Author Archive: Joshua Henne

Gov. Christie to hold first Town Hall in Fort Lee – in the shadow of the GWB

promoted by Rosi

This afternoon, Governor Chris Christie will hold his 117th Town Hall meeting in Fort Lee.

“Just like every other town hall we’ve held this year, Fort Lee is a municipality I carried last November,” said Christie. “I look forward to meeting with local residents and answering what’s on their mind. Frankly, folks don’t care about unimportant things like closing access lanes to the George Washington Bridge. If for some reason they do care, they can just read the completely comprehensive, impartial, thorough report on the matter released last week.”

“……,” said Michael Drewniak, Christie Spokesman. “……..”

Tomorrow #UnfriendChristie

promoted by Rosi, who doesn’t much Like Mark Zuckerberg right now.

By now you might have heard that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is hosting a high-dollar fundraiser for Governor Chris Christie in California in a few weeks.

So, its up to all of us in New Jersey – who know the real Chris Christie – to show Zuckerberg exactly who he is aligning with. Tomorrow, let’s spread the word about Christie’s real record by tweeting some thoughts and facts under the hashtag #UnfriendChristie.

Like we all did holding Chrsitie’s feet to the fire during his RNC speech by getting the hashtag #ChristieFacts to trend, let’s try and really get the word out there tomorrow, as well.  It’s up to us.

We must speak up loudly about how Christie has turned his back on the middle-class and working families, while unemployment hovers around 10% and New Jersey residents suffered a gigantic net jump in property taxes since Christie took office – at one point reaching 20%. In case you need some info on Christie, please check out our “Christie By-The-Numbers” page, and an old New Jersey Report Card ,as well as some of our recent press releases and op-eds.

Tell Mark Zuckerberg to #UnfriendChristie:

Does Zuckerberg “like” stopping people from marrying the ones they love?

*Christie is the sole reason that NJ does not have marriage equality.  He vetoed it…and has pledged to veto it again every time it comes across his desk

Does Zuckerberg “like” stopping people from earning a living wage?

*Just this week, Christie vetoed a bill that would have increased NJ’s minimum wage $1.25 to $8.50…instead saying he wants to bump it up a measly 25 cents.

Does Zuckerberg “like” vetoing women’s health funding?

*Christie vetoed women’s health funding…Four times.

Does Zuckerberg “like” having the Koch Brothers call the shots?

*Christie spoke at the Koch Bros secret confab in Colorado

Does Zuckerberg “like” that Christie fundraised & campaigned for Right-Wing Congressmembers who voted against Sandy aid?

*Just this Fall, Christie campaigned for Steve King, Susan Brooks, Ann Wagner, Tom Latham and V.P. candidate Paul Ryan….all of whom just voted against Sandy aid for New Jersey.

Does Zuckerberg “like” sticking his head in the sand on climate change?

*Christie pulled New Jersey out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative…and allowed corporate polluters to rewrite the rules governing them.

Does Zuckerberg “like” failing on jobs?

*Under Christie, New Jersey has chronically trailed the rest of America when it comes to jobs…with unemployment hovering at 10%

Does Zuckerberg “like” stopping middle-class families from affording college?

*Tuition at New Jersey Colleges and universities spiked under Christie…while Christie cut funding for low-income students.

Does Zuckerberg “like” 1% priorities?

*Christie turned his back on New Jersey’s middle-class & working families…while giving handouts to casino moguls, bailouts to mall developers and calling for borrowing money the state doesn’t have to subsidize a tax cut for multi-millionaires.

There’s no better way for this to spread virally than to take to twitter and make your point under the hashtag #UnfriendChristie. Heck, do a few tweets – because there are more than enough facts to open Zuckerberg’s eyes to.

Now, I always thought Myspace was branded as the right-wing social networking site after Rupert Murdoch purchased it, but now Facebook, too?  Guess we better keep our eye on Friendster next.

Then again, perhaps Zuckerberg only knows about Christie from his carefully cultivated national image. But as noted above, the truth is that Christie’s out-of-the mainstream ideals and policies fly in the face of the narrative he’s conjured up via his manufactured youtube moments, softball network interviews and puff piece packages on the national news.  Let’s show the world the truth about Christie’s record of misplaced priorities and failures.

