Tag Archive: Sandra Cunningham

2018 Democratic Leadership Team

Retweeted Steve Sweeney (@NJSenatePres): I am pleased to announce the outstanding leadership team of Majority Leader @SenatorLorettaW, President Pro Temp M. Teresa Ruiz, Deputy Majority Leader & Budget Chair @PaulASarlo, Deputy Majority Leader & Higher Education Chair Sandra Cunningham &…
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Koch Conspirators

There’s an old Middle Eastern saying, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” I don’t buy into this philosophy, but it does provide a starting point for evaluating that enemy of my enemy.

Today, the Koch Brothers’ organization, Americans for Prosperity, released a 2014 scorecard of New Jersey legislators. AFP has a simplistic philosophy – government and taxes are bad. However, the real world is more nuanced than that, but it’s interesting to see how AFP rated some of our New Jersey legislators.

Video Recap of #NJEdMarch27

Pulling this back up top again. Two reasons: It went up late yesterday after sensible people had already closed their computers. Also, it’s just that good. – REE

There’s something happening here …

On Thursday of this week, there was a statewide rally in support of public education in Trenton at the Statehouse. There were student activists, parents, community members, teachers … and some of our NJ legislators stepped out of the statehouse to join. Here’s a video recap. Please share this on Facebook and your social networks. Thanks much.

#NJEdMarch27 from Ronen Kauffman on Vimeo.

What’s Happening Today Thu. 10/24/2013

Our Deteriorating Infrastructure: Two bridges less than a mile from me which I use many times each week are in serious disrepair. Gov. Christie’s concern for and funding of State infrastructure projects is a big problem today and growing more dire as time progresses. “The 113-year-old Midtown Bridge, a heavily traveled link across the Hackensack River between Bogota and Hackensack, has been shut down because of structural issues, authorities said Tuesday.” Last year a state review found “The 41-year-old Anderson bridge between Teaneck and Hackensack required significant repairs, prompting Bergen County officials to lower the allowed weight limit and forcing eleven bus routes serving about 2,000 riders to be detoured indefinitely off the bridge.” Needed repair has not been started.

Barbara Buono on her website emphasizes she “has  been a strong supporter of the ARC project and understands the value of investing in our infrastructure to make our workers and our businesses more competitive.” Below is what Tri-State Transportation Campaign in an October report says about Christie’s new budget:

“The analysis  shows that NJDOT is moving further away from a “fix-it-first” approach despite the deteriorating conditions of its existing road and bridge infrastructure … 10 percent of its bridges and 41 percent of its highway pavements are not in acceptable condition…The State plans on investing 25 percent of the Capital Program’s dollars on projects that repair or preserve the State’s existing roads and bridges, down from nearly 30 percent in the 2013 Capital Program.”

Environmental groups at 12:00 noon will hold a news conference to release a Superstorm Sandy recovery scorecard, grading recovery efforts at the federal and state levels, and identifying what needs to be done, at the Statehouse’s Room 109, Trenton. In the meantime the Senate and Assembly joint environmental committees have held four Sandy hearings across the state. Gov. Christie has done a masterful job of portraying his super-human actions related to the storm, but when it comes to answering hard questions he stonewalls. Assemblywoman Grace Spencer (D-29), co-chair of the hearings, on NJTV last night said that Richard Constable, DCA Commissioner, and Mark Ferzan, tasked by the Governor to oversee and coordinate Sandy recovery efforts, were asked to testify at the hearings but refused to attend any of them.

What’s Happening in your District? NJ Spotlight provides a brief overview of the legislative races in each district. Go here.


Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: Barbara Buono: 11:45am, Middlesex County Retired Educators Association Luncheon, East Brunswick Chateau, 678 Cranbury Rd., East Brunswick.

Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign: Chris Christie: 10:00am, campaign stop with Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. and Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura, Caldwell Fire Department, Caldwell;  11:30am, announcement about business tax savings, Vac-U-Max headquarters, Belleville.

NJPIRG Law & Policy : 10am, with Sens. Sandra Cunningham and Robert Singer, conference call to release a report about which private student-loan lenders generated the most complaints from borrowers to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Open thread: Add an event taking place today of interest to our readers, or email items for this column the evening before to BillOrr563@gmail.com

The Hotly Contested CD 10

In CD 10 the  race remains open with four key competing veteran Democrats who have been in office for multiple cycles. In other districts except for CD 9 the outcome is more predictable and there are fewer seasoned politicians in each race. New developments in this tri-county contest include added support for Senator Nia Gill (D-34). Surprisingly, however, she filed to run in the primary for the regular two-year term starting in January 2013, but not for the unexpired term from November to January. The prospects for each candidate vary from place to place and the past votes won by each candidate in recent elections provide perspective.

