Tag Archive: Passaic County

The Millennial Vs. The Dinosaur in CD5

Cross Posted from my Blog at The Epoch Times

A Race for the Ages

NJ’s 5th District Congressional race is catching national attention. I think of it as the Millennial vs. the Dinosaur race.  The youth vote may be pivotal here.  32 year old Democrat Roy Cho is challenging Tea Party elder Scott Garrett for what had been a safely Republican seat for many years. The differences in the candidates and their positions could not be more stark.

At Roy Cho’s HQ opening on August 4th, even I was surprised by the turnout. I had attended fundraisers for Congressional candidates in the 5th district for a few years now.  I even hosted a few. I know the district and I know the candidates, but Roy Cho has been by far the most promising according to many of the experienced campaign hands I have talked to recently. Especially the ones I met opening night.

Scott Garrett – The Invisible Man

This time I went as a blogger trying to get a sense of exactly what the chances might be of a challenger finally defeating Congressman Scott Garrett in NJ’s 5th District.  Scott Garrett, the current Congressman in NJ’s 5th was “Tea Party, before there even was a Tea Party” according to Cho. In previous blogs I have dubbed Congressman Scott Garret “The Social Darwinist Against Evolution”, and “Punxatawny Garrett”, because while voting against aid for Katrina victims as well as against aid for Sandy victims (an easy vote for him, because the only town in his district affected by Sandy was Alpine and Sandy struck an Interstate Park, not voters), constituents like me only hear from Garrett once every two years. In fact, we see the famous Groundhog from Pennsylvania more often than the agoraphobic NJ Congressman who emerges from his bunker once every two years.  According to Cho, Garrett’s public office actually has locked doors keeping the public from accessing him.  

I thought it telling that I have been receiving  more Garrett Robocalls than usual. I received an email from Garrett trying to defend his colleagues in what has been dubbed the “Do Nothing Congress” the day after Cho’s successful campaign roll-out where hundreds of Cho’s supporters were packed in the large room and even spilling out the door.

The reason this seemed extremely unusual for a 5th District rollout was the enthusiasm. Many formerly jaded politicos, the kind I could never ever get to a campaign event for a Democrat in the 5th District when I was a committeewoman here think Cho has a real chance. This is definitely new.

I’m Running for County Clerk!

Good luck, buddy. Promoted by Rosi

Just wanted to share the news here first: this morning, the Passaic County Democratic Organization’s Executive Committee voted to select me as the party’s choice for Passaic County Clerk. Our full County Committee will meet Wednesday, March 26, hopefully to confirm that choice, and then it will be off to the races.

The County Clerk serves Passaic County’s 500,000+ residents in some of the more important matters of their lives – recording real estate Deeds and Mortgages, processing Passports and Veteran’s ID cards, and even … wait for it … performing marriage ceremonies! And, significantly, the Clerk’s office also processes the County’s Vote by Mail Ballots (almost 20,000 of them last year – and growing). It is an enormously important role.

I’m honored. I’m humbled, and I’m really excited to get started. 2014 is a terrific year to be running as a Democrat in Passaic County, with Senator Booker and Congressman Pascrell at the top of the ticket, Freeholders Bruce James and TJ Best running for reelection, and great municipal races with strong candidates throughout the County. (And everyone reading this is invited to come join us!)

Although I’ll be taking a campaign hiatus from the frontpage at Blue Jersey, I’ll still be reading here and writing about politics and my own race in the sidebar. So, stay tuned, and wish me luck! 🙂  

Double Dipping in LD34

Full Disclosure: I am Mark Alexander’s Communications Director.

This past week, 34th District State Senate candidate Mark Alexander appeared on NJTV‘s On The Record with Michael Aron. Unfortunately, Senator Gill refused to appear on the show with Mark, so they appeared in back-to-back interviews. Our campaign will continue to call for Senator Gill to debate in every community in the 34th District so residents are given the opportunity to hear directly from those looking to represent them in Trenton.

One thing was most telling about Senator Gill’s interview. In discussing her $50,000 no-bid legal contract with the Essex County Improvement Authority, she said the following:

“I’m a lawyer. I’ve been a lawyer for 28 years and I’ve had this job for the last five [the $50,000 contract with the Essex County Improvement Authority]. They are a client. And so, it is nothing that has not been reported on. It is on my disclosure form. The no-bid contract is a service contract, it’s not a contract that is no-bid because of me.”

This is the problem in New Jersey. Too many State Legislators are benefitting from inside deals like this one, and think it is acceptable conduct. How can Senator Gill be independent when part of her livelihood is dependent on a public contract given to her by the Essex County party bosses? When Governor Christie dismantled NJN, Senator Gill was a willing participant. Why? The Essex County bosses made her fall in line.

A State Senator getting a no-bid contract from a public entity is unacceptable.

Mark isn’t going to Trenton for a job or contract. He is going to serve the people of the 34th District, first and foremost. As a tenured Law Professor at Seton Hall, he doesn’t need to worry about outside influences affecting how he votes. The people will always be his first priority. And his independence will be unquestioned.  

Watch the full segment here.