Does Zuckerberg Support Christie’s New Jersey Record of Misplaced Priorities & Failures:

NJ’s unemployment hovers at 10% – and has consistently trailed the rest of America for the entirety of Christie’s reign

• NJ was just named the Number One state people are moving out of

• Yahoo Financial ranked NJ among the 5 worst-run states in America

• NJ’s state economy ranks 47th

• NJ residents suffered a gigantic net jump in property taxes since Christie took office – at one point reaching 20%.

• NJ’s business climate slipped to 41st

• As rates nationally have fallen to their lowest levels since 2008, NJ now has the 2nd highest percentage of mortgage loans in foreclosure in the nation

• NJ commuters are dealing with higher train tickets, bus fares & tolls

• 55% of NJ highways are in poor or mediocre condition.

• 35% of NJ bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete

Tomorrow, let’s keep up the fight for middle-class families in New Jersey…and throughout the country….by showing Mark Zuckerberg who he’s raising money for.  #UnFriendChristie

State of State: Hold Christie Accountable

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Tomorrow TODAY at 2 p.m. Governor Chris Christie is set to deliver his State of the State Address.   I’m going to be live-tweeting it at @JoshuaHenne. And I hope some of you will join in on holding him accountable, as well.  Maybe we can even brush off the hashtag #ChristieFacts in the process.

In interviews leading up to the speech, Christie has made it clear he’ll be focusing on Superstorm Sandy in the address.  Now, there is no doubt this is important to not only the families and businesses hurt by the storm, but to everyone in New Jersey. Especially in light of GOP-controlled Congress playing political games with the relief funds. (The same Tea Party Speaker Boehner caved to is the one Christie fundraised and campaigned for just a few months prior, but that’s a whole other story).  But, we can’t let Christie skate by and simply focus on Sandy…and leave out everything else.

Christie didn’t wake up the morning after the storm hit and magically become governor that day. There is a 3-year record of failing New Jersey’s middle-class, families, women, students, teachers, cities, cops, firefighters, environmentalists, small business, etc, etc. The list goes on and on.

In 2009, candidate Chris Christie said we must hold a governor accountable. The same holds true today. Governor Christie runs a remarkable public relations machine and does a tremendous job bending the narrative in his favor, while simply ignoring the facts that don’t fit his polished story. However, the State of the State is about reality – not fiction.

To hear Christie talk these days, one would think his first day as Governor started the morning after Superstorm Sandy reached New Jersey’s shores. However, the dark clouds of Christie’s policies have been hovering over our state for a full three years. The people of New Jersey are strong and resilient, but our state has been neglected and is in a worse state of disrepair due to Christie.

Everyone agrees Superstorm Sandy was a hard hit for our state and devastated many families and businesses. But it is both unfortunate and cynical for Christie to use the devastating storm as a smokescreen to obfuscate his anemic record failures and misplaced priorities.  The people of New Jersey are strong and resilient. But our state has been neglected and is in a worse state of disrepair due to Christie. And the governor should have to answer for his full record that has consistently hurt New Jersey’s middle-class.

The same problems New Jersey faced before Superstorm Sandy are still facing our state. So, here are some of the facts that Governor Christie hopes you’ll forget. Because New Jersey has these issues – that predate Sandy and still matter:



• Unemployment is still hovering around 10%

• Since Governor Chris Christie took office, New Jersey has consistently trailed the rest of the nation when it comes to jobs…and still does.

• Under Christie, New Jersey reached the largest gulf between state and national unemployment averages since Jimmy Carter was president

• New Jersey residents suffered a gigantic net jump in property taxes since Christie took office – at one point reaching 20%

• New Jersey’s ranks as the 46th worst-run state in America.

• New Jersey’s state economy ranks 47th

• New Jersey’s business climate slipped to 41st

• As rates nationally have fallen to the lowest levels since 2008. New Jersey now has the 2nd highest percentage of mortgage loans in foreclosure in the nation.

