Tag Archive: State Senate

NJ State Support of Rutgers Doesn’t Merit 63% Control of RU Governing Board

promoted by Rosi

Rumor has it that the badly flawed bill S1860, sponsored by State Senate President Sweeney, will come up for a vote today.

S1860 is probably illegal according to an opinion released by New Jersey’s Office of Legislative Services (OLS) yesterday.

In addition to flouting state and constitutional law, the bill gives the state 63% control of the Rutgers Board of Governors while the state provides only 19.5% of Rutgers $3.6 billion dollar budget.  In general, New Jersey provides less than 25% of Rutgers budget and is usually below 20% in direct state support for Rutgers. Direct state appropriations to Rutgers for FY2013 were actually less than 1995’s Direct State appropriations and have been on a steady decline since Governor Christie assumed office and Senator Sweeney became Senate President.  

Warren County Built a Courtroom Wrong. Freeholders Won’t Admit Fault.

There has been a dispute in Warren County for the past few years, ever since they built a courtroom with a pillar that blocks the defense tables’ view of the jury and witness stand.

How can a defendant be afforded a fair trial if his lawyers are not allowed to see the witness stand, much less a jury?

It was a boner of a move by the county to pay for a courtroom that can’t be used, but these things happen.

There have been too many delays in an already crowded courthouse. It’s a very frustrating thing. Anyone who has made a similar mistake can sympathize, but the all-GOP freeholder board should have known better.

The rules were available to the county and to the architects they hired when they decided to build it anyway. They should admit their mistakes and rebuild. But no, here come the talking points: “It’s about taxpayer money!

The County’s solution?

A state senate bill proposal would give the County the power to decide that denying a defendant’s right to full access to the courts is “suitable” solely because they don’t want to be responsible for raising the money to fix it.  

What’s Happening Today, Thu. 12/05/2013

Gov. Christie heads to Oklahoma today to support anti-LGBT Gov. Mary Fallin: As GSE points out, she refuses  to process military applications for spousal benefits at state-owned facilities of the Oklahoma National Guard. All applicants, regardless of sexual orientation, can now only apply at federally owned Guard facilities. Oklahoma does not have marriage equality, nor LGBT-inclusive hate crimes laws nor laws barring housing or employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Christie will headline a fundraiser at 6:30 p.m. CST at the Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City to aid her re-election campaign, and he will attend other events there. After only three days in New Jersey he is off to support a Republican bigot. Get used to it!

Environment New Jersey: 11:30am, with Senate President Steve Sweeney, will hold a press conference and release and discuss a new report at the Statehouse Room 103, Trenton. The report highlights environmental benefits of wind, but points out that the New Jersey off-shore wind program is stuck in neutral.


Four State Senate Committees meet today

Commerce Committee: 1:00pm, Chair Sen. Nia Gill holds a hearing on the State’s recent plan allowing health insurers to decide themselves whether  to continue selling plans which under ACA are considered substandard. Some insurers have already decided not to re-institute these plans. Included in the cancellations are some Medicare Advantage Plans. The good news: the federal health exchange website appears to be working better; the bad news: time is running out to enroll.  

Budget and Appropriations Committee: 1:00pm, Chair Sen. Paul Sarlo plans a vote on S2469 which would create a new category of crime called Cyber Harassment, “which would ban people from using electronic devices and social media to threaten to injure or commit any crime against a person or his property, or send obscene material to or about someone.

Environment & Energy Committee: 10:00am.

Health, Human Services & Senior Citizens Committe: 1:00pm.

For more info go here. To view or listen to the hearings go here.

ELEC: releases today the “twenty-day post-election campaign-finance reports” for the General Election candidates.

“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

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.

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.

A call for interns!

Promoted by Rosi. If the Gill campaign is also looking for interns, they can post that request here, too.

To students across Northern New Jersey, the Alexander for Senate campaign is looking for capable individuals of all stripes to join our team this Spring. We are looking for folks to do communications, field, and finance work based out of our Montclair headquarters. College credit can be arranged! Residents of Clifton, East Orange, Montclair, and Orange are especially encouraged to apply.

This won’t be making copies and stuffing envelopes, you’ll be working under a top-notch team of political consultants with experience in local, county, state, and federal campaigns. Plus, there will be a lot of interaction with our candidate: a former Obama Senior Advisor and veteran of races with Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Senator Bill Bradley, and Senator Ted Kennedy.

All interested parties should email their resumes to contact@votemarkalexander.com.

Full disclosure: I am a paid staffer working on the campaign.