Author Archive: Mark Alexander

“We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good”

Promoted by Rosi. We invite Senator Gill to reply.

Cross-Posted at VoteMarkAlexander.com



This was Senator Nia Gill’s excuse to explain her support for the watered-down gun control legislation introduced by Senator Steve Sweeney. We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. It is baffling to me that Senator Gill could even utter those words in front of the families of Newtown victims. That’s Senator Gill’s excuse for not pushing forward a bill limiting the size of ammunition magazines yesterday.

All elected officials must stand by a simple pledge: when it comes to protecting our children, we must put politics aside.

Senator Gill once again let politics dictate her actions, leaving New Jersey families out in the cold. How can a Democratic Majority in the State Senate, coupled with a nationwide demand for stricter gun control, not result in legislation that provides comfort, safety and peace of mind to families? Senator Gill’s inability to get the magazine limit even posted for a vote demonstrates her failed leadership.

It further highlights our need for new representation in Trenton.

Senator Gill’s failure to act for tougher guns laws is further illuminated by a look behind the scenes. Senator Sweeney, who makes the ultimate decision on what bills are posted, has steered over $30,000 in campaign contributions to Senator Gill. Even though Senator Gill at first supported the ammunition capacity limit bill (which passed the Assembly), she abandoned it in favor of Senator Sweeney’s wishes, selling out not only her principles, but New Jersey families as well.

We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

This is transactional politics at its worst.

Protecting our environment on Earth Day

Protecting our environment, combatting climate change, and adopting sensible sustainability measures need to be priorities of our State Legislature. Hurricane Sandy demonstrated the consequences of inaction on these important issues. As a member of the New Jersey State Senate, I would push for common sense policies that protect our environment and make New Jersey more eco-friendly. Additionally, I would advocate strongly for New Jersey to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and for a carbon tax that could provide a funding stream for mass transit projects in our State.

Cleaning up the Passaic River

The Passaic River is one of the most polluted waterways in the country. The watershed is in the most densely populated area in New Jersey – serving 3 million people. We need to protect and bring the Passaic River back to life. Dredging projects must continue throughout the entire 17 miles of the Lower Passaic River and Newark Bay. Currently, only the lower 8 miles of the Lower Passaic River are slated for dredging, leaving the upper 9 miles of the river that flows through Clifton without a cleaner and more usable Lower Passaic River. Dredging would significantly improve water quality and ensure that contaminants will not create problems for future generations.

Earth Credits

These tax credits would incentivize sustainable and eco-friendly practices, and move construction and building codes towards sustainability. New Jersey gives millions in subsidies and corporate welfare to companies that pollute our environment. It is now the time to spend a little less to those who destroy, and give more to those who protect.

On Earth Day, we need to start a conversation about ways to protect our planet and quality of life. Sustainable practices can create jobs, improve our communities, and protecting our Earth for generations to come.

Protecting our environment on Earth Day

promoted by Rosi

Protecting our environment, combatting climate change, and adopting sensible sustainability measures need to be priorities of our State Legislature. Hurricane Sandy demonstrated the consequences of inaction on these important issues. As a member of the New Jersey State Senate, I would push for common sense policies that protect our environment and make New Jersey more eco-friendly. Additionally, I would advocate strongly for New Jersey to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and for a carbon tax that could provide a funding stream for mass transit projects in our State.

Cleaning up the Passaic River

The Passaic River is one of the most polluted waterways in the country. The watershed is in the most densely populated area in New Jersey – serving 3 million people. We need to protect and bring the Passaic River back to life. Dredging projects must continue throughout the entire 17 miles of the Lower Passaic River and Newark Bay. Currently, only the lower 8 miles of the Lower Passaic River are slated for dredging, leaving the upper 9 miles of the river that flows through Clifton without a cleaner and more usable Lower Passaic River. Dredging would significantly improve water quality and ensure that contaminants will not create problems for future generations.

Earth Credits

These tax credits would incentivize sustainable and eco-friendly practices, and move construction and building codes towards sustainability. New Jersey gives millions in subsidies and corporate welfare to companies that pollute our environment. It is now the time to spend a little less to those who destroy, and give more to those who protect.