• Commuters are dealing with higher train tickets, bus fares and tolls

• Schools in disrepair

• Higher tuition at public universities and colleges, while aid is cut

• 55% of New Jersey highways are in poor or mediocre condition

• 35% of New Jersey bridges are structurally deficient of functionally obsolete

• Christie claimed a mythical “Jersey Comeback” and based his budget on rosy revenue projections that were far from coming true well before Superstorm Sandy

• There is one stat in which Christie has New Jersey leading the nation. We just slipped to become the number one state that people are moving out of

I know everyone here at Blue Jersey knows the real Christie record.  So, let’s be sure to hold his feet to the fire. Let’s remind our neighbors, the press and pundits that Christie can’t hide from his 3-year record of failure and misplaced priorities.  Let’s hold Christie accountable today and throughout 2013.

TODAY & TONIGHT: Candlelight Vigils for Middle-Class Tax Relief

promoted by Rosi

Below you can find the locations for the vigils taking place at GOP congressmen’s offices TODAY from 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM.

You can RSVP online at http://find.theaction.org/  

If you have any questions or need a ride, please email Peter Travers at pdtravers@gmail.com

The clock is ticking. It’s time for us all to let New Jersey’s Congressional Delegation know we need them to do the right thing and let the Bush Tax Cuts expire for the wealthiest 2%.

Today – there will be candlelight vigils taking place outside Congressional Offices throughout New Jersey imploring Republican representatives to let the Bush Tax Cuts expire for the top 2%. They’re being organized by our friends at CWA District 1, BlueWave NJ, New Jersey Citizen Action, GrassRoots4Change and Organizing for America.  But, anyone is free to participate in telling Congress to protect New Jersey’s middle-class by letting the Bush Tax Cuts lapse on top income-earners.

There are a whole bunch of reasons why this is the correct course of action.

I laid out a few of my thoughts last week in an op-ed for the Times of Trenton.


Letting the Bush Tax Cuts expire for the richest 2% would make good on the voters’ loud call for fairness at the polls last month. It would help take care of half the money needed to steer America clear of the “fiscal cliff”.  97% of small businesses and 98% of Americans would continue receiving the exact same tax relief.  Moreover, economists have proven tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are the least effective way to grow the economy.

December 1st Day of Action: End The Bush Tax Cuts for Top 2% #TheActionNJ

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Join your fellow progressives in New Jersey (and across the country) for a Day of Action this Saturday, December 1st.

In 2008, we had an historic election. From coast-to-coast, he energy and enthusiasm to turn the page on 8 long years of George W. Bush taking our nation backwards was truly palpable.  Everyone was fired up and ready to go.

Barack Obama won, and folks were still fired up after the polls closed.  In the weeks between Election Day and the Inauguration they were still ready to go…but they weren’t sure where to go.  People were asking “what’s next?” However, there was no real way to direct energies in the short-term.

Now, its 2012. And after Election Day, folks are again asking “What’s next?” Well, this time, there’s an answer. There’s a simple way for us to focus on something we all agree on:  The President needs our help to make sure Congress sends him a bill to sign that extends tax cuts for 98% of Americans, while letting the Bush Tax Cuts expire on the wealthiest 2%.



This Saturday, December 1st, a whole bunch of us are taking part in a Day of Action – both online and off. Not just here in New Jersey, but throughout the country. But, I hope you’ll step up to help our state lead the pack.

Online…please pitch in with doing a tweet or two this Saturday to be part of our New Jersey action. It’s really easy. It takes only 30 seconds and 140 characters or less to tweet a line or two saying that (or why) you support letting the Bush Tax Cuts lapse on the top 2%. Just be sure to use the hashtag: #TheActionNJ in the tweet.

It could be as simple as a statement as to why you think letting these cuts expire is important – for our middle-class families, for all small businesses, for our future, for the sake of vital federal programs, to help fix the fiscal cliff predicament, etc.

Or if you want to say something about how Congressman Runyan (@RepJonRunyan) or LoBiondo (@RepLoBiondo) or Lance (@RepLanceNJ7) or Smith should do the right thing, that’d be fine, too. But the most important thing to remember is to use the hashtag #TheActionNJ this Saturday.