I’m not afraid to fight Scott Garrett

promoted by Rosi

This past Saturday, I officially announced that I am a candidate for Congress in New Jersey’s 5th District. Our priority as Democrats right now must be finding the best candidate to unseat this extremist and get real representation in Congress – someone fighting for middle class values, not right wing ideologies.   I’m not afraid to fight Scott Garrett and his extreme positions that hurt middle class families across New Jersey and the 5th District.  During my three terms on the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders I have worked across the aisle with Republicans and Democrats alike to get things done.  I will bring that same type of leadership to the halls of Congress.

We need common sense solutions, not partisan bickering.

I know what it takes to win in Republican territory.  In 2010, Democrats were swept out of office in record numbers across New Jersey and the nation.  This wasn’t the case in Passaic County.  On a ticket led by Congressman Pascrell, we bucked the national trend and were reelected by a strong margin – even with a popular Sheriff dropping out of the race only two months before Election Day.   We need a Democrat who can go into Republican territory and make a populist appeal to voters.  And most importantly, expose Congressman Garrett’s extreme record.

I know I am that candidate in 2012.

I want to join the ranks of giants like Senator Frank Lautenberg, Senator Bob Menendez and Congressman Bill Pascrell to put our nation back on track.  I will work with Democrats across the 5th District to ensure victories up-and-down the ballot. Now more than ever we need to come together and beat Scott Garrett.  I am going to need your help in the coming months talking to your neighbors, going door-to-door and  exposing Scott Garrett’s extreme record in Congress.  And I hope you’ll follow my campaign on Twitter and Facebook as we move forward.  

CD5 and CD3

I have lived in Northwestern New Jersey in CD5 for over 30 years, but for the last 9+ years I have had the misfortune of having Scott Garrett as my Representative in Congress. Assemblywoman Connie Wagner would be my choice to unseat him. Having served in the Assembly since 2008, representing the 38th District, she has proven to be a champion of progressive ideals and values. I also think that Connie will be able to raise a significant amount of money in order to compete against Garrett and the Tea Party money.

Dr. Tom Sacks-Wilner lives in Medford, CD3. For several years I have been a donor to Tom’s fundraising/bundling group. He is a person who raises money readily and efficiently. With an expansive donor base that he has fashioned, he can easily raise at least $6 million from now to November 6. His ability to fundraise will provide the mandatory funds needed to define Jon Runyan. He has been politically active behind the scenes, especially in progressive causes.

In light of the Republican-favorable redistricting, Connie and Tom would each have a mountain to climb to defeat their respective opponent; however the challenge is certainly not insurmountable. I believe both would make their races interesting, should they choose to run.  

Bill Pascrell Releases Endorsement List

UPDATE: After this was posted I heard from Philip Swibinski of Team Rothman saying his candidate’s endorse list has grown since we published it , and that Team Pascrell’s claim of Bergen Freeholder David L. Ganz’ endorsement is not correct.



Congressman Bill Pascrell today released a list of Democrats endorsing him in the primary in the reconfigured 9th congressional district, which will pit two incumbent Democrats, Pascrell and Steve Rothman, against each other.

Rep. Bill Pascrell Endorsement List is after the fold.

It’s a long list, longer than Steve Rothman’s endorsement list, which was released almost immediately after he announced formally that he’s challenging Pascrell.

Jim Florio is on this list. And if current members of the NJ congressional delegation are staying officially neutral, former congressman Herb Klein is not. Klein’s home base, like Pascrell’s, is Passaic. He was elected to Congress from the 8th congressional district in 1992, and spent 4 years (1977-81) as Executive Director of the Passaic County Democratic Committee.

Pascrell’s list – which includes Passaic Chair (and strong Pascrell advocate) John Currie and his vice-chair Barbara Tanis, 7 legislators (including Sheila Oliver), Passaic Sheriff Richard Berdnik, 9 Freeholders (from Passaic, Bergen & Hudson), and 3 mayors (including Haledon’s Dominick Stampone, who posts here). Municipal leaders for Pascrell – there are 7 – include Hawthorne’s Jeff Gardner. The man he replaced as Hawthorne’s Democratic municipal chair, outgoing Senator John Girgenti, is one of the legislators listed

Pascrell’s list also dips into Council members, which Rothman’s did not – 28 are listed. Another category not represented on the list Rothman released Dec. 28 is Board of Education members; Pascrell lists 11 Dems among them supporting him.

A group of Latino elected leaders from Paterson declined to endorse either Democrat, citing the “respect and admiration” held for both men. That would have to be a disappointment to Pascrell; the city has a large Latino population. Paterson is the 9th’s base; Pascrell was born there, once served on the city’s Board of Education and the Board of Trustees of Passaic County Community College (main campus is in Paterson). He was mayor of Paterson for 7 years.

Rep. Bill Pascrell Endorsement List is after the fold.

No time for politics

Keith Kazmark is running for mayor in Woodland Park. – promoted by Rosi

Unless you’ve been in hibernation the last week, everyone has seen the magnitude of the damage caused by Hurricane Irene.  The flooding has been historical.  People are displaced, losing their belongings and dealing with the realization of a prolonged rebuilding process.  In my hometown of Woodland Park it has been especially bad, as we sit right inside the Passaic River Basin.  

