Tag Archive: Jim Florio

Taking On the South Jersey Goliath

Whether you’re a disciple of South Jersey Democratic boss George Norcross, or just someone who is running for political office on the Democratic ticket, conventional wisdom says that you don’t get very far without kissing George’s ring. Even those people who are not part of his inner circle take pains not to piss him off if they hope to win an election here.

So challenging George’s brother Donald, who was handpicked to replace another Norcross acolyte who resigned under a cloud of scandal, is a hapless task, right?

Don’t tell that to Alex Law, a 24-year old systems analyst who has put his career on hold in order to challenge The (South Jersey) Donald.

Today, I sat down with Law to discuss his seemingly quixotic quest, his positions on key issues, and his plans for the campaign.

Eagleton’s Morning After – Watch the video

Hours after each primary and general election, Rutgers’ Eagleton Institute of Politics hosts a great “Morning After” discussion in the beautiful white mansion on the New Brunswick campus that serves as Eagleton’s HQ. If you’ve never been to one, those seats get filled fast by reservation, and the discussion is always meaty for political nerds. This morning’s talk, hosted by Eagleton’s John Weingart, is, I believe, only the second one Eagleton’s ever streamed. Great that they do that, and great that they make embeddable video available just seconds after. Thank you, Eagleton.

Protesting Works

Despite the fact that big corporations wield more power than ordinary voters, sometimes our voices are heard and we can savor our small victories.

Case in point is the proposed hazardous waste incinerator proposed for Bristol, PA – just across the Delaware River from New Jersey. The developer was far from forthright in disclosing the types of waste being spewed by his smokestacks and there was concern from the local residents as well as people in Mercer and Burlington Counties. Burlington City hired Governor Jim Florio’s law firm to represent their interests, and at a recent zoning board meeting, air breathers and water drinkers from both sides of the river lodged protests. Burlington County Freeholders Aimee Belgard (D) and Joe Howarth (R) were there to express opposition to the plan.

This opposition worked – at least for now. The developer withdrew his plans and the incinerator is on hold. Of course, the battle is never over, and concerned citizens need to remain vigilant.

The argument that the developer relies on is the creation of local jobs. That may be true, but if we were to legalize crack houses and brothels, those would create jobs too. It’s not the number of jobs we create, but the quality and societal benefit that those jobs bring.

We need to emphasize recycling and conservation to reduce the overall amount of waste that we dispose of. And using our air and water as a repository for the inevitable waste we create is not the right answer. That’s the message we need to send to our corporations and elected officials. Constantly.

What’s Happening Today Thu. 12/19/2013

  Four former governors say “No” to a gas pipeline through the Pinelands: Two Democrats, Brendan Byrne and Jim Florio, and two Republicans, Thomas Kean and Christie Whitman, sent a letter this month to the chairman of the state Pinelands Commission saying the proposal would compromise the integrity of Pinelands. The administration, however, supports building the gas line, but has had no assurance the commission would approve it. In a surprising turn of events last week Philly.com reported, Pinelands Commission member Edward Lloyd, who had raised concerns about the approval process, announced that the state Attorney General’s Office had instructed him to recuse himself from further deliberations because of a possible conflict of interest. Lloyd, a professor of environmental law at Columbia University, responded, “I don’t  think I have a conflict.” Sierra Club Executive Director Jeff Tittle says, “This feels shady. It just looks like bullying and strong-arm tactics from the governor.” The mission of the commission is straightforward: “Protect the Pine Lands.” Like the four Governors, the Commission should just say “No.”

Help for the Uninsured: The enrollment deadline under the Affordable Care Act is Monday, December 23, for people to obtain insurance coverage effective January 1, 2014. To get health insurance marketplace enrollment assistance in New Jersey go here.  NJ for Health Care reminds us that the last opportunity to enroll in coverage on the New Jersey Marketplace will be March 31st, but consumers eligible for the NJ Family care expansion can enroll anytime.

The State Senate and Assembly will hold voting sessions this afternoon starting around 1:00pm. They have a lot on their plate. The Senate bills are listed here. The Assembly bills are listed here.

The “Dream Act” (S2479) which allows both in-state tuition rates and financial aid to students who grew up in New Jersey but whose parents brought them to the country illegally will likely pass the Assembly today and be sent to the Governor who will likely conditionally or even absolutely veto it. Chris Christie some time ago signaled his support for tuition equality knowing the Senate bill included State financial aid. Our equivocating governor more recently explained he is opposed to the State financial aid component. Chris “Have It Both Ways” Christie (appealing to moderates and the base simultaneously) agrees that Dreamers are worthy of tuition equality rates but not the financial aid which they need and which others receive.

Rush Holt: Rocket Scientist & Mechanic & Jeopardy Winner & Jeopardy Host

I collect winning anecdotes about my old boss, Representative (he prefers it to Congressman) Rush Holt, this is a new favorite. Can’t help it. He’s a cool dude. Here’s a new one, from my friend, Deputy COS/District Director Sarah Steward:

You’d know that you work for a good guy if he was out of the car before you knew it, kneeling in a puddle, changing your flat tire on the side of the road in Trenton without making you feel dumb even though your own foolish driving mistake was to blame for the popped tire. If, you know, such a theoretical thing ever happened. In unrelated news: I work for a good guy.

So right. Last night, Rush was a hands-on trainer at Princeton meeting – hosted by ACLU-NJ, Garden State Equality & the Unitarians- teaching how to lobby legislators to vote to override Christie’s veto on marriage. You don’t often find people in Holt’s position giving out the secrets of what makes people like him, or legislators, tick. Very useful.

Jeopardy: We don’t usually note fundraisers here, but one I want to is Rush Holt’s Jeopardy fundraiser Thursday night. Holt, 5-time Jeopardy winner and the man who reduced the mighty IBM supercomputer Watson to a helpless little Atari in Jeopardy, will play Alex Trebek to a bunch of smartypantses.


Tom Byrne (former Dem state chair)

Marie Corfield, LD-16 Assembly candidate, former Jeopardy contestant for reals

Lizette Delgado-Polanco, SEIU ED & Buono’s pick for DSC vice-chair

Princeton Prof. Jeffrey Eugenides Pulitzer Prize winning author

Gov. Jim Florio (defending his title as 2012 winner)

Professor Sean Wilentz, Bancroft Prize-winning historian on the Princeton faculty

Assemblyman John Wisniewski, NJDSC chair


Gov. Richard J. Codey

Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, chair Buono for Governor  

This event’s always fun, the contestants fun. And I’m pumped my candidate and friend Marie Corfield is playing. But I’m a mass of jelly to meet one of my favorite authors, Jeffrey Eugenides, now on the Princeton faculty teaching creative writing, and the author of Middlesex (which shed much light for me on what life can be like for an intersex person, like one of my friends is) and captured 1967 Detroit perfectly, the year I moved there. And The Virgin Suicides, so good.

Got a cool fundraiser coming up? Hit us up in comments.