Fighting for the Future of Democracy and the Democratic Party: Nearly 100 Progressives Dems File Petitions in June 6 Middlesex County Primary

Bill is running for NJ State Senate (LD17) as a progressive Democrat. The names of all the progressive candidates – including for Democratic County Committee – are listed below. Promoted by Rosi.

I am honored to be among the candidates who have filed petitions for every level of office in the upcoming Democratic Primary across Middlesex County.  Many of us who have worked together locally, especially in Piscataway, began talking about how we could best stand up for democracy and our collective future under a Trump Administration.  We listened to what the leaders of the Democratic Party said, and didn’t say, in the days after the election.  One candidate directly called on Progressive Democrats to run for local office to make the party more responsive to the needs of working families, students and seniors, and to make our Party belong to all of us, and not just to millionaires and billionaires. We heeded the advice of Sen. Bernie Sanders, and began organizing folks to run for County Committee.  The response was overwhelming; each meeting required a larger meeting space than the one before it. A dozen people became an organization, and, in short order, connected with other progressive organizations; we have become a movement.

People who have never run for office, or been involved in politics before, have come out to stand up for their principles.  In our area, and especially in the Piscataway community in which I have been honored to serve as the President of the Board of Education, our neighbors are looking for leaders who will stand up for working people and fight for our democracy.  Our local party has failed to show up in this critical time for our country and community.  They have done virtually nothing to fight the Trump agenda. Too few places in Middlesex County are sanctuary communities in response to the outrageous immigration policy of the Trump Administration (not Piscataway, which is the 7th most diverse place in NJ), only a few of our local elected officials fought to preserve the Affordable Care Act, not enough have stood up for the rights of transgender students and others under attack. They are silent when the situation demands they be vocal.  There are great examples from a few communities in Middlesex County, and around our state, of local elected officials showing up at Resistance rallies and Town Halls, and encouraging the Democratic Party members and allies to do the same.  But not around here…

At the same time, they have worked with Gov. Chris Christie at the expense of the rest of us. Neither Sen. Bob Smith nor Assemblyman Joe Egan publicly opposed the proposal to change the law let Christie get a book deal so he could earn more money while in office.  They also acquiesced on the Transportation Trust Fund deal, which raised the gas tax for working people at the same time they cut the estate tax for 4% of NJ’s wealthiest families. How many Middlesex County residents got a break on their estate tax? Virtually none. They didn’t fight to make the TTF deal better for the overwhelming majority of their constituents; they just went along in Trenton with business as usual, cutting taxes for the most well-off at the expense poor, working, and middle-class New Jersey residents.

Everyone but them seems to understand that now is not the time for business as usual.

By April 3, we filed nearly 100 petitions from Progressive Democrats running for County Committee, as well as for Middlesex County Freeholder and Senate and Assembly representing LD-17 in the June 6 primary.  Running together as the Central Jersey Progressive Democrats (CJPD), the progressive challenge to “business as usual within the Democratic Party” has brought new activists and new members into the Party. The vast majority of these candidates are running for County Committee. In addition to representing the constituents of their Wards and Districts, and volunteering for turnout and get-out-the-vote efforts for their respective parties, County Committee members also decide which candidates get their party’s endorsements.  This process has brought new members to the Party already, and, when elected, our Committee members will engage in Party-building activities that will help ensure Middlesex does not go for a Republican in a statewide election again, as it did in both the 2009 and 2013 gubernatorial election.

I am proud to be running with Heather Fenyk of New Brunswick and Ralph E. Johnson of Piscataway, who are challenging for Assembly seats, and with Catherine Hunt of Monroe and Atif Nazir, of Piscataway, who are running for the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders.  They represent the diversity of our community and the best of our Party. They are principled public servants and dedicated activists.

The energy in the party right now is in its progressive base. The path forward for the Democratic Party is the one where we embrace an agenda of social, political, and economic justice that speaks to the needs of working- and middle-class people.

We need leaders who will fight for corporate tax reform, pay equity, and against global climate change on the state level, and support federal efforts to do the same.  We need leaders who will work to secure full funding for the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA).  We need Freeholders who will stand up for diversity, inclusion, opportunity and hope at every turn.

In the face of a Trump administration, we believe our leaders must be courageous and uncompromising.  In the coming days, we will have more information about ways to get involved in this grassroots campaign to make the Democratic Party stand up and fight for economic, political and social justice. The future, and the political revolution, is up to us.