For the last week, I’ve been working in my role as a member of the Woodland Park Office of Emergency Management to help my neighbors in any way I can. Piling sand bags, assisting our first responders to evacuate people from dangerous areas and helping residents deal with the malaise of PSE&G and power outages.  It hasn’t been an easy process, but we are coming together as a community to get through this disaster.  

But when I hear statements injecting politics into this disaster like we saw from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, I can’t contain my frustration.  

Cantor’s reluctance to fund the Federal Office of Emergency Management is beyond comprehension.  

An update on our campaign

Our campaign is off to a great start with residents contacting us daily to get involved and offering to pitch in with our effort.  Unfortunately, we are faced with an unexpected curveball in this year’s general election.  Councilman Dominick DiDimenico has filed to run as an “Independent candidate for Mayor,” now making this a three-way race.

Obviously, we are disappointed that a Democratic Councilman whom we supported for over ten years in his runs for the Board of Education and Borough Council would turn his back on our party.   Now we are hearing rumors that the Scott Rumana faction of the GOP in town has unanimously endorsed his candidacy.  In less than a week he has gone from being a Democrat, to an Independent, to Republican-backed.  It shows his true character that he would get into bed with the ethically challenged Rumana who is currently under investigation for abusing his office.

Our plan for victory on Election Day is unchanged whether there is two, three, or twenty candidates in this race.  I am going to knock on every door twice and make my case as the best candidate to lead our Borough for the next three years.  In Woodland Park we know what it takes to run a grassroots operation. Over the last fifteen years we turned this town from a Republican stronghold to the highest performing suburb for the Democratic Party in Passaic County.    

Once we took the majority in local government, we started the process of getting our community back on track.  Mayor Pat Lepore stabilized our budget, protected open space, and revitalized our recreation programs.  I want to build on the foundation already in place and continue to move Woodland Park forward with new shared services agreements and new economic policies to bring investment, create efficiencies, and expand our local tax base.  

I hope the Blue Jersey community can pitch in with my campaign – spreading the word about my Facebook and Twitter pages to grow our numbers.  Or even joining us this weekend for a Comedy Night to support my campaign.  

This current situation isn’t ideal, but I know we will be able to overcome this roadblock and keep this seat in Democratic hands come Election Day.    

Anti-gay? Anti-semitic? Or just disgusting?

Here we go again in Hawthorne. Those of you who follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook may have wondered over the last day or so what I was alluding to when talking about anti-gay politicking in Hawthorne. Well, here’s the story:

Anti-gay palmcardAnti-gay politicking fails again in Hawthorne

We have 4 Ward Council races this year, and in 3 of those Wards, we had an uncontested primary yesterday. But, one of our candidates – Rob VanDeusen, an Iraq War veteran and volunteer firefighter – faced a contested primary against a perennial candidate in town, Phil Speulda, who stooped to new lows in dirty campaigning, using hateful language that has no place in Hawthorne, let alone in a Democratic primary anywhere.

Speulda delivered the pictured palmcard throughout the Ward, announcing:

As you may know our Hawthorne Democratic County Committee and the Row A Passaic County Democratic Organization, Inc. Line has been hi-jacked by a fringe special interest group that raises their money from gay marriage activists who don’t represent our Good Old Fashion Christian Values no less know the issues of our good town of Hawthorne.

(Hmmm. Now where have I heard language like that before in Hawthorne?)

The palmcard goes on to call our candidate “IRRESPONSIBLE and FLAMBOYANT” and asks voters to choose “The Alternate Democratic Candidate running against The Alternate Lifestyle Candidate.” It closes with a photo plucked from Facebook that was probably foolish to post, but certainly not salacious in any way, and proclaims “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” to suggest/remind the reader that Rob VanDeusen is gay. (Rob is also Jewish, but these days it is hard to tell which “Good Old Fashion Christian Values” one is not living up to.)

So, what to do? Should we have complained loudly about the piece ahead of the primary? Maybe. But, we chose instead to focus on our GOTV operation, and the results spoke for themselves: Rob won the primary 70%-30%. Chalk one up for the good people of Hawthorne who rejected bigotry for the second consecutive year.

But, here’s the most interesting part: the paid-for line. Ah, the paid-for line. The paid-for line on this piece says: “printed on home printer with leftover 2007 campaign material” (I told you he was a perennial candidate). The problem is, we know this candidate has no home computer, let alone a home printer, let alone a color printer. Nor is he on Facebook. And this piece is very obviously professionally designed and printed, in full color, two-sided, perfectly cut, and with graphic design far above the skills of this candidate (or me for that matter).

Someone paid for this hit piece – there is no doubt about it. Someone who did not want people to know about their involvement. Someone who would be embarrassed (at least) if they were exposed as financing Speulda’s campaign. So, on the heels of another victory in Hawthorne, we’ve got our next mission: to find out who financed this hate lit, and expose them.

Wish us luck!