When the day’s work is done at the Heldrich Hotel, Blue Jersey hopes Democratic Chair Asm John Wisniewski reads this post. It concerns a rumor, hot all day, we hope was never true. If it was, we hope progressive and grassroots outrage has shifted some members of the redistricting commission off a certain highly questionable plan.
As Jay Lassiter wrote earlier today, the hottest rumor coming out the redistricting meetings in New Brunswick is that of Senators Barbara Buono and Joe Vitale being lumped together into one legislative district while Assemblyman and Democratic State Chairman John Wisniewski is left with a new district all to himself, from which he may ascend to the Senate. If true, this represents the worst kind of backroom treachery – rather than upholding the interests of the Democrats he’s charged to represent, he’s using the redistricting process to serve his own ambitions.
It’s no secret that Senator Buono hasn’t made many fans among the powers that be of late, on either side of the aisle. She’s consistently stood up to Governor Christie’s assault on working families, no matter what position her Democratic colleagues have taken. But ironically, it’s Buono’s willingness – as both a progressive and a woman – to stand up to the power brokers that leads us to support her as vigorously as we do. And, we fear, it’s this same fighting spirit that’s put her political career in the crosshairs.
The same is true, it should be said, of Senator Vitale. A solid progressive and a health care champion, Vitale was the architect of the NJ FamilyCare expansion that guaranteed universal access to quality health care to all New Jerseyans. He’s spent his career in the Senate quietly, but steadfastly, working on behalf of children and working families. As he pointed out, it’s ironic that two dedicated progressive public servants be threatened by insider political machinations in the name of assisting those they’ve both done so much to help.
It’s likely that whatever the map-makers in the bowels of the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick ultimately decide will stand as our next legislative map. But by no means do we here at Blue Jersey have to accept it. Our chief interests have always been progressive policy and honest governance. This move flies in the face of both of those tenets. That it is allegedly being perpetrated by the Chairman of the Democratic State Committee for his own political gain is a slap in the face of each and every progressive activist who has dedicated their time, effort, and hard-earned money to the Democratic Party.
We respectfully but firmly ask Chairman Wisniewski to denounce this planned assault on two of our state legislature’s brightest progressive lights. If he does not, he will have lost the faith of all of us at Blue Jersey, if not all of us in the Democratic Party.