Assemblyman John Wisniewski

John Wisniewski with leadership of ATBC

This post represents my personal opinion, not necessarily that of Blue Jersey.

This past Thursday, I went to a town hall where Phil Murphy spoke about his campaign to become New Jersey’s next governor. And the following day, I was at a meeting where John Wisniewski was the keynote speaker and had the opportunity to make the case for his election.

Both men would make great governors, but the comparison reinforced my feeling that Wisniewski is the better choice. Murphy came across as ambitious and a bit too polished. Wisniewski appeared genuine and his years in the legislature made it obvious that he has a much better grasp of the minutiae of politics that is needed to make progress.

To me, the signature issue of the day is the environment. Unless we address global climate change and clean air and water, everything else is moot if the planet becomes uninhabitable or unsustainable. Wisniewski hit the issue head on in his remarks while Murphy totally ignored it until I asked a question about it. That says a lot to me.

Murphy has the money, and the state Democratic establishment is falling all over itself to support him. But the primary is still over five weeks away, and I’m hoping that Wisniewski gains the support that will once again prove the pundits wrong.

Here are Wisniewski’s remarks at the monthly meeting of Action Together Burlington County:

Featured Photo: Assemblyman Wisniewski with the leadership of Action Together Burlington County

Comments (15)

  1. ken bank

    The reason progressive Democrats lose elections is that they believe issues which matter most to them are issues that matter most to the majority of voters. That’s why Aimee Belgard lost, that’s why Hillary lost. I don’t know of any poll which lists environment and climate change among the top issues of concern to most New Jersey voters. I think it’s a safe bet that Murphy will be more environment friendly than Christie, and that’s good enough for me.

    The Wiz is a thirty year career, machine politician who cynically leveraged his support for Bernie Sanders to gain access to his contact list which he is now using to soak up money from Sanders supporters and other special interests. Murphy is not only using his own money, but has donated generously to county committees which in turn will trickle down to local races.

    The county bosses did the right thing to rally around Murphy as they did and make sure that not only will Dems save millions of dollars on a divisive primary, but millions more in the general election. Those millions can be used to elect more Dems to the legislature, as well as county and local offices.

    Maybe Murphy does not get a 100% score on the Sierra Club’s litmus test of approval, but aside from that it’s clear there is very little significant difference on the issues that matter most not only to Democrats but the majority of NJ voters as well. Given the enormous benefits that Murphy brings to the Democratic Party with his ability to not only pay for his own campaign but support other Democrats as well, it seems the benefit of having Murphy as our candidate far, far outweighs whatever minor deviations he may have on some environmental issues of little concern to the vast majority of voters in this state.

    1. deciminyan (Post author)

      Assuming Murphy is a shoo-in would be a dangerous mistake. With his Goldman Sachs background, expect the GOP to issue some vicious ads aligning him with Corzine, whether it’s deserved or not. Just ask President Hillary Clinton.

      1. John Valentine

        Dont forget Murphy has 10s of millions invested off shore and his partnership with trump to build the tallest luxury hotel tower in India.

      2. ken bank

        I don’t think negative ads against Murphy will be any more effective than the ones against the current occupant of the White House.

      3. Andrea B

        100% agree. It’s going to be Corzine redux and all of a sudden we won’t understand why Kim Guadagno is governor.

    2. John Valentine

      If the enviroment isnt a major issue it needs to be. You canr do much or have healthy children if you cant drink your water or breathe the air because pf pollutants.

    3. Sandy R

      You lost right here: “The county bosses did the right thing to rally around Murphy as they did and make sure that not only will Dems save millions of dollars on a divisive primary, but millions more in the general election. Those millions can be used to elect more Dems to the legislature, as well as county and local offices.”

      The county bosses rallied around the money. They did not give a damn what their constituents thought or they might have had the decency to wait for a single freaking debate. But no, they have taken a page out of the DNC playbook and anointed Murphy as the winner.

      Murphy is nothing but Corzine 2.0. Actually he’s worse because at least Corzine HAD been elected as senator before switching to governor. Phil has got 10 million dollars to self fund because of his background with, wait, you guessed it GOLDMAN SACHS.

      As for being ambassador to Germany, I’m sure that gives him a lot of insight into Trenton.

