Tag Archive: State Senate

Meeting commuters in Montclair

We noticed some new media-savvy friends of Blue Jersey in Alexander’s announcement this week of incoming senior campaign staff, among them Scott Shields and Matt Jordan. Not certain who is running Senator Nia Gill’s campaign, but of course she’s welcome on these pages, too. – Rosi

Cross Posted at www.VoteMarkAlexander.com

I spent my morning meeting with commuters at the Upper Montclair Train Station, talking about the issues, meeting people, and talking about why we need a new strong voice in the New Jersey State Senate. As I build my grassroots operation, the most important part of my campaign will be meeting new people and explaining to them why I can be effective in Trenton for working class families. Just like President Obama did in Iowa, South Carolina, and across the country, I am going to build a ground game that brings new people into the political process. I hope you will join this effort at www.VoteMarkAlexander.com.

An exciting announcement

As we noted in this morning’s News Roundup, this is going to make an interesting 2013, with Prof. Alexander primarying Nia Gill. As though 2013 wasn’t already going to involve turf battles, rending of garments and long pointy knives. Prof. Alexander was state director for the Obama campaign in 2008. – promoted by Rosi

This morning I made an exciting announcement: I am going to be running for the State Senate in New Jersey’s 34th Legislative District.  My entire career has been dedicated to serving my community, working to elect progressive leaders, and trying to make things better for working class families. Today is the first step in bringing more accountable representation in the State Senate to families throughout Clifton, East Orange, Montclair, and Orange.  

Right now my focus remains on reelecting President Obama in November.  But in order to make sure I have the resources necessary to run a competitive race in June 2013, I thought it was imperative to get started early.  Over the coming months I am going to be raising seed money and putting together a strong campaign team that can help me get across the finish line in June.  

With Governor Christie up for reelection next year, it is so important that Democrats across New Jersey begin to mobilize.  We need strong voices to stand up against his rhetoric.  As a former National Policy Advisor to President Obama, I know I can bring strong progressive alternatives to Trenton that will move New Jersey forward in putting people to work, protecting our environment, and ensuring women have access to healthcare services.  

I hope everyone on Blue Jersey will follow me on Twitter @MarkCAlexander and comment below.  I want to hear your thoughts, comments, and questions as we move forward in New Jersey.    

Letter from Senator Barbara Buono on decision to not seek re-election as Majority Leader

Dear Colleagues:

Two years ago, I was honored to be selected as the first woman to serve as Senate Majority Leader in New Jersey history.

This was an important milestone for our state, which has always led the nation in promoting diversity and inclusion. It was an important milestone for the Democratic Party, which quite literally relies on women to maintain its electoral majorities.  And, it was a great personal milestone for me.

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.  

I’m Running Today

If you live in LD-39, you can VOTE TODAY for Carol Hoernlein.  Former Councilwoman Carol Hoernlein’s career in elected office began with One Vote – literally one. Fueled by the passion of Howard Dean’s campaign, she wrote about it in one of my favorite diaries, One Vote. Now, she’s at it again, because she noticed a Democratic hole in LD-39 …  – – promoted by Rosi

I wanted to let you all know – I am running for State Senate in District 39 today as a write-in.

There is NO candidate officially on the ballot in District 39.  Hard to believe because in most other districts tough battles are being waged today.  District 39 has traditionally been Republican Gerald Cardinale’s territory.

I am running to finally give a voice to folks in 39 who have not had a voice in 3 decades.  The Bergen County machine has always given the 39th a pass.  I want to change that.

As a drainage expert, I hope to help NJ residents here with one of the most pressing problems in the Pascack Valley – flooding.  I firmly believe I can positively impact District 39 in terms of my understanding about infrastructure as a civil engineer.

Protecting the environment has always been my most important priority for decades.

I will vote FOR marriage equality.  

As a small business owner, I understand what small business owners have to face in this tough economy.  I believe in revitalizing our downtowns and commercial sites while protecting the areas that are currently open space and should be preserved. We CAN do both.

I also understand how corruption increases costs on taxpayers from my fights against Pay to Play over the past few years and will support legislation to clean up corruption in our state.

I also want to protect our first responders – Firefighters, police from anti-union legislation.  As a former state employee and former CWA union member myself I am aware of the assaults on workers rights. While I was Fire Commissioner in Tenafly, I fought for better equipment and benefits for the brave men on the volunteer Fire Dept.

I hope you will spread the word about my write-in campaign for State Senate today.  Just make sure they spell my name right:

Carol HOERNLEIN  (I know it’s tough – but if Lisa Murkowski can do it…..)

Standing Ovation for John Adler at his Funeral Today

promoted by Rosi

John could stand on the edge of a great divide and look for where a bridge needed to be built.

                  – John Adler’s brother-in-law, from his eulogy

Congressman-elect John AdlerThere was a standing ovation for John Adler today at his funeral. It was called by his brother-in-law who’s in show business on the West Coast. In his business, he said, when people do very well, we give them a standing ovation. In the vast sanctuary of Temple Emanuel in Cherry Hill, everyone stood.

