Tag Archive: Linda Stender

“Women’s Health Is Being Held Hostage By Ideology and Propaganda”

With the above words Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37) welcomed pink-attired attendees to a rally in front of a Planned Parenthood site in Englewood which no longer has sufficient funds to open on Tuesdays or Saturdays. Family planning and women’s health care are under assault both in the House where Republicans passed a bill to eliminate all federal funding for Planned Parenthood and in New Jersey where Governor Christie also opposed its funding. Senator Lautenberg said, “We’re going to make sure Planned Parenthood can continue serving the health care needs of families in New Jersey and across the country.”

Senator Lautenberg went on to say, “Planned Parenthood is under attack by Tea Party Republicans who have put their extremist ideology above women’s health.” A smaller contingent of opponents held a particularly nasty sign which said Planned Parenthood was aiding and abetting underage sex trafficking. Sen. Lautenberg engaged the protesters and quieted them as he asked if they support mammograms, cervical exams and other routine health services the agency provides.  more below…

Rally for Women’s Health Tomorrow!

Hey Blue Jersey!  Anyone around to tomorrow to show off a little pink??  Please join the big pink Planned Parenthood bus along with U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey Senator Loretta Weinberg, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, and Assemblywoman Linda Stender in standing up for women’s health TOMORROW, Tuesday, March 22nd.

We’ll be holding a rally to show our elected officials that New Jersey is opposed to these attempts take away preventive and lifesaving care – including cervical cancer screening, breast exams, and HIV testing for women throughout our state.

Gather the women who are important to you, along with other friends and loved ones, and meet us at 11:00 a.m. at the Englewood Planned Parenthood Health Center to make your voice heard. Just look for the pink bus!

Rally for Women’s Health

11:00 a.m.

TOMORROW, Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Englewood Planned Parenthood Health Center

46 Van Brunt St.

Englewood, NJ 07631

If you can’t make the rally, you can join us online at www.womenshealthmattersnj.org. For questions or to RSVP contact jessica.ohanlon@ppfa.org

NJ-7 debates: Will GOP’s Leonard Lance snub Hunterdon, Somerset & Middlesex?

I live in Hunterdon County. Leonard Lance, whom I’ve known for years, is my congressman. It’s hard to explain to someone outside this crimson geography Hunterdon’s relationship with Lance. He’s a known presence on the street, as his father Wesley Lance –  who preceded him in both the Assembly and Senate – was. A friendly person, even if you don’t always agree.

Why then is Lance ducking a debate with his Democratic challenger, Ed Potosnak, here on Hunterdon home turf? I’m bamboozled.

Potosnak’s asked Lance to debate for months. Hearing nothing back, Potosnak accepted 6 debate invitations himself. Potosnak finally heard from Lance last week, a friendly call but without Lance agreeing on the number of debates, location, or dates. (Potosnak also invited Lance on a side-by-side grassroots tour of the District together – yes, he declined).

Now comes word Lance will accept just 2 debates – one for TV (hosted outside NJ-7), and only one in NJ-7 – in Union County. Far away from Lance’s home turf. Why is that? You’d think Lance would insist on at least one matchup here where he’s served the public his entire adult life, where his father’s political legacy still commands respect, where Chris Christie had victory just 11 months ago. Is he concerned his support in the reddest part of NJ-7 has eroded? Lance had 3 Tea Party-inspired opponents – the most of anyone in NJ. Two are from Hunterdon; David Larsen (Tewksbury), the strongest, who’s already signaled he’s running in 2012, and Alonzo “Lon” Hosford (Milford).

Still, I’m surprised Lance declines to stand up here in this county he’s represented for years, and face his opponent. Looks like Middlesex and Somerset get snubbed, too. Two years ago, he wanted more debate with Linda Stender.Is this the same guy? What happens next?  

Zombie Party Discipline – Will it Give Way to Compromise & Reconciliation?

Monday’s Senate failure to override Gov. Christie’s veto for women’s health funding was infuriating – for the women and men who may lose access to crucial medical care, screening and advice, and for the apparent sacrifice of reason & responsibility to pure zombie party discipline. I have so much appreciation for legislators who fought the good fight, for women and men who showed their support, and for the resilience of lawmakers like Loretta Weinberg and Linda Stender, who refuse to get mowed down and continue to propose solutions. Just after the vote, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Democratic legislators announced new legislation, for only $5M of $7.5M Christie cut from the budget, requiring the state to apply for federal matching dollars for Medicaid-eligible health care consumers. Too early to know how that will fly, but it would be welcome to see movement now on the GOP side. It’s been a disappointing few weeks watching some of them.

In the fight to retain needed funding for health care access for women and men who often have nowhere else to turn, here are some of the things legislators on the right side of this issue have done:

  • answered a Governor’s veto with a solid alternative plan;

  • found revenue-neutral plan suggested by non-partisan OLS;

  • asked NJ Treasurer his reasoning why that funding source wouldn’t work;

  • invited him to testify, messaged him, took a delegation to his office;

  • When he would not answer, OPRA’d his documentation;

  • gave requested extensions for that OPRA’d info – twice;

  • ran a full Senate override vote and lost – Monday;

  • lost by the # of GOP Senators who yanked support for GOP party discipline;

  • undaunted, will now approach funding from another angle.  

