With Friends Like These…

Promoted by Rosi. Above, Ralph Johnson in action, coaching kids. 

Since 2013, I have run with and served on the Piscataway Board of Education alongside Ralph Johnson.  Ralph is a tremendous public servant and one of the most generous people I have ever known.  He gives selflessly of his time to his community, including as a volunteer coach in multiple sports. This past spring, it was my honor to run together with Ralph, and Heather M. Fenyk, for the NJ Legislature in the Democratic Primary on a progressive platform for social, economic and political justice as part of the Central Jersey Progressive Democrats.  Last month, Ralph was told by the municipal government recreation department, in a town run by the local Democrats, that his volunteer services as a Pop Warner football coach were no longer needed.   Whether he is on the field with them or not, Ralph told his Mighty Mites he will always be their coach.  (See his letter here).

It is really unfortunate the Piscataway Democratic Organization and local Party leaders view participation in the Democratic Primary process as an attack, and have no interest in opening a dialogue with the Progressive wing of the Party. It is even worse that they punished kids by denying them the opportunity to learn from and be coached by someone as talented and dedicated as Ralph.  It is clear that there are real differences of opinion within the Democratic Party regarding the Party’s  legislative priorities and future direction. These differences should be resolved through the democratic process. As demonstrated in the 2016 general election, the Democratic Party ignores and excludes the voices of a significant part of its base at its peril. However, while Democrats at the national and state level are calling for unity, the local machine in Piscataway is choosing the path of division and petty political retaliation.

Comment (1)

  1. Sue Altman

    This sounds all-too-familiar. There are folks in South Jersey who have confided in me that they won’t risk posting in our local Progressive Women’s FB group for fear of retribution.

    The Democratic Party has their hand stuck in the cookie jar with a fist full of cookies. They gotta let go a little bit. The Party in NJ, the Party nationally– really really needs some new blood and new ideas, and authentic grassroots talent. We don’t want to destroy everything! We want to make it better!!!!!


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