Tag Archive: Edison

The 7th District Tour Comes to an End

As we turn the page to August, that means there are just over three months to go until Election Day.  And while we might have wrapped up our week-long tour of the 7th district, our conversation with the voters is just beginning.

On Thursday, we started in Edison, where Robert Riedinger showed me around his independent community pharmacy on Oak Tree Road. Upon entering Devine’s Pharmacy, I was greeted with an official sign welcoming me, which was an incredibly kind gesture I very much appreciated. Our independent pharmacists serve an important role in our communities, as millions of Americans rely upon their health care services. It was very helpful to hear about the issues facing pharmacies like Devine’s, and it reminds us all why we need real reforms in our healthcare system. Together, we must work together to guarantee every American access to quality, affordable health coverage.

Next it was on to Woodbridge, where I joined local supporters at the famous Reo Diner.  It’s always nice to stop in and visit with old friends (and as I’m sure you all know, no campaign tour would be complete without a trip to the Reo).  Like everywhere I’ve traveled around the 7th District, families are struggling in Woodbridge. They’re struggling to afford the rising cost of everything, from gas to food to healthcare. And they need a leader in Washington who will fight for them, and bring the change they so desperately need. I’m running for Congress to bring that change. With your help, I’ll work to get us back on the right track.

The afternoon took me to Summit, where I toured Overlook Hospital. There are some great new facilities which were very exciting to explore and learn more about. Again, I was reminded why our healthcare system needs real reform. Rising costs are a disaster for the middle class, as premiums are skyrocketing and the out-of-pocket expenses are growing everyday.

Meanwhile, healthcare providers are hurting and trying to make ends meet. We need reforms that let us keep our doctors and guarantees choice in coverage, while creating a healthcare system of shared responsibility in which individuals, business, and government must all contribute. In Washington, I’ll work to make sure every American has access to quality, affordable healthcare.

I ended the day and the tour at the Summit Democrats’ Picnic. Summit is lucky to have the strong leadership of Mayor Jordan Glatt, a terrific Democrat and a good friend. Thank you to Chairman Paul Dillon for organizing a wonderful event, full of energized Democrats who are hungry for change. It wonderful to end my tour of the district surrounded by so many passionate supporters!

Americans are ready for change, and it starts here in New Jersey’s 7th District. I know I felt the energy, passion and momentum building behind our campaign for change this past week.  And just because the “official week-long tour” has ended, that doesn’t mean we are slowing down by any stretch of the imagination.

This weekend I will be at the Carpenters Local 715 Annual Picnic in Clark to meet supporters and talk more about all these important issues. Next week, I will also be making stops at the Hot Summer Nights Concert Series in Summit, Seafood Fest in Flemington, the India Day Parade in Edison. I hope to see you there!

Plainfield fights to save its hospital

[Promoted by huntsu, saying that this is not just about the Plainfield area but about our state and nation’s attitudes about healthcare]

Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center doesn’t just serve Plainfeld–it serves a broad geographic area and is miles away from its nearest counterpart.  It is a full-service hospital with up-to-date facilities and a wonderful professional staff.

And the corporation that owns it wants to shut it down.

About ten years ago it was “acquired” by Solaris Health Systems, which also owns JFK Hospital in Edison.  Since then, Solaris has done what big corporations do to the smaller corporations they acquire–they siphon all the profitable operations out of them, and then put the rest up for sale–deficit and all.  

That’s exactly what’s been happening.  Several of Muhlenberg’s most valuable units have been moved to JFK.  A good example is the pediatric unit–sick children without insurance, covered by the CHIP program, are sent to JFK, but their uninsured parents must rely on Muhlenberg’s “charity care.”  

Of course, Solaris hasn’t found a buyer they’re willing to sell to–so now they’ve applied to the state for permission to close.  They say they’ll keep the emergency room and a few other limited facilities open–but there’s no guarantee how long that will last.  In any case, Muhlenberg is an essential and highly rated comprehensive hospital, and the area cannot afford to lose it.