    And the Governor – whose actions here seem more and more wrapped in anti-choice disapproval and distortions and less and less  (as he insists) a function of budgetary concern – has done nothing but stay silent as his GOP party chair muddied discussion with warped rhetoric. No, that’s not even what he did. Asm Jay Webber went on a major nutty about sex, and implied somehow that family planning advocates are trying to prevent poor women from having babies. Gov. Christie’s silence made him complicit, and brand him an ideologue.

    Today, Republican Senators, who were for this before they were against it before their orders from on high refused to override the veto of a governor whose ascendant power they apparently view as more powerful than their own ability to decide, whose executive branch they may take more seriously than the branch of this government they serve. It failed by pure party line vote. A show of GOP party impressively disciplined and disappointingly reasoned.

    Some people are more culpable than others. Jay Webber’s so far gone on this issue he sees abortionists hiding under every bed and in every closet. Gov. Christie, likely ditto. GOP senators Diane Allen, Christopher “Kip” Bateman, Andrew Ciesla, Christopher Connors, Sean Kean, Robert Singer traded in some dignity August 3rd. Jennifer Beck joined them today. I’d like to think that some of these GOP Senators will redeem themselves, if they see possibility in this compromise. I’m going to say there’s hope there.

    After the fold, I’ll post the full statement of Sweeney and colleagues’ statement, which offers more detail about the compromise solution, and quotes. Also after the jump, a short video of Asw Linda Stender’s response to the loss. So, jump:

  • LISTEN LIVE: Veto override vote on women’s health

    UPDATE: Veto override vote failed 23-17. Senators Jennifer Beck and Diane Allen both indicated they would have interest in finding alternative funding. We’ll post more detail as we get it.

    Also see Jay’s diary from Trenton.

    I’m listening – or trying – to the live feed from the NJ Senate session, which is now taking up an override vote on Gov. Christie’s veto of women’s health care access funding. The link is not embeddable and I’m having all kinds of trouble hearing it. Listen Live – maybe you’ll have better luck. Jay is at the State House and we’ll be getting some color commentary later.

    Already Senator Weinberg, with Assemblywomen Linda Stender, Pam Lampitt and Linda Greenstein at her side has talked about her frustration getting straight answers from the NJ Treasurer whose response to her Open Public Records request for the figures and documents detailing his decision that alternative funding for women’s health cannot be provided via the route suggested by the non-partisan Office of Legislative Service. Weinberg had some figures of her own to cite, among them:

  • 136K women and men able to access basic health care through family planning centers.

  • 40,000 unplanned pregnancies prevented through this program.

  • 70,000 women received breast exams. 4,000 referred to mammograms through that initial testing, providing the crucial prescription from a physician which is the only way to have access to mammogram.

  • 130,000 testing for sexually transmitted disease.

  • More than 70,000 people cared for there, that have no health care coverage otherwise.

    Senator Buono also took the floor, disparaging an Op-Ed by the leader of NJ Right to Life which called Planned Parenthood “radical.”

  • Fighting for Women’s Healthcare

    Mammograms, vaccinations, and prenatal care are just a few of the services that are unavailable to poor people in New Jersey thanks to Governor Christie’s veto of a recent women’s health care bill.

    IMG_0299

    It’s hard to imagine a more sensible use of money than investing it on preventative health care, which is why activists are lining up outside the State House (above) and in the Senate gallery (below) to urge NJ’s upper house to overturn Christie’s Veto.

    IMG_0300

    It takes twenty-eight votes to override a veto and today the prospects look pretty grim and according to my mathskillz we don’t have the votes for it anyway. Which is a shitty deal for poor people (who can’t get care) and taxpayers who end up with massive charity care bills.

    More below the fold

    Photo: Rally for NJ Women’s Healthcare

    As we’re waiting for news of a planned veto override vote in the NJ Senate on Gov. Christie’s veto of women’s healthcare funding, I wanted to post this picture taken about noon during the pre-vote rally outside on the State House steps. That’s Assemblywoman Linda Stender speaking. Photo’s courtesy NJDSC. The session of the full NJ Senate – scheduled to start 1pm – is still listed as pending.

    Women's Healthcare Rally - Statehouse 9/20/10

    Ladies … Fellas … What are you doing next Tuesday night?

    You want to call some friends?

    In the lead up to a show-down on Gov. Christie’s decision to cut out state funding for un- and under-insured women’s access to basic health care, the Democrats are announcing a phone bank:



    Tuesday, Sept. 14

    5:30-8:30pm


    NJDSC HQ

    196 West State Street, Trenton

    The purpose of the calls is to reach out to supporters to remind them to ask their own elected officials to vote Yes for to override Gov. Christie’s veto on women’s health care a few days later, on September 20. No doubt many of you who show up – men, how cool it would be if you’d be there too – are experienced phone bankers. But I should also point out that calls to allies – as these calls will be – are the most rewarding calls to make. Easy.

