Tag Archive: Sen. Weinberg

The Dems Go Into the Lion’s Den On Behalf of Marriage Equality

Westfield is the home of the Senate Republican Leader Thomas Kean, Jr. and where he and the Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick have their office. They both won there in 2011 with over 60% of the vote. And it was there this afternoon at the home of a lesbian couple that Sen. Barbara Buono, Sen. Steve Sweeney, Sen.Loretta Weinberg and Sen. Nia Gill held a press conference to encourage Sen. Kean to allow members of his caucus to vote their conscience on an override of Governor Christie’s veto of marriage equality legislation.

The lesbian couple, Liz Flanagan and Nancy Wilkinson, partners for 29 years, said they, “can’t reap any of the 1,138 federal benefits that the U. S. Supreme Court granted  gay couples last week in the landmark ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act.”

Sen. Barbara Buono said, “I don’t think my daughter should have to go to another state to get married.” Her daughter Tessa has come out as as a lesbian.  

Sen. Kean issued a press release echoing what the Governor said earlier in the day that “legislators should vote their conscience on every issue.” However, he went on to add, “Republicans and Democrats from both houses of the legislature believe that this issue should be put before the voters of New Jersey this November.”

There will be no over-ride without participation of Republicans in both the Senate and Assembly. The effort to corral the needed votes continues.

In Flanders Fields of Teaneck: Memorial (And Some Politics)

 Teaneck’s Memorial Day Observance on its Municipal Green evoked the picture and spirit of John McCrae’s famous poem:

    “In Flanders fields the poppies blow,

    Between the crosses, row on row.”

Amidst the crosses and present to honor our fallen heroes were some 400 people including veterans, first responders, general public, and Guest Speaker Sergeant Jason Castle, Deputy Mayor Adam Gussen, Sen. Loretta Weinberg, and former Congressman Andy Maguire.

Mr. Gussen presented introductory remarks quoting  from the poem. He was the 5th CD’s Democratic candidate who last year ran unsuccessfully against Republican incumbent Congressman Scott Garret after winning the primary against newcomer Jason Castle. However, it was Jason Castle who stole the day and Andrew Maguire who listened quietly but may become the Democratic standard-bearer in next year’s congressional race.

The introducer for Jason Castle said, “And now the moment you have been waiting for” followed by wild applause. Early in his speech Castle said, “Thank you Teaneck residents because so many of you spoke up loud enough not to be ignored.” The Teaneck Council had invited, then disinvited, and following rage from local activists had re-invited Castle as a featured speaker. For the remarkable back story attesting to the power of those who protest, see Nick Lento’s Blue Jersey Diary The US Constitution Wins Big in Teaneck.

Castle ended his speech asking the audience to “keep vigil for those who did not return, commit something to your nation, and celebrate “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

At 73 years of age Andy Maguire brings a wealth of experience, including 3 terms as a congressman beginning in 1974 in the former CD 7 and important government roles at the Department of State and U.N. After the event he acknowledged he was considering a possible run, he expressed enthusiasm toward taking on Rep. Garrett, but would not say when he would make a final decision. He is a resident in CD 5 living in Ridgewood.

Another potential candidate for CD 5 is Roy Cho, in his early 30’s, currently a lawyer (private equity and mergers and acquisition) who had served as an assistant to Jamie Fox while at the PA NY-NJ and as an aid to former Governor McGreevy. He already is soliciting donations at his web site and is on Facebook and twitter. In his FEC  filing he lists a Hackensack address which is in another CD.

Sen. Barbara Buono who has plans to stop in Teaneck this afternoon reminds us, “151 service members with ties to New Jersey have died fighting in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

     “We are the Dead. Short days ago

     We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow.

     To you from failing hands we throw 

     The torch; be yours to hold it high.”

News Roundup & Open Thread for Monday, March 4, 2013

Attending Belmar’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, presumptive Democratic candidate for Governor Barbara Buono mostly avoided talking politics. She declined to second-guess decisions made by Christie in the Jersey Shore’s recovery, but said, “The folks here have done an amazing job. I’m confident that the Shore will be ready when Memorial Day comes around.”

A Wake-Up Call

  • A Blue-Ribbon Panel reveals shaky state of NJ’s water, gas, power, and transportation infrastructures. (NJ Spotlight)

    Governor Christie

  • On Fox News Sunday Mitt Romney said he does not blame Gov. Christie or Hurricane Sandy for his defeat. “I lost my election because of my campaign, not because of what anyone else did.”

  • At the Christie fundraiser held by Ed Rogers of AshBritt’s lobbyist group BGR the governor held court for 30 minutes at a question-and-answer session. Spotted at the event: Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell; Ed Gillespie; Christie confidante Mike DuHaime; BGR Group officers and others.

    Gun Safety

  • The Record’s Mike Kelly invites us to meet the AR-15, America’s and New Jersey’s weapon of choice.