The Plainfield community is fighting back, and has been joined by others, including members of the surrounding areas served by Muhlenberg as well as concerned citizens from all over the state. The People’s Organization for Progress and its local allies are leading the struggle. On March 1, about 300 people marched and chanted outside the hospital. Two weeks later, the number participating was nearly 1000.  Letters and petitions are being sent to politicans and newspapers.  Signs saying “Save Muhlenberg” are in storefronts and windows all over town.

And on Saturday, April 5, we are taking our protest to Trenton, where we will rally at 12 noon on the steps of the State House.   Buses will be leaving the parking lot at Park Avenue and Randolph Road in Plainfield at 10 am.  Carpooling is encouraged–and people can meet us there!  Participants include local clergy, members of the business community, educators, medical professionals, parents, family members, and community leaders from the tri-county area served by the Medical Center.  And I hope the Blue Jersey community will be there–the availability of quality health care is a priority for all of us.


Contact Stuart (908-731-1518) or Mary (732-968-9226) or Dottie (908-668-1149) to get involved.

Old New Jersey vs. New New Jersey

Promoted from the diaries — Juan

Yesterday in Edison, about a dozen people protested the flying of the Indian flag in front of the Township municipal building in place of the POW/MIA flag to celebrate India’s Independence Day.  Raising foreign flags in front of town hall has been standard practice in Edison for quite some time, although no protesters turned out for St. Patrick’s Day or Columbus Day flag raisings.

The advertised purpose of the protest was to object to the moving of the POW/MIA flag for a few minutes, but one attendee let her feelings slip out to the Star-Ledger:

“It’s no longer Edison, it’s little India,” said Rosemary Wilson, a 30-year Edison resident, whose father and brother served in the military.

Flipping a few pages ahead in this morning’s Star-Ledger the business section featured a list of the state’s fastest-growing tech companies.  While I can’t find the printed list online, a quick glance at the numbers revealed that a sizeable number of companies – if not an outright majority – were founded and/or headed by New Jerseyans of South Asian descent.

Good bye, Edison hacks

As a former Edison resident, and former communications director for the New Jersey Democratic Party, I was thrilled to read the Star Ledger’s June 6 article “Choi's Slate Ousts Incumbents In Edison.” The Democratic Council had ignored the voters' overwhelming mandate for change in the 2005 Democratic primary – thinking that their status as political insiders insulated them from the will of the people.

When politicians become such hacks that they lose sight of their principles and the people they were elected to represent, it is time for them to go – regardless of their political party. Defeated Council President Charles Tomaro proved this point perfectly. Tomaro was “bitter about his loss to a group of political newcomers,” the Ledger reported, and Tomaro said “Three of them I've never seen at council meetings.”

Wow, that says a lot. Choi's ticket included a school principal, a school activist, a technologist, and a doctor. How much of a hack does someone have to be to think that the only people fit to run for office are insiders who spend their lives at Council meetings? Perhaps in his new free time, Tomaro should pick up a copy of Crashing the Gate.

Tomaro cemented his status as a no-longer-fit-for-office political insider when he said, “We were there for three terms, let's see if they serve three terms.”  I am embarrassed to have ever voted for this guy, and if Tomaro ever runs again I promise right now to give money to his opponent. 

At his victory party, Choi provided a nice contrast to Tomaro, putting principles and modesty first: “We are humbled by the overwhelming support for our positive-change agenda for Edison  Township.” I wish Edison's new Democratic leadership team much luck – and hope they continue to stand with the people over political insiders who've lost their way.


Wrong Finger, Sir


President George W. Bush coming to the Garden State today, bringing with him his 28% approval rating and the dark cloud that follows him everywhere he goes. Fun!

Anti-Bush Rally details here and here. We’ll crank up the Springsteen, and have a few things to say ourselves. Who can bring the beachballs?

In his 6 years in the White House, this is the first time ever that Bush has come here just to raise money for the Jersey Republicans. And yeah, the Republicans really need the cash. Dems have a staggering fundraising advantage, with Dem incumbents going into ’07 with $15.5 million to the Repubs’ $5.3 million, and Dems with more $$ in the bank.

