Tag Archive: Jeff Chiesa

What’s Happening Today Wed. 09/25/2013

Power to the People! The Star-Ledger reports, “As the Republican governor campaigned on Main Street in Orange, a crowd of protesters trailed him, bearing signs that read “Christie Stay Out of Orange!” and jeering loudly when his supporters chanted “Four more years!” Thank you folks from Working Families Alliance for standing up to our governor. May there be many more such efforts!

Positions on fighting Obamacare to the point of shutting down the government: Christie: silence. As a recent AP story says, “Christie has accepted for his state key provisions of the law, yet campaigned on behalf of candidates who support dismantling it. He has taken no public position on whether to fight the law to the point of government shutdown.” All our Republican congressmen voted to include defunding Obamacare in their continuing resolution to fund the government now before the the Senate. We will soon find out how Sen. Jeff Chiesa (R) votes on the matter and then how our Republican congresmen respond to the Senate. Encourage your Republican congressmen not to vote (probably over the weekend or Monday) to close down the government over Obamacare.

Are you Still Stuck with the Storm? Many are.  Fair Share Housing says: “Tell us your story, so we can advocate for changes to funding programs that are not working well. We are getting lots of calls and emails from people who need help rebuilding and finding housing who are dissatisfied with the state’s programs.”  You can send an e-mail to Fair Share at stillstuckwiththestorm@fairsharehousing.org or use this form if you applied for grants or loans and were denied or use this form for general comments or to share information anonymously.

Message from a Senate “Democrat”: Union City Mayor Brian Stack in a hand-out to his residents: “While Governor Christie is a Republican, it is important that we look past party affiliation and look at what he has done for our residents and community.” He continues praising Christie while stopping just short of urging people to vote for him. Why is Sen. Stack (D-33) still on three Senate committees and Vice Chair of one of them? Boot him from the committees!

Public Schedules: (Your opportunity to cheer or jeer)

Gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono: 11:00am, Tour of Karnak Corporation, 330 Central Ave., Clark; 3:35pm, Radio Interview, The Michelangelo Signorile Program, SiriusXM Progress 127; 4:30pm, Paterson Education Association Delegate Assembly Meeting, The Brownstone, 351 W. Broadway, Paterson; 5:15pm, NJEA Bergen Fall Focus Program, The Venetian, 546 River Dr., Garfield; 8:00pm, Unity Party, 527 William St., East Orange.

Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign: Chris Christie: 10:30am, Teachers Village ribbon-cutting ceremony, 230 Halsey St., Newark; 4:45pm, Cabinet meeting, Statehouse, Trenton; 7:00pm, takes calls on New Jersey 101.5 FM’s “Ask the Governor.” (Always an opportunity to ask a good question.)

U. S. Senate candidate Cory Booker: 10:30am, Teachers Village ribbon-cutting ceremony, 230 Halsey St., Newark; 7:00pm, Reception at the home of Mayor Chuck and Stephanie Cahn, Cherry Hill, for more info go here; 8:15pm – 10:00pm, with Mayor Cahn  “Run with Cory”, start: Cherry Hill High School West, 2101 Chapel Ave W, End: Cherry’s Water Ice, 632 Haddonfield Rd. Cherry Hill.

What’s Happening Today Mon. 09/23/2013

“Showdown week in Congress”: Roll Call reminds us, “House Republicans will push through this week a debt ceiling increase tied to an assortment of GOP wish list items (including of course: death to Obamacare.) But those are sidelines to the main event: whether the government will shut down come Oct. 1.”

Where are our Democratic congressional challengers?: To run a successful campaign against a Republican congressional incumbent there is no time to waste. However, few such candidates have appeared so far. Below is the status and the votes in each of the four closest races against Republican incumbents in the last cycle.

  • CD 3: Jon Runyan: 174,257 – Shelley Adler: 145,509. There are efforts to recruit a candidate but no one’s name is public yet.

