Why I am Supporting Frank Pallone for U.S. Senate

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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.

Comments (8)

  1. carolh

    statewide caucus of the folks who supported Howard Dean after he dropped out of the race.  

    Pallone gave a very impassioned speech about how things were in Congress when the Republicans in the majority.  He explained why it was crucial to get involved. I never forgot what he had to say.

    If he wins against Booker, I too will be ecstatic.  As a water resources engineer I appreciate his protecting our coastline and beaches and whenever there was an important discussion, he never hesitated to jump in and speak on our behalf.

    I only wish Holt and Pallone could team up somehow, to defeat Booker who is the most insincere and cowardly politician I have ever met.

    The only consolation is that we will still have an incredible representative in the House no matter what happens.  

  2. proud2Bliberal

    Why did none of the candidates discuss Medicare last night?  Sen. Edward Kennedy wrote that 20% of the cost of Medicare results from diabetes.  It is not necessary to make cuts in Medicare.  It is only necessary to cut the consumption of sugar and high glycemic index foods.  The main issue for the Boomers is Medicare, but no one even mentioned it.  

  3. proud2Bliberal

    I also wish that Holt and Pallone could work out a deal and one of them defer to the other.  I wish Pallone had run against Christie and let Holt run against Pallone, but it’s too late now.

  4. PNolkan

    Here is a survey done by Save Our Schools NJ. Pallone was the most direct in his answers. Booker apparently didn’t even respond as you can see in the survey. Here is the link.


  5. Erik Preuss

    I think the best way for Holt and Pallone to “work together” would be to organize some kind of straw poll. Since they are both campaigning as the “progressive” candidate, they should try to organize a poll that features voting from several liberal groups. Whichever candidate loses should drop out.

    I know the above scenario is a pipe dream, but if they are concerned about getting a progressive politician in the senate, it makes the most sense.  


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