On Earth Day, we need to start a conversation about ways to protect our planet and quality of life. Sustainable practices can create jobs, improve our communities, and protecting our Earth for generations to come.

Public education in New Jersey

The life of this post, I think, is in the comments and reactions to it, respectfully moreso than in the post. What do you think, Blue Jersey? Promoted by Rosi

Cross-Posted at VoteMarkAlexander.com

As a teacher with four children in the public schools, strengthening our schools to provide a quality education for all our children is important to me on a very personal level. In order for New Jersey to be competitive, we need strong public schools in all corners of our State.

Education is the silver bullet to so many societal ills.

My campaign for the New Jersey State Senate has attracted parents and educators who also share a commitment to our schools. Last week, Bishop Dr. Reginald T. Jackson endorsed my campaign stating: “As an educator himself and Policy Director to President Obama, I know Mark can lead the way in Trenton on education reform and so many other important issues being debated in Trenton.” And in countless meetings throughout the district – at train stations, supermarkets and while knocking on doors, one refrain is constant: parents want New Jersey schools to be the best they can be.

Education is the pathway.

When people started to speculate that Bishop Jackson’s endorsement of my campaign was all about school vouchers, it was the ugly side of politics shining through. Bishop Jackson has been an inspirational leader for all in New Jersey for decades. He is supporting me over Senator Gill because he knows we need new, independent leadership in Trenton. We need independent leadership in Trenton that will abandon the current practice of saying “No” to any new idea, and adopt as Bishop Jackson so wisely says an approach to education that is “by any means necessary” to achieve improvement.

In too many schools in the 34th District and across New Jersey students are testing below median averages in areas of language and math. There is a disturbing trend of a racial achievement gap manifesting itself. The time has come for new ideas and new energy so we can lift every school up and place them on the right track. A quality education should not be dependent on your zip code or income level.

We can do better. And we must do better.

That was my promise to Bishop Jackson: that I will work with him to make our inner city schools better. I cannot sit idly by while too many continue to fail. I will work with the New Jersey Education Association and other stakeholders to ensure that everyone has a seat at the table, that every voice is heard, and that we reach a consensus that makes our schools better for our children. The time has come to change the status quo and to ensure that a quality education in our public schools is universal across our district. The first step on that journey comes by voting for new leadership in Trenton.

An issues-based campaign

Mark Alexander challenges Nia Gill to a series of debates. Promoted by Rosi.

Cross-posted at VoteMarkAlexander.com

I always believed in the power of normal people to make positive change through the political process. I know that our government can be a powerful force to help the most vulnerable among us, to lift up our children with quality educations, and to provide an engine that can create jobs and drive our economy. When I launched my campaign last July, I wanted to empower people, just as we did when I helped build the Obama campaign. From the ground up, one person at a time, one door at a time, one vote at a time. My campaign is about the working families in Clifton, East Orange, Montclair, and Orange.

As we come into the final two months of this campaign, I want to talk about issues that matter to me as a Democrat, and bring independent leadership to the 34th District. What families across the district don’t need is to witness another campaign where the issues that matter are pushed aside, and replaced with baseless, personal attacks that serve only to distract voters. From my days working with Senator Bradley, I always championed developing an electoral system that promoted ideas, empowered individuals, and gave the voting public the information necessary to participate in our democracy

As National Policy Director to Senator Barack Obama, I helped prepare him for twenty six debates over the course of the 2008 primaries. These debates helped voters across the country learn about the issues that mattered to our country, created a more informed electorate, and drove up turnout and excitement. It was an important exercise in democracy, and I am glad that our campaign participated in every one. We need an open dialogue on the issues that matter.

We can do that right here in the 34th District.

Every day, I am talking to normal folks at the train stations, supermarkets, and at their front doors. I am not naive to how political campaigns work, I know things are going to get heated in these last 60 days. As we get closer to Election Day, I know the pressure will ratchet up, and tensions will run high. But in the end, we must let the people decide who they want to represent them in Trenton.

With that spirit in mind, today I am asking Senator Gill to join me in a series of debates across Clifton, East Orange, Montclair, and Orange. Several organizations, including the NAACP and The League of Women Voters, already reached out to my campaign about hosting candidate forums and debates. I hope Senator Gill will join me for a total of twelve debates, three in each community, so we can give the voters in our district an accurate picture of where we stand on the issues, and why one of us should be in the State Senate come 2014.