  • CD 5: Scott Garrett: 167,503 – Adam Gussen 130,102. Roy Cho, Hackensack, Attorney, Ex-Congressional Aide & Ex-Gubernatorial Aide, raised $80,804 through June 30 – more than Adam Gussen but a far cry from what is needed.

  • CD 2: Frank LoBiondo: 166,679 – Cassandra Shober. 116,463. Conservative (more so than LoBiondo) Mike Assad (R) Ex-Absecon School Board Member and Radio Talk Show Host, seeks to primary LoBiondo, but no Dem. candidate in sight yet.

  • CD 7: Leonard Lance: 175,704 – Upendra Chivukula. 123,090. No candidate has surfaced.

    In the meantime SuperPAC’s are building their warchests: Although SuperPACs are waiting until next year to unload their cargo, the conservative Club for Growth has just landed a big donation. Roll Call reports, Virginia James, a self-employed investor from Lambertville has contributed $500,000. In 2012 she gave $1.2 million to the Club.

    Strong support for a minimum wage increase: Monmouth University poll today indicates that 65% of registered voters say they will vote in favor of the increase. Support comes from majorities of Democrats (74%), independents (63%), and Republicans (54%). The rate still falls below the inflation-adjusted rate from the late 1960s, but it’s a step in the right direction.

    Public Schedule:

    Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: No public events today.

    Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign:  Chris Christie: 10:00am, National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Council ribbon-cutting ceremony, Asbury Park Middle School.

    U.S. Senate Candidate Cory Booker: Fund-raiser: 10:00am, Morning Reception hosted by ECE Works, Los Angeles, CA; 6:00pm, Reception at the home of Ron Burkle, with Matt Damon in Los Angeles. For more info go here.

    Assemblyman (D-38) Tim Eustace: 8:00pm, Fund-raiser: Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling, John DeBellis and Brian Karemk, Comedy Night, Paramus Elks Lodge #2001, 200 New Jersey 17, Paramus, $25.00 (for union members) and up. RSVP to Andrew at 201.669-8213.

    U. S Senate 2:30, Hearing on combating Human Trafficking with former NJ Attorney General John J. Farmer testifying on a major concern of Senator Jeff Chiesa, Washington, D.C.

    Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities, 10:00am, hearing on the safety of jitneys, State House, Trenton.  

  • What’s Happening Today Wed. 08/21/2013

    Gov. Christie vs. Sen. Barbara Buono: Today’s Monmouth University gubernatorial poll has Christie: 56%, Buono: 36%, Other Candidates: 3% and Undecided: 6%. – a 20 point spread. Monmouth’s earlier poll had a 30 point spread – Christie: 61%; Buono: 31%. The race is tightening. Pollster Patrick Murray says, “The trend suggests that New Jersey Democrats are coming back home.”

    U. S. Senate Races: Following yesterday’s Monmouth poll on our Senate race, it appears there is an eerie similarity between this year’s and last year’s race. In the 2012 contest between U. S. Sen. Robert Menendez and State Sen. Joe Kyrillos the Real Clear Politics average of polls a month before the election had Menendez with a spread advantage of +19.5. The final results were 58.9% for Menendez and 39.4% for Kyrillos – also a 19.5 spread advantage. The Real Clear Politics average of polls for the current race between Newark Mayor Cory Booker and former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan has Booker with a similar spread advantage of 19.4 (Booker 52.7% and Lonegan 33.3%). Booker’s advantage is also apparent because in the primary contest in spite of there being four veteran Democratic candidates, Booker received over twice the votes of Lonegan (Booker 206,984; Lonegan: 99,289.)

    Organizing for Action: 11am, rally in support of gun violence prevention with Rep. Frank Pallone (D-CD 6) at his office 67/69 Church St., New Brunswick.  

    Public Schedule:

    Governor Chris Christie: 11am, news conference, H.B. Wilson Elementary School, 2250 South 8th Street, Camden.

    Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono, 10:00am, Press Conference, Boys & Girls Club of Monmouth County, 1201 Monroe Ave., Asbury Park; Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono: 3:30pm, Radio Interview, WOBM 1160 AM & 1310 AM. 

    Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-CD 9): 1:00pm, to announce federal legislation he introduced to prevent gun violence, St. Luke Baptist Church, 139 Carroll St., Paterson.

    U.S. Senate Candidate Cory Booker: 7:30pm, participates in the 23rd Annual Stu Bykofsky Candidate Comedy Night, Finnegan’s Wake, Philadelphia.

    U.S. Senator Jeff Chiesa: 10:30am, endorses Republican U.S. Senate nominee Steve Lonegan, Ocean County Courthouse, Toms River.

    If you have an item for this column email it to me the evening before at Billorr563@gmail.com    

    NJ Supreme Court Denies Cert in Challenge to Christie’s Special Election Timetable

    The New Jersey Supreme Court has denied certification to a challenge to Gov. Chris Christie’s timetable for a special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat of the late Frank Lautenberg.

    Their decision means the Appellate Division’s ruling that the Governor’s special election scheme is not illegal and stands as the final judicial determination on the merits of the Democratic plaintiffs’ claims. The seat is currently held by Christie’s appointment by Republican Jeff Chiesa, who was sworn in June 10 and will remain in the seat until he is replaced by election.

    Since he became governor, lawyer Chris Christie has distinguished himself – and generated national news – by politicizing the NJ Supreme Court, a court the people should be able to expect to be above partisan politics. The effect has been to diminish the integrity of the court, and its independence. Since Christie made national news by failing to renominate Justice John Wallace – as every governor has with every justice seeking renomination since the NJ Constitution was adopted in 1947 – it is not hard to wonder if there’s fear in the Court that a politically maneuvering Governor Christie would punish a justice for going against his wishes when it comes time for renomination. One can only speculate.  

    Jeff Chiesa: Senator Today; NJ Supreme Court Chief Justice Soon?

    U.S. Sen. Jeff Chiesa on Monday joined Sen. Bob Menendez (D) and enough Republicans to reauthorize the agriculture program. He joined some Republicans and not Sen. Menendez in opposing a pilot program for internet projects in rural areas. On Tuesday he joined Sen. Menendez and many Republicans to vote against invoking cloture on the comprehensive immigration bill. He then voted again with Senator Menendez and many Republicans to proceed to the immigration bill. In all cases he was within a Republican comfort zone. A key question is how he will vote on a final immigration package. It seems unlikely he will deviate substantially from positions favored by the Governor and Republicans in general.

    When he leaves the Senate this Fall Chiesa has many options including returning to the Administration. He could also join a law practice bringing with him his high-power connections and experience in government. An intriguing possibility is that if Chiesa is interested, our Governor might nominate him to the Supreme Court. With his level of experience, gravitas, record and respect a Democratic Senate will have a harder time denying him the position. An even more more intriguing possibility is that the Governor might soon nominate Chiesa to be Chief Justice.

    Under New Jersey’s revised 1947 Constitution, new state Supreme Court Justices initially serve a seven-year term and then can be reappointed and attain tenure. (There is also a mandatory retirement age at 70.) Stuart Rabner is the current Chief Justice, appointed by Governor Jon Corzine in 2007. His term expires on June 29, 2014. Until 2010 every Justice appointed under this system had been subsequently granted life tenure. Nonetheless, in 2010 the Governor declined to re-appoint Supreme Court Justice John Wallace. The Governor did not assert any lack of “good behavior.” Rather he claimed it was his prerogative to re-appoint, and he said he wished to have someone else more in tune with his philosophy.

    The Senate led by President Steve Sweeney was so offended by the Governor’s blatant politics and disrespect toward an accomplished jurist that it refused to hold a hearing on the Governor’s intended replacement until Justice Wallace’s normal retirement in March 2012.

