Today’s “82nd Annual Walk to Washington,” for attendees from northern New Jersey started at Newark’s Penn Station where they were greeted by our progressive activists sisters and brothers.
The Event really IS a walk to Washington. Lobbyists, publicists, would-be candidates, those who want to burnish their image, and others seeking favors or support trudge endlessly from one train car to another. They work their way through crowded aisles. And some may be worn out when the train finally arrives at Washington’s Union Station. The taxi ride to the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel provides a brief respite.
Members of The Coalition to Restore Democracy were present at the station. They are committed to eliminating anti-democratic policies and practices through public information, legislation and advocacy. Helen Duda, South Jersey Women for Progressive Change, made the point that our elections in New Jersey are not democratic because we have the primary party ballot line. “Our leaders should make sure we have a true democratic process.”
For those leaving from Newark, boarding the train was preceded by an 8:00 AM breakfast at the Newark Hilton Hotel hosted by Verizon, one of many seeking favors and paying well to get them. Later this evening there will be reception and congressional dinner followed by a “Dessert Extravaganza” hosted by Cumberland County.
On Friday at 8:00 AM there will be a Breakfast & Reporters Roundtable hosted by Michael Aron (NJTV). Then the fun and business are over as they board a train, with less walking, back to New Jersey.
Saily Avelenda, Executive Director of NJ 11 for Change, had a succinct take on the Walk: “This is how the powerful stay powerful.” She lamented that we don’t hold our political leaders to a higher ethical standard. She cited Joe DiVincenzo’s (Essex County) junket to Puerto Rico, accompanied by a board member of the New Jersey EDA which provides tax breaks to corporations. “That’s a problem,” she said.
After 82 years the Walk is still a thing – a tradition that has a life its own. The event is sponsored by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, which of course vigorously promotes the interests of commerce. If you want to know more about what the chamber does here is its website.
Preview foto: Helen Duda (South Jersey Women for Progressive Change), David Pringle, and Eric Benson.