The Silence of the Statehouse Lamb: Why did Kim Guadagno skip out on a black issues forum?

UPDATE: Since we posted this today, I’ve been told by two people familiar with the planning that both Kim Guadagno and Phil Murphy did not attend a second September opportunity to talk with voters about racism, a program called A Gubernatorial Forum on Racial Justice, held in Newark September 16. I’m told both campaigns were invited well in advance, and offered alternative times for the event in case the date offered was not possible. I’m told neither campaign said if they’d be there, and neither candidate came. For Guadagno, this makes two similar opportunities to discuss issues important to black people, in two minority-majority cities. But I’ve seen Murphy reach out to all kinds of constituencies for 3 years, long before he declared to run. I’ll reach out Wednesday and see what they may have to say. – Rosi

Veteran political operative Derel Stroud was to be independent gubernatorial candidate Gina Genovese’s LG running mate. Racist threats left outside his home in July as he was about to file caused him to hesitate, but his decision to go ahead pushed him past the deadline and his papers were not accepted. He supports Genovese for Governor. Promoted by Rosi.

As we lead up to the first gubernatorial debate tonight, Republican nominee Kim Guadagno continues to demonstrate her inability to serve as an effective governor, let alone any other position charged with public interaction or advocacy. Much like the last 8 years, the Lieutenant Governor continues to be silent on the issues that affect African-American communities throughout the state of New Jersey. This past month,Guadagno – the only elected official running – was the only candidate absent from the gubernatorial forum at the 35th Annual NJ Black Issues Conference in Trenton.

Crawling distance: Tenth of a mile from LG temporary offices at 33 W. State St. to Masonic Temple. Fuel cost to drive: $.01

The forum, held at the Trenton Masonic Temple on Barrack St., was within crawling distance from Ms. Guadagno’s office. It’s such a shame that she simply ignored the event, and refused to make time for something as important as discussing issues important to black people. While the forum was going on, as the other 3 candidates answered tough questions and discussed issues critical to our communities and our children, Guadagno’s campaign was busy tweeting and Facebooking, taking shots at Murphy’s tax proposals. Without once referencing the black issues forum she was skipping.

What did they talk about at the forum? Criminal justice reform, school segregation, equality & equity, economic opportunity.

More than 230 hours later, Guadagno’s campaign has yet to respond as to why they confirmed, then ignored the event. We shall assume they are too busy attacking the “front-runner, ” and dismissing every opportunity to discuss the issues. However, in a recent Facebook livestream at the Asbury Park Press, Guadagno said, “I’m not for legalizing marijuana, I’m not supporting drug dealers.” Perhaps we shouldn’t expect much from Kim on issues important to the black community, given she doesn’t even understand the difference between decriminalization, (which she claims to support, or not support, considering said policy would in fact make it easier for drug dealers to distribute marijuana), and legalization.

“She won’t answer. Fortunately, she won’t be our Governor, either.”  
–  Eric E. Jones, President, Plainfield Education Association.

Discussing black issues: Sen. Ronald Rice at the podium, with Gina Genovese, Seth Kaper-Dale and Phil Murphy

It’s time that we start calling things for what they are, and calling people out for who they are. Kim’s continued silence on her absence from the NJ Black Issues Conference shows and tells us everything we need to know. Let’s just hope her campaign spends some time writing a concession speech, and gathering her opponent(s)’ cell phone numbers. Election night should end pretty quickly for the Guadagno camp, as voters will REJECT the political rhetoric, and corrupt culture of Monmouth County’s former Sheriff. Another story for another day…


“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.”
 –  John C. Maxwell 

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