Offline…if you want to get off the couch and meet up in person to take part in this action, you can also join us at 4 activist trainings across spread across the state this Saturday.   Here are the details on these Activist Information & Training Sessions:

1). Toms River: Branch OC Library, 101 Washington Street (1:30 pm – 3:30 pm)

2). Montclair: Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 67 Church Street (11 am – 12:30 pm)

3). Willingboro: Senior Center, 429 John F. Kennedy Way (11 am-12:30 pm)

4). Pleasantville: Christ Worship Worldwide Church, 249 W. Bayview Avenue (10 am – 2 pm)

Please come learn about what the “fiscal cliff” is (and what it is not), as well as how it will affect the vital programs we care about. Join us to learn how the issues facing Congress this lame duck session affect our families, our businesses and our communities.  Not to mention how we can mobilize our neighbors. And we can brainstorm ideas how to show our Congress members how important it is to let the Bush Tax Cuts lapse for the 2% income earners.

At its core, this election was all about fairness. And Congress should heed the will of the people by letting the Bush Tax. Check out www.TheAction.org for some more information, and be sure to follow @JoinTheAction on twitter, as well.

This upcoming fight will set the stage not only for President Obama’s second term, but also for our fiscal stability for years to come. And the President needs our help to win it.

Real quick, here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re tweeting on Saturday (or just to keep in mind, in general):

a).  Obama would sign legislation right now extending tax cuts for 98% of Americans

b). Congress should not hold the middle-class hostage just to keep the system rigged for the top 2%

c). 97% of small business owners would not be affected by letting the Bush Tax Cuts expire on the wealthiest 2%

d). The top 2% would still receive their tax cut on the first $250,000

e). Tax cuts to the wealthiest 2% doesn’t have the same positive effect on our economy as tax cuts for middle-class families

f). Congress should listen to the voters, not Grover Norquist

I hope to see a whole bunch of the Blue Jersey family on Twitter this Saturday, posting and re-tweeting with reckless abandon. Even if some New Jersey Republicans do not change their stance by doing the right thing and support the President’s plan, the pressure we put on them will be felt by GOP leadership. This can only serve to strengthen the President’s hand in negotiations. We also need to make sure our New Jersey Democrats support President Obama by letting the Bush Tax Cuts expire on the wealthiest 2%. We should let them know that we stand up for them – and alongside them – when they do the right thing, too.  

See you on Twitter this Saturday! (And remember to tag it with #TheActionNJ)

Women Benefit From ObamaCare Over Binders

In last night’s debate, President Obama made it crystal clear that standing up for women is one of his top priorities. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney told the nation he had “binders full of women.”

Wait a second…I can order a binder full of women? And flexible women at that? Of all ages? Do they charge shipping & handling, Mitt?

Fortunately, Barack Obama has done much more for women than simply list them in a binder – particularly when it comes to making their lives better through the Affordable Care Act.

Thanks to ObamaCare, more than 20 million women received preventive services, such as mammograms and cervical cancer screenings, without a co-pay. Because of the Affordable Care Act, Americans joining a new health plan or Medicare beneficiaries can receive recommended preventive services – such as, mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, and prenatal tests – without a co-pay, deductible or any other out-of-pocket expenses. In 2011, 20.4 million women between 18 and 64 took advantage of this new provision of the health care law. These 20 million women would lose this care if the law were repealed or rolled back-as Romney advocates. [ The Hill, 2/15/12, ThinkProgress, 2/10/12]

Thanks to ObamaCare, insurance companies will no longer be able to charge women up to 150 times more than men. The Affordable Care Act ends unconscionable insurance company practices against women. That means insurers will no longer be able to use Caesarean sections or domestic violence as pre-existing conditions to deny women health care, and will no longer be able to drop women’s coverage if they get sick. [Healthcare.gov, What the Health Law Means for Women, 2/18/11; McClatchy, 10/4/09] Millions of women would lose this protection if the law were repealed or rolled back.

Thanks to ObamaCare, women will have access to essential health benefits such as maternity care.  The Affordable Care Act gives women more security over their health care. Under the law, all new health plans will be required to offer essential benefits for women such as maternity care, newborn care and prescription drug benefits. According to the National Women Law Center, only 13 percent of health plans in the individual market include maternity care. Millions of women would lose this important benefit if the law were repealed or rolled back.  [National Women’s Law Center, October 2009]

Thanks to ObamaCare, women have access to contraception without co-pays. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance must cover contraception without any out-of-pocket costs – protecting the health of all women while accommodating religious organizations. Up to 47 million women may be benefit from this important provision that puts healthcare decisions in the hands of women and their doctors. Millions of women would lose this important access to care if the law were repealed or rolled back. [National Women’s Law Center, 2/11/12]