Of course, many were already standing. Temple Emanuel was jammed, probably straining the Cherry Hill fire marshal’s restrictions, and the sanctuary was standing-room-only, as were several overflow rooms inside, and the crowd spilled outside into the parking lot.

“First time I saw John, he was dancing with a refrigerator,” began the story told by Adler’s  law school roommate and best man at his wedding. A lot of the stories told reflected both deep affection for him, and warm appreciation for his merry view of life. The service had its moments of both laughter and tears. And it was well attended both by those whose  politics he shared, and by well-respected Republicans with whom he differed. All there to pay tribute to the man that was “just John” to wife Shelley and their four boys.

The rabbi gave the blessing in Hebrew for those ” who serve in public office”, calling him a “mensch”. He gave that term’s definition as nothing more than a man much loved and respected by all. He told a story about John listening to the youngest member of a contingent lobbying for his support of Israel, listening intently. That John took the time to listen so closely made a real difference to that young woman.

In the spirit of Adler’s sense of humor, his brother-in-law apologized for blowing his nose into his yarmulke, as he cried. He told the story of playing John in Trivial Pursuit, that it was like going up against Google itself.

In fact, I found out today, John auditioned for Jeopardy and was accepted. But he was bumped for knowing someone who worked as an attorney at ABC. He didn’t even know the man well, it was somebody he went to law school with, but he could not lie. “John was the greatest Jeopardy champion who never appeared on the show,” said his wife’s brother, laughing.

Today, John Adler was remembered as a man never took himself too seriously, who loved “really stupid” movies. His son talked about how he loved what he called Italian-American sociological study, which is how he referred to Jersey Shore.

The Adler family asks that if individuals wish to make a donation in John Adler’s name, they would appreciate contributions to Cooper University Hospital and University of Pennsylvania Hospital. Both tried to save his life. John Adler was just 51. Rest in Peace.

An Exception for an Exceptional Candidate – Jeff Gardner

Awesome! Second big national endorsement of the day! Democracy for America’s Chair Jim Dean gives Jeff DFA’s endorse later today. Thanks, Howie, digby, John & the Blue America team! – Rosi

Blue America rarely reaches out to help candidates raise money in local legislative races. We do make exceptions for exceptional candidates and we have one for you today: Jeff Gardner of New Jersey, who’s in a primary race against a corrupt incumbent drowning in a sewer scandal, John Girgenti, the Majority Whip, best known as the New Jersey legislator who killed marriage equality. With vicious homophobes like Girgenti leading the Democrats… who needs Republicans!

Jeff Gardner made a name for himself as an advocate for marriage equality, and he’s much more than that. As a fourteen-year veteran attorney for the National Labor Relations Board, he’s been fighting to protect workers, making sure union members are guaranteed their rights in the workplace. As an early organizer for Democracy for America, he pushed Democratic candidates up and down the ballot to champion progressive policies and push for common sense solutions. He’s a real Democrat who is itching to fight for the issues important to all of us.Whether it’s protecting women’s access to family planning services or fighting for marriage equality, Jeff will never back down from a fight.  He’s going to stand up for what he believes in, which means standing behind progressive policies that too many Democrats run away from.

We need to support the very best Democrats at every level of government, not just in Washington. The battles in Wisconsin and Ohio highlight the need for strong progressive leaders in traditionally Democratic-leaning state governments. We can’t afford to put collective bargaining rights at risk. We can’t let the radical right take away a woman’s right to choose. Most importantly, we need Democrats who are going to fight for us. I hope you can join us in making sure Jeff has all the resources necessary to take down this entrenched incumbent in the Democratic primary in June. He’s our newest addition to the Blue America PAC and he’ll be joining us for a live session 11a PDT/2p EDT at Crooks and Liars on Thursday.

A message from Jeff to Blue America members: “I know most of you don’t live in New Jersey, much less the 35th district. Still, your support is vital.  The battles in Wisconsin and Ohio highlight the need for strong progressive leaders in our state governments. We can’t afford to put collective bargaining rights at risk. We can’t let the radical right take away a woman’s right to choose. We can’t allow conservative, anti-progress Democrats to bargain away our civil rights. The status quo already has one party as its champion– it doesn’t need two.”

If recent attacks by GOP Governors have stirred something inside of you, there’s something you can do to fight back…please donate to Jeff’s campaign 

here.

Thanks for doing what you can,

digby, John, Howie and the Blue America team

New Jersey still needs a full-time legislature

I think this quote from a few days ago is very troubling:

“It’s very frustrating,” [State Senator Nicholas] Scutari said of [State Senator Brian] Stack’s reversal, noting Stack had voted for the legislation that legalized medical marijuana earlier this year. Scutari said he suspects Stack, also the mayor of financially-strapped Union City, did not want to cross the governor.