Let’s not make this campaign about negative attacks. Let’s make it about our own vision for the future of New Jersey and the Democratic Party. I hope to work with Senator Gill’s campaign and begin the process of setting up these important forums across the 34th District. As Democrats, it is imperative that we give our shared neighbors the opportunity to see firsthand who will be representing them and how we plan to solve the problems facing working class families. Let’s make this campaign about the issues.

The Wall Street Journal: Ex-Obama Aide Makes Bid in N.J.

promoted by Rosi

Cross Posted at www.VoteMarkAlexander.com



That is the title for today’s story in The Wall Street Journal profiling our campaign. I’m honored by the kind words from Passaic County Democratic Committee Chairman John Currie, and agree with his assessment of our opponent: she has not been “active” enough for the residents of the 34th District. We need a State Senator who will be on the ground in our communities delivering real results. I can be that fighter both at home and in Trenton.

The time for change is now.

Our campaign is gaining momentum every day. One door at a time. One voter at a time. One family at time. Brick by brick, we are putting together an operation that is going to be successful on Election Day. Just like President Obama did in his presidential campaign, I am building a grassroots organization that can take on any political machine in New Jersey.

Here are some action items you can do right now to help our cause:

Join our team today and let’s send a message that we need Democrats in the State Senate fighting for working class families, not check cashing companies and special interest groups. Senator Gill’s transactional approach to politics needs to be retired. And on June 4th we can do just that.

I know together we can win this campaign.

The time for campaign finance reform is now

promoted by Rosi

Cross Posted at www.VoteMarkAlexander.com

Last week, The Record reported that big time special interest groups with business regulated in Trenton are skirting campaign finance laws in New Jersey. These lawyers, engineers, and others with State contracts and interests donated over $700,000 in contributions to the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA). Conveniently for those donating, the RGA’s main focus this year will be reelecting Governor Christie. It cannot be a coincidence that – among other things – New Jersey pulled out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) after the Koch Brothers donated large sums to the RGA to help elect Governor Christie in 2009. The quid pro quo is clear.

Now is the time to fix our broken campaign finance system.

Jeff Brindle, executive director of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC), stated in the article that right now the RGA doesn’t fall under ELEC’s jurisdiction. Well, lets change that. It is one of the many things we need to do to give ELEC more tools to regulate how the money flows in political campaigns in our State. If you’ve tried to use the ELEC website, you probably know from experience that it is not a user-friendly site. The technology is dated, the website is hard to navigate, and information is not easily searchable. Disclosure and transparency need to be a priority for ELEC, and they need more resources to execute this important function.

As a Constitutional Law Professor, I know the challenges we face in regulating money in politics. Citizen’s United opened a Pandora’s box of problems that need to be addressed. Our State Legislature can take these important steps to ensure that special interest groups looking to cash-in on lucrative State contracts do not hijack our electoral system. We also need to build off the 2005 Clean Elections’ pilot program and empower normal folks to qualify for matching public funds if they hit certain benchmarks. Giving candidates an incentive to collect small dollar donations – as opposed to special interest money from Trenton lobbyists – will make our democracy healthier and open opportunities for challengers to be more competitive. Our State Legislature needs to do its part to stop the influence of moneyed interests, and empower normal folks on Election Day.

The time for campaign finance reform is now

Cross Posted at www.VoteMarkAlexander.com

Last week, The Record reported that big time special interest groups with business regulated in Trenton are skirting campaign finance laws in New Jersey. These lawyers, engineers, and others with State contracts and interests donated over $700,000 in contributions to the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA). Conveniently for those donating, the RGA’s main focus this year will be reelecting Governor Christie. It cannot be a coincidence that – among other things – New Jersey pulled out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) after the Koch Brothers donated large sums to the RGA to help elect Governor Christie in 2009. The quid pro quo is clear.

Now is the time to fix our broken campaign finance system.