Thanks to ObamaCare, women will no longer have to worry about lifetime limits on healthcare. The Affordable Care Act bans insurance companies from being able to put lifetime caps on health care. It also restricts annual limits and will ban them entirely in 2014. This means women will be able to get the care they need when they need it most. Millions of women would be left to the whim of insurance companies if the law were repealed or rolled back. [Healthcare.gov, What the Health Law Means for Women, 2/18/11]

 

VP debate: Romney-Ryan Plan Healthcare Facts

With tonight’s Vice-Presidential debate a few hours away, I just wanted to share a few friendly reminders about the  Romney/Ryan plan…and how it will harm healthcare here in New Jersey & throughout the country.

A lot of this is already well known…but, frankly, we don’t know if the real Paul Ryan is going to show up tonight. And if Ryan tries to pull a Romney by outright lying to hide his extreme policies….well…Don’t forget these 4 simple things:

1). Romney/Ryan Would End Medicare – There is no debate over this, it’s a fact. Romney/Ryan would end how Medicare has successfully worked for decades and would replace it with a privatized voucher.  Romney admitted this, twice at the last debate.

2). Romney/Ryan Would Hurt CURRENT Seniors – By repealing ObamaCare they would hurt CURRENT seniors by throwing them back into the Rx drug donut hole and taking away their free preventative care.

3). Romney/Ryan Would Hurt EVERYONE – By repealing ObamaCare small businesses would lose their tax breaks, your children would be thrown off your insurance and everyone would be back at the mercy of insurance companies and pre-existing conditions.

4).  Romney/Ryan Think They’re Better Than You – ObamaCare makes Congressmen – like Paul Ryan who’s been getting government insurance for years – choose from the same health care plans as the rest of us.  By repealing ObamaCare they can go back to having you pay for their coverage at the same time they’re taking it away from you.

#ChristieFacts – Yeah…We Built That

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As much as Governor Christie’s keynote was deemed a failure by those on both sides of the aisle, by any metric, the hashtag #ChristieFacts was a rousing success Tuesday night.

When we started the hashtag right before Governor Christie’s speech, we were hoping folks would chime in to hold the governor accountable.  We knew the facts were on our side, but we still wondered if people would join the conversation. Well, I have to say I was pretty amazed at both the content created and the sheer number of people who contributed and retweeted. While Christie’s aggressive speech was vague and unfocused while ignoring his failures –  we were able to shine a light on the real record here in New Jersey.

From what I’ve heard, there were nearly 2 million impressions on the hashtag and well over 1500 tweets generated. I’m not a numbers guy, but that sounds pretty good. And I’m pretty certain those stats are only for a portion of the time the conversation was going on.  Also, more than one person told me they saw the hashtag trending “for a hot minute” (their words, not mine)

It got me thinking: It’s a shame we cant do this more often. Then, I realized there’s no reason we can’t. #ChristieFacts is something that has legs. It doesn’t need to end. It can be evergreen. Its shelf life is not over. (I can think of a few more clichés, but you get the point.)  

So long as Christie keeps lying and hurting New Jersey’s middle-class, we should keep spreading the word and continue holding Christie to account using #ChristieFacts this Fall:

*Whenever Christie goes across the country stumping for right-wing, knuckle-dragging, union-busting candidates.

*Whenever Christie claims a “Jersey Comeback” as the state continues lagging the rest of America when it comes to jobs and unemployment

*Whenever Christie tries to run roughshod over a legislator or calls a public servant a nasty name when he’s dared to be challenged.

*Whenever Christie packs his taxpayer-funded townhalls with ditto-heads who nod along to his lies and spin.

*Or just whenever the spirit moves you to continue holding Christie’s feet to the fire.

I’ve continued to pepper in a few #ChristieFacts tweets this week at @JoshuaHenne. I’ve seen a few others have, as well. And I hope some more of you will join in, too. In the days and weeks and months (but hopefully not years) ahead…

As always, you can check out the One New Jersey website if you’re ever lacking looking for some info to highlight or back-up the your spotlight on Christie’s “Jersey Comeback” fantasy.  The real facts are grisly, and we need to let people know the truth.