Here’s who’s running. Note, some Democratic County Committee candidates running as write-in candidates:

Middlesex County Freeholder
Atif Nazir
Catherine Hunt
State Senate LD-17
William J. Irwin
State Assembly LD-17
Heather M. Fenyk
Ralph E. Johnson
County Committee – Piscataway
Municipality/Ward/District Candidate (F) Candidate (M)
Piscataway, Ward 1, District 1 Roshanna Malone Carlos Yunque Rodriguez
Piscataway, Ward 1, District 2 Samuel E Glenn
Piscataway, Ward 1, District 3 Aretha R Martin
Piscataway, Ward 1, District 4 Victoria R Garbett-Scrimmager
Piscataway, Ward 1, District 5 Laura Tarbous Herbert Tarbous
Piscataway, Ward 1, District 7 Jacqueline Littlejohn Abdul-Basit Haqq
Piscataway, Ward 1, District 8 Sharyn Garden
Piscataway, Ward 1, District 9 Cindra Hatcher Peter Cipparulo
Piscataway, Ward 2, District 1 Karen Polanski Jonathan Powers
Piscataway, Ward 2, District 2 Dr. Tom Connors
Piscataway, Ward 2, District 3 Sarah Khalid Rashid Sheth C Suhas
Piscataway, Ward 2, District 5 Hind Mohamed Mohamed Hasan
Piscataway, Ward 2, District 7 Shantell M Cherry  Tarek Warraky
Piscataway, Ward 2, District 8 Gina Louis-Ferdinand George Louis- Ferdinand
Piscataway, Ward 2, District 9 Fatima Ali Syed Rubeel Zaidi
Piscataway, Ward 2, District 10 Naseema Majid Sohail (“Shawn”) Butt
Piscataway, Ward 3, District 1 Virginia K Caputo Anthony Weil
Piscataway, Ward 3, District 2 Kamuela N Tillman Daniel R Epstein
Piscataway, Ward 3, District 3 Judy L. Payne Frank R Frohlich
Piscataway, Ward 3, District 4 Durdana Haque
Piscataway, Ward 3, District 5 Susan D Lopez Isaac Peng
Piscataway, Ward 3, District 6 Neeharika Thuravil
Piscataway, Ward 3, District 7 Jessica Walker Perry D Stio
Piscataway, Ward 3, District 8 Azma Khan Mahamed Kahn
Piscataway, Ward 3, District 9 Charisse Burdett Peter Schweinsberg
Piscataway, Ward 3, District 10 Laura J Leibowitz
Piscataway, Ward 4, District 1 Rachael Paulbek Richard DuBois
Piscataway, Ward 4, District 2 Samantha Vreeland Ronald S. Mathis
Piscataway, Ward 4, District 4 Thomas Lisankie
Piscataway, Ward 4, District 5 Quiyana R  Butler
Piscataway, Ward 4, District 6 Shawn LaCourt
Piscataway, Ward 4, District 7 Zubaida Malik Zaka Malik
Piscataway, Ward 4, District 8 Daniel M. Rodrigues
Piscataway, Ward 4, District 9 Mohammad A Raqeeb
Piscataway, Ward 4, District 10 Kedra Gamble William J Pastras
County Committee – New Brunswick
Municipality/Ward/District Candidate (F) Candidate (M)
New Brunswick, Ward 1, District 1 Jasmine Lee Sam Romero
New Brunswick, Ward 1, District 3 Heather Fenyk Kevin Dolan
New Brunswick, Ward 1, District 5 Ann Gordon
New Brunswick, Ward 2, District 1 Megan Shook (write-in) Charles Kratovil (write-in)
New Brunswick, Ward 2, District 3 April Rastaetter Andrew Beal
New Brunswick, Ward 2, District 7 Amy Suznovich Jad Kaado
New Brunswick, Ward 4, District 1 Susan Sureman Fred Austin
New Brunswick, Ward 4, District 3 Marbel Rivera
New Brunswick, Ward 5, District 4 Amanda Schmidt Daniel Coghlan
New Brunswick, Ward 6, District 1 Nancy Q. Wang
New Brunswick, Ward 6, District 2 Lauren Magnusson Meet Patel
New Brunswick, Ward 6, District 3 Deven Parmer Govindji (write-in)
New Brunswick, Ward 6, District 4 Ariel P. Davies (write-in)
County Committee – Woodbridge
Municipality/Ward/District Candidate (F) Candidate (M)
Woodbridge, Ward 3, District 1 Adeel Ahmed
County Committee – South Brunswick
Municipality/Ward/District Candidate (F) Candidate (M)
South Brunswick, Ward 18 Kedar Venkatatamani
County Committee – Metuchen
Municipality/Ward/District Candidate (F) Candidate (M)
Metuchen, 3 Christopher B. Roberts
County Committee -North Brunswick
Municipality/Ward/District Candidate (F) Candidate (M)
North Brunswick,  6 Daniel Chulak
County Committee – Plainsboro
Municipality/Ward/District Candidate (F)
Plainsboro, 9 Lauren Skowronski


Comments (3)

  1. Basheer

    Hello, How do I run for County Committee? I am a Piscataway resident.
    Is it too late as the election is on 6/6.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Herb Tarbous

      Hi Basheer, the petition filing deadline was in April but you can still run a write-in campaign. Go to to determine in which election ward/district you reside.

    2. Bill Irwin

      Hey Basheer! The filing deadline to be on the ballot was April 3, but there are opportunities to run as a write-in with the Central Jersey Progressive Democrats. Can you send us an email with your contact info at, so we can follow up? There are lots of ways to get involved, for this election, and future ones (city council seats are up in 2018, committee seats will be up again in 2019, and so on). Thanks!


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