promoted by Rosi
A long long time ago I was an Eagleton intern in what was then the NJ Assembly Democratic MINORITY Office. One of my key tasks was to monitor the ocean dumping ban and beach closure legislation championed by then State Senator Frank Pallone at a time medical waste was constantly washing up on New Jersey’s beaches.
I did all the things that good interns do; read the text of the bills, talked to experts at the state and federal levels, to scientists, advocates, industry and lobbyists, monitored the press and attended hearings that Pallone held. And I came away singularly impressed with the way Pallone was able to talk with and build consensus with both Republican allies of the bill and Democratic opponents of the bill, because let’s face reality, state-level Democrats in New Jersey haven’t always been friendly to environmental legislation.
Regardless, Pallone was able to build consensus and faced very little Democratic opposition later that year when Congressman Jim Howard died and his seat became open.
After being elected to congress, Pallone easily moved what was then state legislation to the federal level. Bans on ocean dumping, water quality testing and the development of federal guidelines for beach closures became a matter of law and EPA regulations due to Frank Pallone’s advocacy and legislation.
That ability to move legislation and federal agencies on behalf of concerns about environmental and human health and quality of life has been a hallmark of Frank Pallone’s legislative career at both the state and federal levels.
Years later when a group of local neighbors and concerned citizens began organizing around preservation of open space adjoining Wreck Pond in coastal Monmouth County, Frank Pallone and his staff provided advice and connections to federal agencies despite the fact that most of our communities and most of the watershed in question lay just outside his district. That land is now permanently preserved.
Pallone is not a rocket scientist nor a celebrity, what he is, is, a hard worker who gets things done that matter for middle class and working class New Jersey folk, whether it’s protecting and improving the environment or championing healthcare reform and mental health parity.
One night right after Sandy hit last year, Congressman Pallone walked into our community warming station/micro shelter close to 9:00pm, alone, with no entourage, and not even an aide or driver in sight. His coat was wet, he looked as exhausted as we all felt, and he saw the camera as we walked down the hall with NBC, the American Red Cross and a Sandy survivor. We were arranging a package shoot for the Red Cross and NBC at our community warming station. Pallone ignored the camera, said a couple of quick hellos to people nearby and ducked into an office for a briefing with our emergency management team and elected officials. On his way out, Pallone talked to a few more folks eating dinner or charging their cell phones, walked past the package shoot and back out into the night.
That connection to community and ground-level knowledge of our local communities is what New Jersey needs in the U.S. Senate as we wrestle with climate change, rising sea levels, energy transitions, toxics in the environment and healthcare costs that continue to spiral out of control.
Like Frank Lautenberg, Frank Pallone knows the people and towns of New Jersey intimately and combines that local knowledge with an encyclopedic knowledge of public policy and political mechanics that benefit people’s everyday lives.
As the late, great, Paul Wellstone used to say, “Politics is about the improvement of people’s Lives!” Frank Pallone’s legislative career has embodied that spirit at both the state and federal levels. That’s why I’m supporting Frank Pallone for Senate.