    Blue Jersey’s own Senator Loretta Weinberg has been front and center, the strongest advocate in the Senate to find and get approval to replace the funds and continue to make cancer screenings, HIV testing and pre-and post-natal care available to people who have no other reliable place to go for care. The Christie administration has nixed the alternative funding source suggested by the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services (OLS) but thusfar has provided no reason why those funds should not be used. The governor wants this to go away.

    Can you be there? Email Heather or call 609-392-3367.  

    Weinberg hits Christie administration with 3 OPRA requests

    Loretta Weinberg has had it with the Christie administration’s delaying tactics.

    Weinberg – prime Senate sponsor of legislation to restore $7.5 million in state funding to women’s health and family planning programs – has filed 3 Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests with State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristof, looking for information behind the Christie administration’s objections to budget-neutral funding source identified in her bill (S-2139). Weinberg:

    If the Treasurer can’t bring himself to work with us to identify funding solutions for critical women’s health programs, than we’ll use the tools at our disposal to access public information and hopefully dispel the myth that our funding source doesn’t work.

    State funding was cut from the budget by the governor. An alternative revenue-neutral source suggested by the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services (OLS), taps surplus funds in the State Employee Prescription Drug Program. The funding would provide greater access by women and men to basic health services including cancer and high blood pressure screenings, HIV testing, pre- and post-natal care, treatment for sexually-transmitted disease, and contraception. Abortions are off that list; the funding does not cover their payment.

    Weinberg’s right to get to the bottom of the Christie administration’s truculence. If Sidamon-Eristoff has reason to dispute the alternative funding source, he should be able to provide those reasons beyond the vague and unspecific short letter he provided to Weinberg (the Treasurer skipped a request to answer questions publicly before the Senate Health Committee, which Weinberg chairs).

    What Weinberg is looking for, if the funding source is faulty as they say it is, is cooperation from the administration to work with her and Asw Linda Stender – the go-to in the Assembly – to replace that funding with a better solution. The OPRA requests, she says, are the administration’s opportunity to either produce documentation for their objections or admit Christie’s real opposition is driven by “his out of touch, far-right political ideology.”

    Ball’s in their court.  

    NJ Democrats: What I want to know

    What I want to know is why the New Jersey Democrats could spare 10 lawmakers for a Summit in Atlantic City, to spend one entire day chattering about gambling, horses and tourists. And let Loretta Weinberg and Linda Stender walk into a room by themselves to be ambushed by GOP staffers one-upping them with news that women’s health funding just lost all key GOP support.

    What about this confuses you Democrats, in terms of priority?

    Does nobody in the Democratic Party get the disastrous optics of this? All that Dem firepower all day long to rescue gambling industries that on their best day are fun places to spend leisure money and on their worst are a regressive tax on poor saps we tempt into risking their mortgage money while distracting them with half-dressed women, colored lights and booze? While what’s at stake for the women of New Jersey is maintaining access to health care for at least 40,000 women? That is necessity, not leisure. Are you kidding me?

  • Tell me all you want that the AC Summit was about jobs. Union jobs. Good.

  • Shut the GOP out of your summit because Christie’s Hanson Commission was hand-picked and secretive. Whatev.

  • Suit up to fight off a Christie takeover AC plan that’s GOP incursion on your Democratic-controlled city. If you must.

    But you did not look good doing this. You let the conversation in the papers be about your decision to shut out the GOP. No less outrageous than the governor’s choices, but way more public, and thus more publicly petty. Particularly when you start trotting out old turf wars North v. South, which was some time after the bugler dressed in a red costume get-up opened the summit like he was blowing the start of some race. Do you feel me here?

    Legislating with the Governor from Hell must be demoralizing and frustrating. But it’s time to get your act together. And leaving two women legislators hanging in the wind to advocate for the most at-risk members of half your citizenry is not it.

    I don’t know if the Dems have the legislative strength to overcome this veto, now that Christie pulled the leash on GOP senators Diane Allen, Kip Bateman, Andrew Ciesla, Christopher Connors, Sean Kean & Robert Singer, and stopped them thinking for themselves. Is this override just a sinking ship you don’t wanna be on? If so, think again. You want to be Democrats, you’re going to have to show up for women, and for people at risk. You’re not going to do that, you’ll have to call yourself something else.

    Because the GOP’s dominated by the Christies and the Jay Webbers, for whom Roe v. Wade isn’t settled law, it’s law they don’t feel like recognizing. Access to birth control and the prevention of unplanned pregnancy isn’t access to health care for them, it’s an excuse to inflict their opinions about morality on the rest of us on women, never risking their own lives. Forget pap smears, breast cancer screenings – that’s not even on their radar.

    We see you Dems who came out for women. Thank you. But, Democrats, for most of you – Your house is burning, and you left your women inside while you went to the track. Get straight.