Finally, I just wanted to thank everyone who pitched in Tuesday night. There are far too many to mention by name, but – at the risk leaving someone out –  I especially wanted to highlight a few elected officials who put their handle on the line.  

Assemblyman Lou Greenwald (@LouGreenwald) really stepped up as the lone state legislator who joined in at #ChristieFacts. And I think that really says something.  Also, Essex Freeholder Brendan Gill (@BrendanWGill) and Haledon Mayor Domenick Stampone (@DomStampone) added a great deal to the conversation. We had activists, labor friends, progressives, municipal chairs and legislative staffers all throwing in their two cents, as well as people who simply saw the hashtag and decided to add their voice to the movement.

And, of course, everyone here at Blue Jersey who participated – you were the ones really driving this conversation towards the truth…where it belongs.

The hashtag #ChristieFacts.  Yeah. We Built That.

Tune in 10:30 pm for #ChristieFacts

Tonight, Governor Chris Christie will step onto the national stage at 10:30 pm sharp to deliver the keynote address at the GOP convention down in Tampa Bay.

This evening, Christie will be right at home when he looks out into the audience. He’s already quite comfortable speaking in front of rooms packed with fawning allies during his taxpayer-funded townhall meetings here in New Jersey.  

So, it’s up to all of us to tell the true story about how Christie’s vaunted “Jersey Comeback” is a an absolute lie.  

The whole country will be watching. And I hope you’ll be watching, too. Because the Blue Jersey community knows more than most anyone just how dangerous Christie’s regressive policies have been.  We’ve seen him since the beginning. In fact, we’ve seen him before he burst onto the national scene, first meeting Christie when he was just a Bush Pioneer fundraiser who bought his position in Dubya’s administration.

It’s our job to hold him accountable.

Let’s Help Our Friend Paul Aronsohn!

Non-partisan municipal elections are just a couple of weeks away, and I just wanted to make sure everyone knows that our friend Paul Aronsohn is running for Council in Ridgewood.  

Many of you got to meet Paul when he ran for Congress against Scott Garrett in 2006.  The 5th district is a very tough place for Dems to make headway but Paul ran a classy race and a spirited campaign that brought a whole lot of new folks to the process and a whole batch of passionate supporters and a whole bunch of votes to the polls.  Paul also brought some really great ideas and issues to the table, and I was sincerely hoping he would run again for the seat again this year.  So when he first told me he was running for Council in Ridgewood I was ecstatic.

I know that one of Paul’s favorite parts of running for Congress was when he got to talk with real people on the campaign trail and talk about ways to make life better. And that is exactly the same thing he is doing in running for Council.  He will fight to make life better in Ridgewood and make government more responsive – by maintaining open space, better funding first-responders, ensuring traffic safety and making sure parking is kept available for commuters using NJ Transit to get to work.

Like I said, this is a non-partisan race. And Election Day is Tuesday, May 13th.  So, please check out www.paularonsohn.com to see some of the issues Paul is talking about and some of the things that matter to Ridgewood.

We all know how turnout can be unpredictable, to say the least, in local elections without up-ballot candidates.   So, I hope Paul can count on some of you in this important election – be it by giving a small financial contribution, offering to call friends who live in Ridgewood or even volunteering your time on Election Day for GOTV.  

I love Blue Jersey and the discussions we have on this site. But sometimes we need to step away from the keyboards and help in other ways – especially when one of our friends is the actual name on the ballot.  And I really hope this is one of those times.  We need more people like Paul Aronsohn in government – be it Congress or Town Council.

So, if you want pitch in you can just email Paul@PaulAronsohn.com.  I didn’t tell Paul I was putting up this diary, but I’m sure he won’t mind me putting his email out there.

I admit that I am biased here.  Paul Aronsohn has been my friend for several years – ever since I worked for him in the Governor’s Office.  He is a stand-up guy and a rare person who is running for office far all the right reasons – to help others and to make a difference.  He has a solid command of the issues and will really do a great job for his neighbors and all the families around town.

Paul will be a new voice for Ridgewood – a voice of experience, a voice of reason and a voice of passion. He will bring a whole lot of energy, too.  

I hope you can help Paul in this important endeavor!