      Trickle down theory? To elect more dems to the legislature, where they already hold the majority? Nope, more like pay them off should he be elected.

      Guadagno has been painting herself as the un-Christie for the last couple of years. You watch 2016 replay itself.

      It won’t be Debbie Wasserman Schultz this time, but 21 “bosses” who will go down with this one.

      1. ken bank

        Bosses don’t have constituents, they are elected by committee members who in turn are elected by Democratic voters in their respective districts. I was at the Ocean County convention and spoke directly with Murphy and Ray Lesniak. The Wiz and Johnson didn’t bother to show up, even though there were hundreds of grass roots activists like myself who were there, and nobody told us who to vote for. If you want to have a say in what goes on, then you have to participate at the local level and run for your municipal committee and let the Democratic voters in your district decide if they want you to represent them at your county convention.

    4. JohnJay

      I would rather vote for a GOP candidate than Phil Murphy, his public banking idea originates with anti-federal reserve conspiracy theorist Ellen Brown who established Public Banking Institute and presented the idea of the public bank to him. That organization is supporting him like crazy. Ellen Brown is a nut job who believes in all kinds of crazy conspiracies – she thinks the military caused the California drought. This idea is all her’s and she has no background in economics, she can just make good arguments, but they aren’t sound arguments. Google her.

      I am also fed up with the amount of power the county chairs have to put a favored candidate on the county line on the ballot, Murphy is just trying to buy the election, he will lose the general if he wins the primary but if he doesn’t god, we do not need Corzine part II

    5. Cleo McDowell

      Wait, did you just call Hillary a PROGRESSIVE Democrat? She is quite the antithesis of that.

  2. Lark Noelle

    Ken Bank, I’m sorry but how can you put forth that Hillary Clinton was a progressive and lost proving progressives lose? I am not going to get into this issue with you other than to say that the statement that Clinton was a progressive is false. On the issue of that Wiz puts the environment above all else, that’s also not true. The poster just said that was the most important issue to them personally and that Wiz has a strong stance on that. Wiz stands also for single payer healthcare, free public college, legalizing marijuana, lowering property taxes, I could go on…

    Murphy is by far the least likely of the democratic nominees to win the general election. I have been following this race closely. If it’s Guadagno on the republican side, she may have Christie taint but she is sharp. I heard her speak about this race. She disavowed Trump while borrowing from his campaign playbook. She talked all about lowering taxes & improving the middle class. Yes, you read that right. What she intends to do will do the opposite but she talks a good game.

    Democrats, not progressives, keep losing elections & progressives have never been more popular. Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in the country.

    & Wiz never got Sanders donor list. I know this for a fact as someone who was a Sanders donor. I had to sign up for Wiz emails. Period. That’s just a false accusation. & if you think Wiz is a machine politician, wouldn’t he have gotten at least one county endorsement? No, Murphy got them all.

    I have a friend on the Marlton committee. She said it was a done deal, no question, to endorse. The only thing they were worried about was the appearance of Murphy buying the endorsement. I’m sure it went like that in every county.

    Dems keep losing because of who their donors are & how they don’t support things that their donors won’t like. The banks, Wallstreet, the whole financial industry is so unpopular rightly so and blamed for out-of-control income inequality.

    Whether it’s Guadagno or Ciattarelli, neither have those ties to Wallstreet. I phone bank for Wiz. I talk to people at random when I’m out and about. Independents are pissed about this race. They resent Murphy, who has never held public office, being the shoe in for governor simple because he’s rich and a democratic donor. If you don’t think that’s what the republicans will say about Murphy, I don’t know what to tell you.

    Murphy may win the general but he’s a gamble. The other two candidates polling below him would be much more likely to win, particularly Wiz who is the most progressive but also headed the Bridgegate investigation so if he’s against Guadagno I can about guarantee he’s the strongest person to put against her, the most likely republican candidate.

    1. ken bank

      I’ll clarify that Hillary was not a progressive but, like Aimee Belgard, campaigned on issues that did not resonate with the majority of voters. My point was that issues like environment, women’s issues, minority issues, social issues, gun control, etc. simply don’t appeal to most voters. They don’t care. Bernie campaigned as a populist, so did Trump, and that’s why Trump won and Hillary lost (a populist candidate can be progressive or reactionary, the history of this country proves that). In fact, one of the criticisms of Bernie during the primary was that he downplayed social issues, evidenced by the fact Hillary got almost all her votes from minority districts while Bernie got most of his votes from white districts, the same ones that voted for Trump.

