Don’t mess with Loretta Weinberg. The Senate Majority Leader of the New Jersey Senate may be 79 years old, but she still knows how to throw a political punch.
– from The Forward 50, profiling the most influential Jews in America
The Jewish Daily Forward has named Loretta Weinberg one of the 50 Americans who has had the most impact on the national story. She joins Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Notorious RBG, with whom she has plenty in common), politicians Henry Waxman, Jared Polis, and Michael Bloomberg and creative artists cartoonist Roz Chast, and filmmakers Darren Aronofsky, Scarlett Johansson and Maggie Gyllenhaal among others in culture, religion, tech, food, and sports.
Her profile outlines for those who don’t know her her role in investigating the Christie administration Bridgegate scandal, and her legislative work towards greater accountability in government, including protections for whistleblowers. She describes herself to the Forward as a “feisty Jewish grandmother”. You’ve heard that one before but that’s not fully how I see her.
For me, she’s New Jersey’s progressive godmother, the California college girl who stood up for women’s rights, protested the Vietnam War, urged shoppers to boycott grapes, and started off in New Jersey politics in the most local way possible in her beloved Teaneck.
And it’s why in addition to The Jewish Daily Forward’s recognition, Loretta also was honored a few days ago – again in her beloved Teaneck – by Bergen Grassroots, with their Byron Baer award, named for her predecessor in the NJ Senate.
I remember when Senator LW was trying to restore $7.5 for women’s health and family planning centers, cut by Christie. “I can’t believe I still have to fight these same battles all over again.”
Never give up, LW. We’re very proud of you.