Author Archive: Stephen Yellin

Attention Mr. Christie: God is for Marriage Equality

Hi all,

Those who know me here, know that I am primarily a “process” guy – I work for campaigns, have run for office myself, and tend to look at issues from a political perspective.

This isn’t true when it comes to equal rights for all. Here, morality must take precedence over expediency.

That is why I, like so many here, am upset with some of the testimony given against the Marriage Equality bill that our Legislature will vote on today and Thursday.

While many good people of faith – rabbis and reverends, clergy and laity – know that God does not discriminate, an unfortunate group of bigots cling to the Bible to justify denying equal rights to fellow human beings.  

Assemblywoman-elect Mosquera ineligible to serve: District Judge…

Assemblywoman-elect Gabriela Mosquera (District 4) has apparently been disqualified from serving due to residency issues by the District Judge overseeing the case.

Apparently this was a ruling based on a challenge filed by Republican Shelly Lovett, who lost to Mosquera in November 2011.

The seat is now “vacant”, according to the blurb, but is that accurate? Does Lovett get the seat as the runner-up?

I imagine this decision will be appealed.

More updates as I find them.  

Rothman to challenge Pascrell: Star-Ledger report…

U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-9th Dist.) is telling Democrats he plans to challenge Bill Pascrell (D-8th Dist.) in the June primary, according to two Democratic sources with knowledge of the congressman’s thinking.

A few anonymous sources are quoted for the article. An announcement from Rothman is apparently due this week.

Needless to say, I am sorry to have found this out, and I hope a strong Democrat will come forward to take on Garrett. It’s obviously going to be someone without a $1.5 million war chest, but we need to support them all the same.  

A Quick Update on my Council campaign

Hi all,

This is going to be a quick diary because I have another event to run to in less than an hour. However, I will be back tomorrow morning to answer any questions or comments you may have.

First, I am proud to announce that I have been endorsed by Democracy for America. As one of 11 New Jersey candidates chosen, and just 1 of 2 not running for the State Legislature, I am honored and humbled to have received the endorsement of an awesome, forthright progressive organization. I have a picture of myself and Howard Dean from 2004 on my refrigerator; it is my hope that, when I am elected to the Berkeley Heights Township Council on November 8th, I can emulate his tell-it-like-it-is demeanor and open dialogue with his constituents.

More in the extended text area…

It Fell On Deaf Ears: my warning for the Lieberman 2006 campaign

This is such an interesting coda to the diary I wrote last night. In my read, it’s both sad and inspiring. For sure, Joe Lieberman didn’t deserve Stephen, who is a candidate for office right now Berkeley Heights Township Council – Rosi

I read Rosi’s article on the front page of Blue Jersey with great interest. It was wonderful to see how she and so many NJ-DFA members came up to Connecticut to support a progressive Democrat in Ned Lamont.

However, I have a confession to make: not only was I not among them, but at the time I was trying to help his opponent win renomination. It was a futile effort on my part, and one I now regret.

Remembering a Progressive hero: Frank Herbert’s story

promoted by Rosi

Yesterday I had the pleasure of catching up with one of the best public servants New Jersey has ever produced.

He is not well-known even in Democratic circles, let alone the state of New Jersey, and he last served in public office when Leonid Brezhnev was Premier of the USSR.

Frank Herbert, however is definitely not someone to forget, particularly if you’re a New Jersey Democrat or – even more so – a progressive.

You see, Frank Herbert did 2 things that New Jerseyans and progressives should forever be grateful for:

1) He pushed for and got the Legislature to pass the law that created New Jersey Transit, a system that provides business and social lifelines for hundreds of thousands of our residents.

2) He is the only candidate in New Jersey history to win a Federal election as a write-in candidate. In doing so, he saved the Democratic Party from nominating a Holocaust-denying, KKK-loving extremist.

His story is in the extended section below.  

Grandpa Harry is spinning furiously in his grave

This is long, but interesting to read something of the man who was an inspiration to a young seeker of municipal office. Stephen, who as a teen was the first person to get a Blue Jersey account after founder Juan Melli, is a candidate for municipal office in Berkeley Heights. – Rosi

After I published my last article here (thank you to everyone who commented on it), I received an e-mail from a New Jersey friend of mine, and a sometime-Democratic activist. My friend wrote, in part:

“What the **** gives you the right to call out Sweeney? He was a labor leader when you were in diapers.”

No, I’m not in a union. I don’t believe graduate students have a union to join, although I could be wrong. And no, I don’t have the “credentials” of Senator Sweeney when it comes to a labor background.

But I can tell you this – the movement for workers to gain their freedom is in my blood. Were it not for organizers like my Grandpa Harry, a Gloucester County ironworker could never have become the leader of the New Jersey State Senate.

If Democrats don’t stand for workers, what DO we stand for?

“I do let loose my opinion, hold it no longer”

The Tempest, William Shakespeare

This is probably the least politic diary I have written on Blue Jersey in the last 5 1/2 years. As a young Democratic activist, I’ve thought, wouldn’t it be politically inane to speak out against the leaders of my own Party? As a candidate for local office in a conservative part of New Jersey, I thought, wouldn’t it make more sense to stay silent rather than alienate potential constituents?

Yet I cannot stay silent. I am a Democrat because I believe in the rights of workers – blue collar and white collar, male and female, of all races and creeds – to seek a just and better world for themselves and their families. It is that fundamental freedom – the right to organize – that I see under attack in New Jersey tonight.

A look at New Jersey’s 2011 Legislative elections (part I)

Hi all,

In this diary, I will cover the first group of competitive races in the upcoming legislative elections, and analyze the rest later this week. It is also posted at (under “Mr. Liberal” as well). As we know, the Senate stands at 24 Democrats and 16 Republicans, and the Assembly 47 Democrats to 33 Republicans. In short, the GOP needs 4 Senate and 8 Assembly seats to take control.

You can read my analysis of the first group below.  

My campaign kickoff – you’re all invited!

Hi all,

It’s been two months since I announced here I was running for office once again in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey – the town I’ve lived in all my life and the town I want to give back to as a Councilman! “Yellin for Council Version 2.0” has been rather successful so far, and I’m building on that momentum going into the June 7th primary.

With that in mind, I’m having my campaign kickoff this Saturday (June 4th) in Berkeley Heights – and every “Blue Jersey” blogger is invited to attend! It is at Noon at 345 Plainfield Avenue, at the pavilion of Columbia Park (the parking lot is behind the Middle School at that address). The kickoff is free and open to the public.

An update on my campaign is below.