      While Murphy is not the ideal candidate, his platform is progressive (I love the idea of a state bank), and his ability to self-fund and free up millions of dollars to help elect Democrats to state and local offices can’t be so easily dismissed. And Murphy was not the first choice of the county bosses, who favored either Sweeney or Fulop. When they withdrew they rallied around Murphy as their second choice to unify the party.

      As to the contact list, my experience has been that such lists are made available to other campaigns, sometimes for a fee. If Wiz doesn’t have the list, I’m extremely surprised. The only explanation would be that there was some kind of tension between Wiz and the Sanders campaign, maybe Bernie himself. That would be consistent with Bernie’s refusal to endorse Wiz, raise money for him and not campaign with him. Bernie has endorsed progressive candidates in primary campaigns, why wouldn’t he do the same for Wiz unless there was maybe some bad blood between them. And Bernie’s son Levi Sanders has endorsed Murphy and campaigned with him, so what does that tell you? Do you think Levi Sanders would do that without his father’s blessing?

      Don’t get me wrong, if Wiz was running against Sweeney and Fulop I would definitely support Wiz. But that’s not happening, and all things considered Murphy is the best option.

      1. Lark Noelle

        I can’t comment about Bernie Sanders’ family, other than to say that his son, Levi, is not Bernie & I read Levi say he was not involved in politics with his dad. There is no reason to think he is the same crusader for progressive politics as his father. On the other hand, Jeff Weaver, Bernie’s campaign manager, endorsed John Wisniewski.

        I do have to say there are a couple of things I find very unmarketable about Murphy. I have to think about the general election. His lack of experience is akin to Trump. This is a rich guy who has never held publicly elected office wanting to be the highest office in the state. And he’s qualifications are being given the job of ambassador to Germany, also with no experience, & being rich.

        Many people don’t understand why Trump won. I do. People are angry & particularly at the financial sector with which the democrats have recently aligned. Either of the republican candidates is not what Murphy is – some rich guy with no experience wanting the job he is mostly qualified for being of being rich. I’m just not sure you fully appreciate how damaging the Goldman Sachs history will be.

        But, for me, Murphy is just not left enough for me. I believe in free public college for all and not saddling our kids with lifelong debt for getting an education. I believe healthcare is a right not a privilege & I like a candidate willing to run on universal healthcare in a pharmaceutical owned state like NJ. That says a lot about Wiz’s character.

        Volunteering for Wiz I have learned a lot about his character. I have seen him speak many times. I have no doubt he will win the general election once he wins this primary but people not getting behind him in the primary may cause the state to remain red in my opinion. But we can agree to disagree. I appreciate the dialogue!

  3. Marie Dvorozniak

    Lesniak and Wisniewski have been in NJ politics for decades; look at the mess this state is in. Where have they stepped up before now to lead NJ? Only when they want to be governor? As far as Wisniewski’s environmental stance, he does not support environmental regulations that would be stricter than federal law (in other words, would follow 45’s lead)and supports using state funds to clean up former contaminated industrial and commercial sites (instead of holding companies, owners responsible. Particularly concerning should pipeline, oil train spills in future need remediation.). Doesn’t sound to me as if he’s particularly concerned with what’s best for NJ residents.

    1. Lark Noelle

      Marie, I am not sure where you got the misinformation that John Wisniewski doesn’t want NJ to have more strict environmental regulations than federal law requires. That is the opposite of where he stands. I encourage you to watch the video as John Wisniewski speaks at length on the environment. With some research, you will also discover Lesniak has an extensive legislative history that is commendable on the issue of the environment. There used to be a time where public service was considered a requirement for holding higher offices but I guess now with Trump in the White house… Yeah, no, I don’t want to use Trump as a role model for anything ever so I’m going to stick with experience being a plus not a minus.

      I am not sure who you support for governor. If you are a Johnson supporter, I would point out that if you are concerned about a governor having interest primarily for NJ, my understanding is that Johnson received 40% of his initial campaign funding that qualified him for public funds from NY residents.


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