  • At a gun rights forum in Teaneck a person holding a copy of the constitution asked Sen. Majority Leader Weinberg, “Where in here does it say you can regulate our rights?” She shot back that there have been regulations to the Bill of Rights since the founding of the country.

    Sex Trafficking

  • Maria’s harrowing descent: how one woman in New Jersey was ensnared.

  • Polaris rates the states on the statutes they have in place to prevent and prosecute human trafficking. New Jersey rates 6 out of 12 possible points.

  • The “Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection, and Treatment Act”  (A3352) passed in the Assembly and is being reviewed in the Senate.

    Under The Dome

  • Today 9:30 AM (State House): Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee Meeting: to hear testimony on Hurricane Sandy rebuilding and planning issues.

  • Tuesday 9:00 AM (State House) : Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee: to hold the first Public Hearing on the FYI 2014 State Budget. The Record: “Contained in the fine print of Christie’s latest budget documents is an admission that the administration’s bold prediction of a 7.2 percent rise in revenue for the current fiscal year will not come true.”  

  • Tuesday 11:00 AM (State House) Joint Committee on the Public Schools: Marc Larkins, CEO of the NJ Schools Development Authority, will update members on school facilities and construction.

  • Friday 1:30 PM (State House): Senate & Assembly Legislative Oversight Committees: to take testimony from invited persons about Superstorm Sandy debris cleanup. (See Senator Weinberg’s Sunday Op-Ed piece on AshBritt, Christie & Sandy in the Record.)

    LD 39

  • Republicans picked Bob Auth, Old Tappan Republican municipal chairman, to run for Assemblyman Robert Schroeder’s seat. Incumbent Schroeder pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that he allegedly stole more than $1.8 million.

    Internet Gambling

  • Is the recent legalization of NJ internet gambling a cause for celebration in Atlantic City? Or is it a distinct invitation to customers to NOT visit AC and gamble at home?

    No surprise for a bridge dating back to 1873

  • A Conrail official said Saturday that the Paulsboro railroad bridge damaged during a derailment Nov. 30 will be replaced rather than repaired.

  • Marriage Equality: “One Step Closer To Justice”

    With Lamda Legal’s attorney Hayley J. Gorenberg appearing in court today on behalf of Garden State Equality and seven same-sex couples and their children, Judge Linda Feinberg rejected the State’s effort to dismiss the case.

    After the hearing Attorney Gorenberg said, “I am very pleased that the judge agreed that our clients should get their deserved day in court. They have been suffering for years under marriage discrimination. Today is one step closer to justice.” On Thursday the lawyers and judge will set up a discovery schedule  and create a framework for going forward.  

    Same-Sex couples Renew Efforts To End Being “Strangers Under the Law”

    NJ recognizes civil unions and it honors marriages of same-sex couples from other jurisdictions, but it has not enacted marriage equality. As Lamda Legal says, even with civil unions “individuals in same-sex relationships frequently are treated like strangers under the law which most deeply affect those with children, those with fewer financial resources, people of color, senior citizens or those with less access to education, branding lesbians and gay men as second class.”

    Drawing the Battle Lines on the 2012 Budget

    I am gravely concerned that Governor Christie’s proposed FY 2012 State Budget fails New Jersey’s most vulnerable populations – Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen)

    Immediately on the heels of the Pension and Health Benefits bill comes the Battle of the 2012 Budget which must be fought and concluded by the end of next week.  And the battle lines are being drawn. This year Senate President Sweeney (D- Gloucester) and Assembly Speaker Oliver (D- Essex) have proposed more robust alternatives. Their plan envisions adding more than $1 million to Governor Christie’s proposed budget.

    Their plan includes:

  • Millionaire’s Tax – increase tax from the current 8.97% to 10.75% on income over $1 million.

  • Earned Income Tax Credit – restore it.

  • School Funding – fulll formula funding for every school district.

  • City police departments – add money.

  • Family Planning Clinics – restore funding. (Note: Several Assembly Republicans have introduced a budget resolution to increase funding for women’s health services by $7.5 million in Fiscal Year 2012 but to allocate the funds to Federal Qualified Health Centers, not to Planned Parenthood.)

  • Family Care and Medicaid – eliminate the cuts.

  • NJN – Provide 3-6 months of stopgap funding.

    Disgust toward recent Democratic leadership should not get in the way of supporting alternatives to Christie’s budget proposals.  Christie brandishes the veto pen so negotiation and even support from Republican legislators will be needed for an improved outcome.

    Add your thoughts on alternative budget proposals and on needed strategies.


  • All Aboard: Budget Hearing Train Starts Monday

    Senate and Assembly Budget Committees will begin their first hearing on the 2012 budget on Monday at Bergen Community College in Paramus. These hearings are an opportunity to let legislators know what you think is important. And legislators are more likely to pay attention to you this year.

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