into Garrett’s district. Now that’s a real downer!
Then there’s the Governor’s move to “politicize the judiciary”, far more than is appropriate. His threats to re-make the Supreme Court to his liking; to refuse to nominate any judges till Senators bend to his will. I will admit that the quirky “senatorial courtesy” rules should have some more sunlight on them. But it is now more murky than ever.
Then there’s all those municipal resolutions against improving government transparency. The “officialdom” of some of our governments have joined to fight the passage of updated Open Public Records Act and Open Public Records Act that Assemblyman Gordon Johnson and I are sponsoring. Kind of disheartening. It’s finding all those reasons why they can’t do something rather than finding the reasons they can and should. Remember we are there to do the public’s business.
Transparency issues include the “For Profit Hospital Disclosure bill”, which is really pretty simple. Just asks “for profit” hospitals to file the very same disclosure forms required of “not for profits”. Why can’t we get this posted in the Assembly? We’ve all learned about the escalating move to “for profit” health care in our state. This bill would not slow that down. It is merely and only a “disclosure” bill. What could possibly be the problem? Call your Assemblymembers and ask them.
So now you know some of my frustrations and I do feel better for the sharing. However, this does not mean I’m giving up the fight! I have many good colleagues who will help us work toward making things better. But we need all of you. Talk to your representatives. Call their offices and leave message for them. And that’s my first “the day after Mother’s Day” assignment for each of you.
Hope you all had a Happy Mother’s Day.