I’m not talking about the merits of Stack’s votes. I’m troubled that our New Jersey legislators think their colleagues are too conflicted to vote honestly, and are willing to say so. After all, who would know better?

I know that the particular conflict of mayor vs. legislator only exists for the “grandfathered” politicians, but the truth is that any private or public sector job could face inappropriate pressure from the governor, the boss, the CEO, you name it. State senator should be a job that pays a full salary in exchange for full-time work. Even conservative Chris Christie wants the legislature to spend more time making laws and regulations, so there’s no doubt there’s a need.  

Paperless Senate: A Good Bipartisan Idea!

Let no one tell you bipartisanship is always bad. The Trentonian has a good article on Steve Sweeney and Tom Kean Jr’s proposal to go to a paperless Senate.

Kean and Sweeney hope to make the “commonsense” changeover by year’s end, citing the immediate cost savings and environmental benefits of ending the numerous stacks of printed bills and amendments. As an example, they note that Hawaii’s 25-member Senate has reported savings of more than $1.2 million and enough paper to save 800 trees since it went paperless in 2008.

The idea is that a wireless network and laptops could replace the requirements that everything be endlessly printed out and copied. You can see the resolution (SR48) online. No, don’t print it! There is also a similar resolution (AR72) for the Assembly but it isn’t as far along.

The Hawaii Senate notes that their initiative also involved increasing interaction with the public, which I don’t see in the Sweeney/Kean resolution:  

For our Senators, this initiative transformed chamber floor sessions so that by the end of our 2008 session, over 90 percent of our members were solely using their Senate issued laptops to access our interactive Order of the Day (OD) in their caucus discussions and on the chamber floor. For the public, participation in the legislative process became more accessible as they could submit testimony via e-mail as well as view all measures, committee reports, and testimony submitted on any measure via the Legislature’s website. Public hearing notices posted on our website were also interactive, containing links to the above documents.

At the end of this 2008 session, we compared paper usage statistics from the 2007 regular session and found that we had reduced our paper usage by 60 percent, having used 6,707,084 less sheets of paper, or, saving the equivalent of 725 trees. Additionally, our website statistics indicated that subscribers to RSS (really simple syndication) feeds from the Legislature’s website tripled from 714,482 hits to 2,561,907 hits between January to April 2008.

Reading is nice, but better yet Searider Productions (Waianae High School students) made a fabulous video explaining the success of the project. (Warning: Watching may make you want to take your next vacation there):

So tell me, in your office, is there more or less paper than a decade or two ago?

Launching A New Website

I wanted you to be the first to know that today we’re launching my new website -www.BarbaraBuono.com- which will serve as a hub for information, communications and constituent relations.  I hope this site will not only be useful for the residents of my own district, but for everyone all across New Jersey.

Often, everyone focuses so much on campaigns and process stories that sometimes people overlook that government provides important services and programs unavailable anywhere else.  So, one particular part of my new website I’m especially excited to unveil is its “Resources” section – which will serve as a one-stop portal for a number of issues facing our state’s residents.  I hope this will serve as a useful tool in answering questions and solving problems. If you think anything can be added that would be helpful to fellow New Jerseyans, I hope you’ll let me know.

In addition to the Resources section, I’m also excited about how we’re recapping some of the places I get to visit across the 18th District and the state.  When you click on “In the Community”, you can join me as I meet so many people and groups, all with interesting stories to share.   Also, please be sure to visit the Newsroom for all the latest news, clips, blogs and press releases from my office.  

Transparency, accountability and efficient government are all principles I’ve championed during my time in the state legislature. I know everyone here at Blue Jersey shares my belief that we need to shine a light on the day-to-day business of state government.  As Senate Majority Leader I promise to continue pushing for reforms to clean up the way business gets done in Trenton.

I’m excited about our new website.  But, I’m just as excited about how advances in technology are revolutionizing the way people communicate. I’ve been on Facebook for a bit and I recently starting tweeting.  I hope you’ll follow me on both social networking sites, so I can keep you in the loop with the latest happenings in Trenton, in my legislative office and at events across the state, as well as with articles and blogs I think might be of interest.

Right now, we have a unique opportunity to push for meaningful reform in the 214th Legislature. For far too long, state government has come up short in its mission and responsibility of making New Jersey the best state in the nation to live, grow and prosper. There are several areas which have been ignored to-date and which we need to focus on right away – including pension reform, a strong State Comptroller with full audit powers over every tax dollar being spent, and finally addressing New Jersey’s out-of-control property taxes. We simply cannot continue to turn a blind eye and put these issues off any longer. I plan on working with Senate President Sweeney, Speaker Oliver and Governor Christie (along with every single legislator and cabinet member) in tackling these issues head-on.

I hope you will explore my new website as we move forward in the new legislative session. It is vital that everyone in the progressive community – and on Blue Jersey in particular – remains active in helping us move our state forward. I hope this website opens new lines of communication and dialogue. And I hope you’ll sign up to join our efforts in improving Trenton and making life better for each and every New Jerseyan.