    Following the dubious precedent the Governor set with Justice Wallace, he could choose to deny Chief Justice Rabner tenure and nominate current Senator Chiesa as Chief Justice on or after June 30, 2014. A Democratic Senate would once again be infuriated. However, the Supreme Court is short two Justices now, and the Governor’s replacement nominees include one Republican and one avowed Independent who nonetheless was recently appointed to another position by the Governor.

    This is just another reason for Democrats to unify our party and work hard to create broad Democratic victories in November. With Christie as governor,  a Republican Senate would be a portal to assure a Republican Supreme Court and one possibly led by a Republican Chief Justice. What a difference an election can make.

    Human Trafficking Awareness Day

    Yesterday was Human Trafficking Awareness Day across the country. In Trenton, a rally was held on the State House steps and was followed by presentations by the Attorney General and others working to combat this crime.

    Below, are links to the remarks by the speakers at the rally – lawmakers from across the political spectrum as well as representatives from the Polaris Project, an international NGO devoted to combat human trafficking.

    Patricia Devine Harms – Junior Leagues

    Congressman Chris Smith

    Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle

    Senator Nellie Pou

    Senator Tom Kean Jr

    Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose

    Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter

    Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula

    Justin Zimmerman for Senator Nia Gill

    Kate Keisel and Ingrid Johnson of The Polaris Project

    National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in Trenton

    It’s probably not on your calendar, but today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. In Trenton, the day was observed with a rally in front of the State House, and a program which featured officials from several different agencies working to combat this scourge.

    Crime is not a partisan event, and supporters of stronger measures come from all sides of the political spectrum. At the rally speakers ranged from Progressives like Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle to Tea Party sympathizers like Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose. Congressman Chris Smith’s appearance reminded us that it’s not just a state, but a federal issue. And big events like the 2014 Super Bowl in New Jersey tend to attract the perpetrators of these crimes.

    Human trafficking, while it has a negative connotation, does not adequately describe the problem. In reality, it’s slavery. Slavery that is just as disgusting as the slavery that was supposed to have ended 150 years ago with the Emancipation Proclamation. There are estimates that over 10,000 boys and girls in New Jersey are trapped in this horrendous activity.

    After the rally, I spoke with two sponsors of legislation to help address the problem – Senator Nellie Pou and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (below). Below the fold are comments from Attorney General Jeff Chiesa. Some additional video from the rally will be posted on the sidebar over the weekend.

    A Man To Watch: Mike DuHaime – A Key Christie Operative

            He’s a remarkable talent. This guy has a lot of raw talent. He’s just got great judgment. – Karl Rove talking about Mike DuHaime in 2008

    Governor Christie who appears to be his own man, speaking from his seemingly singular gut with ideas that he says are his own, has in fact benefited tremendously from the skills and advice of key advisors. One such advisor is Mike DuHaime, who after serving in key positions in three national presidential campaigns, went on to become the lead strategist for Christie’s victory in 2009. DuHaime’s influence has been recognized in the press by both PolitickerNJ and TIME. He was ranked number 7 on PolitickerNJ’s 2010 Power List following Bill Palatucci, Mary Pat Christie, Jeff Chiesa, Steve Adubato, Rich Bagger, and David Samson. In 2010 TIME listed DuHaime in its “40 under 40” where his comments were indistinguishable from those of his boss: “The most overlooked issue these days is the unsustainable escalating costs of pensions, benefits and salaries associated with a public workforce.”

    This week we heard comments from DuHaime complimenting Christie following his speech to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington,“He didn’t go seek the attention. He did big things and then went and talked about it. He’s completely turned Trenton upside down.” Duhaime appears confident but self-deprecating, humble, likable and measured – the opposite of Christie. However, he does not act entirely behind the scenes and has spoken in public occasionally helping us to understand his influence better. Among other matters he has weighed in on strategy in the governor’s campaign, Reform Jersey Now, and has been teaching a popular course on “Political Campaigning” at Rutgers with Maggie Moran, his Democratic counterpart during the Christie-Corzine campaign.

    More beneath the fold