But it’s more than that. Star-Ledger calls it right:

Not since Watergate have New Jersey Republicans endured such a painful losing streak. It’s been a decade since voters last elected a GOP governor. They hold their fewest number of seats in the Legislature since 1979. A Republican presidential candidate hasn’t won the state since Bush’s father ran for office in 1988. And they haven’t won a U.S. Senate seat since before the disco era.

The NJ GOP’s in malaise. From the same Star-Ledger piece, a longtime Republican consultant is quoted, anonymously:

We don’t have an identity of being good at anything or being for anything

They got nothing. And by contrast, the state Dems are surging, with incursions into bastions like Cape May and Bergen counties, and recently Howard Dean’s spirited 50-State Strategy helping to drive surprise Special Election wins in hard-to-crack red areas like Hunterdon, Morris and Ocean counties. And there’s an unprecedented, though still-wobbly sense of cooperation between the NJ State Democratic Committee and activist groups.

So, welcome to New Jersey, Mr. President. The Republicans need the cash you can generate real, real bad. But there’s a huge price to getting too close to you right now. They’ve already got their own dark clouds, after all.

28-Point Approval Rating Man Coming to NJ


In search of Garden State Republican cash, President Bush will be in NJ on Wednesday afternoon, May 30.  It’s $300 for one ticket, and couples don’t get a price break – that’s $600. If you want your picture taken with President, you’re going to pony up $5,000 smackeroos.

That’s a pretty high price for a man with a national approval rating of 28%. In fact, hey, that’s $178.57 per approval rating point, but I hope the Republicans can hold that smile.

Republican state Chair Tom Wilson, Sen. Leonard Lance and Asm Alex DeCroce co-host.

Democrats ought to be able to enjoy the President’s visit too. Stay tuned for details on that.

New Leadership Lights the Way in Edison

Edison Mayor Jun Choi hosted a star studded event Tuesday night with Governor Corzine and former Governor Florio.  At $1000 VIP and $100 per ticket, the event raised several thousands of dollars into the Jun Choi for Mayor campaign account.

The event was very high profile yielding a triple shot of press in the Home News & Star Ledger in only 2 days, attacking Mayor Choi’s consultants, introducing a nemesis, and potentially leading up to a recall election in Edison Township.

While Mayor Choi is not up for election until 2009, there are four council seats up for grabs in 2007 and talk around the campfire is that Choi is gearing up for another battle in Edison.

Two of the council members up for election in 2007, Joan Kapitan & Charlie Tomaro, attended the Mayor’s event.  While Councilmen Sal Pizzi and Peter Barnes III did not attend, and have been profiled in the papers as possibily supporting the idea of a recall election.

It looks like 2007 will be another fun and exciting year  of elections for New Jersey’s 5th largest municipality.

Precident set for ‘unreasonable fees’ in Edison

From the March 24th Star Ledger… and for the next 60 seconds I am a Libertarian.  🙂

The $55 fee that Edison Township charges the public for copies of its council minutes on computer diskette is “unreasonable,” a state appeals court ruled yesterday.

The unanimous ruling, which sets a precedent that must be followed statewide, was a victory for the Libertarian Party, which chal lenged the fee as excessive. The appeals court agreed, noting that the minutes are created in electronic form and can easily be copied to a computer diskette.

  “The actual cost of the diskette is far less than $55,” Appellate Divi sion Judge Jose Fuentes wrote. “Thus, the only discernible rationale for the fee is to discourage the public from requesting the information in this format. Such a policy is not legally sustainable.”

Fuentes said the $55 fee puts “an unreasonable burden on the right of access guaranteed by OPRA,” the state’s Open Public Records Act…

The case was argued in November before Edison Mayor Jun Choi took office. In January, shortly after his inauguration, Choi said he wanted to make township workings “open and transparent.”

“I’m sure we can come up with a mutually agreeable rate. It’s a new day in Edison,” Choi said. “We have some questions why the previ ous administration even contested this in court.”

John Paff, secretary of the Libertarian Party of central New Jersey, said he wanted computer copies of council minutes so he could search them electronically and share them with party members via e-mail and the party’s Web site.

“We’re very pleased,” Paff said. “I’m really hopeful this is going to make a big difference in opening public records.”