Jeff Brindle, executive director of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC), stated in the article that right now the RGA doesn’t fall under ELEC’s jurisdiction. Well, lets change that. It is one of the many things we need to do to give ELEC more tools to regulate how the money flows in political campaigns in our State. If you’ve tried to use the ELEC website, you probably know from experience that it is not a user-friendly site. The technology is dated, the website is hard to navigate, and information is not easily searchable. Disclosure and transparency need to be a priority for ELEC, and they need more resources to execute this important function.

As a Constitutional Law Professor, I know the challenges we face in regulating money in politics. Citizen’s United opened a Pandora’s box of problems that need to be addressed. Our State Legislature can take these important steps to ensure that special interest groups looking to cash-in on lucrative State contracts do not hijack our electoral system. We also need to build off the 2005 Clean Elections’ pilot program and empower normal folks to qualify for matching public funds if they hit certain benchmarks. Giving candidates an incentive to collect small dollar donations – as opposed to special interest money from Trenton lobbyists – will make our democracy healthier and open opportunities for challengers to be more competitive. Our State Legislature needs to do its part to stop the influence of moneyed interests, and empower normal folks on Election Day.

Get Involved. Learn More.

promoted by Rosi

I am happy to announce my campaign website – www.VoteMarkAlexander.com – is now live. Take a few moments to read where I stand on the issues, how to get involved, and stay up-to-date on media reports and blog posts.

Every day I am talking to voters and bringing my case directly to working class families in the 34th District. We need new representation in Trenton who will deliver real results. With property taxes rising every year and the disparities in our schools becoming greater every day, now is the time to send a message to the establishment in the Democratic Party.

We need fresh faces with new ideas in the State Legislature.

This website and social media outreach is meant to build on the conversation I already started with voters across Clifton, East Orange, Montclair, and Orange. Reach out and tell me your thoughts and problems, so I can better talk to the issues facing our communities and address the things effecting people’s lives when I get to the State Senate.

Fundraising is off to a great start, but I need sustained grassroots donations if I’m going to take on the machine. Any donation of $10, $25, or even $50 can go a long way in helping us rent office space, buy campaign supplies, and reach voters in the district.

Can I count on your support?

Be sure to reach out to me directly at contact@votemarkalexander.com with any questions or concerns. Anyone interested in an internship can send their resumes to that email. You can also “Like” our new Facebook page and follow me on Twitter to hear from me on the campaign trail.

Yes we can 2.0

Today is a day many pundits predicted would never happen: President Barack Obama is being sworn-in for a second term. Ten months ago, this day didn’t seem likely. With a shaky economy and energized Republican base, conventional wisdom pointed towards President Obama being relegated to a one-term presidency.  The fact that he was able to overcome so many obstacles demonstrates the popularity of his policies and his ability to connect with normal Americans. He truly speaks to the problems facing working class people across our nation.  

When I started working for then-Senator Obama in the early days of the 2008 campaign, a lot of folks thought we were on a fool’s mission. How could this man – fresh out of the Illinois State Senate – get elected President? How could an African-American win the Iowa Caucuses? How could Obama overcome the powerful Democrats and organizations aligned behind Senator Hillary Clinton?

We got a lot of questions. And we had a lot of answers.

My own run for the State Senate is driven by the same themes that drove President Obama. A commitment to public service, an urge to show people that government can – and is – a force for good in our society, and a desire to help make our State and nation a more fair and just place. As he is sworn into a second term by Chief Justice John Roberts, we should consider what we could do to improve our communities and help one and other.

With so many pressing problems facing our nation, I know President Obama is the right leader to confront and solve these issues. He is already starting our nation on a path towards a fair tax policy that puts the interests of the middle class ahead of millionaires and special interest groups. He has proposed a comprehensive gun control package that will keep our children and families safe and prevent senseless gun violence. Addressing climate change and immigration reform remain top priorities during in his second term agenda.

It is my hope that more than just welcoming in the second term of President Obama, this inauguration ushers in a new era of Republican cooperation. In order for President Obama to continue to move the country forward, Republicans in Congress need to stop sabotaging his agenda – an agenda overwhelmingly supported by the American people on Election Day – and put our nation first. The time for political posturing must end, and the work of solving the problems facing our working class families must begin. With a new four-year term starting today, I hope Republicans get that message.

The time for grandstanding and obstruction is over. Work with this President and start solving the problems facing normal Americans.