A spokesperson for Senator Gill’s campaign told Blue Jersey this morning by phone that her failure to to file for the unexpired term was not inadvertent. “She is in it for the long haul and that starts with the regular term. The serious candidate runs for the full term,” he said. She qualifies to run in both primaries and would have gained added votes from Elizabeth and other towns which were part of the old CD10 but not the new one. The other three leading candidates filed for both primaries.

Hudson County (23% of new CD 10 population) has just awarded Line A to Senator Nia Gill (D Montclair) rather than Essex’s Donald Payne, Jr. There is no love lost between the Adubato, DiVincenzo, and Thigpen Essex Democratic Committee and the Mark Smith Hudson Democratic Committee. In 2011, for example, Hudson supported Assemblyman Joe Cryan (D- Union) against Essex County’s Sheila Oliver for the Assembly Speaker position. Also Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D-31) whose legislative district includes all of Hudson’s CD 10 population endorsed Gill.

In Essex County which has a whopping 57 % of the new CD 10 population the Democratic Committee just confirmed it will give Line A to Donald Payne, Jr. Union (20% of CD 10 population) will hold an open primary. Sen. Ray Lesniak a powerful force in Union whose legislative district includes about half of Union’s new CD10 is a strong supporter of Senator Gill.

There are now four key individuals (plus two other Democrats and one Republican) seeking to fill the seat formerly held by Congressman Donald Payne, Sr: Essex Freeholder and Newark Councilman Donald Payne Jr, Montclair Senator Nia Gill, Newark West Ward Councilman Ronald C. Rice, and Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith. Following the recent endorsement of two Newark councilmen for Ron Rice, comes the news of Hudson’s Line A to Nia Gill, plus, her endorsement from Sen. Cunningham. Donald Payne, Jr., with name recognition, Essex machine support and a large vote getter in his own right, remains the person to beat.

For more on the vote getting ability of each candidate and their prospects in different parts of CD 10, follow the fold

Who Gets the Gavel?

promoted by Rosi

The new Senate committee lineups are taking shape and I just got my hands on the list of committee chairmen/women. Some seem like a natural fit (Vitale, Scutari for ex.) while other appear wildly out of place given their backgrounds and leadership skills. But that’s just my take.

Anyway, follow me below the fold to learn who the Senate’s gavel-bearers will be for the next 2 years.

Cunningham and Ruiz defend their NJN votes

With apologies to Richard Nixon:  “I am not a sellout.”

“It was going down, and I wasn’t getting phone calls from people saying it’s important to keep it alive,” said Cunningham. “I think it’s fine going to WNET. I felt it was the best thing for my district.”

Was she getting phone calls the other way?  How many would she have needed?  Best thing for her district?  How so?  Because you can see New York from your house?

We went through a task force to analyze NJN and based on the legislation put forth it was clear to me we would not have a television station had we not opted to do what we did,” said Ruiz. “It’s important for us to have New Jersey news.”  

An out and out lie.  Putting aside the Montclair State bid, a deal could have been worked out keeping NJN news on the air.

Shorter Ruiz:  Joe D ordered me to vote this way.


So know we know why the four Democrats voted the way they did.  Stack because . . . enough said.  Gill to keep her Essex County legal fees flowing.  Ruiz because Joe D and the Adubatos told her to.  And Cunningham because her phone wasn’t working, apparently.

Where they stand on the budget deal

As news continues to come out about the budget deal that has been reached, the question of where the votes will come from to pass it becomes even more important. Some of the initial reaction hasn’t been terribly favorable. Senator Sacco won’t be a supporter because of UEZ funds:

Sacco said North Bergen has raised UEZ funds his city has used to build a mall on a formerly blighted area, to fix roads and to create a turn lane on routes 1 and 9.

“I don’t know how to get a reversal,” Sacco said. “This is a major disappointment. I absolutely cannot support this budget.”

Senator Van Drew kept it vague with this answer when asked whether he would be voting in favor of the budget:

“I’ll say this,” Van Drew told PolitickerNJ.com as he left the Statehouse yesterday, “I want to do anything I can to move the process forward.”

Senator Cunningham was leaning against voting for the budget when asked, but isn’t sure:

“I haven’t really decided yet,” Cunningham told PolitickerNJ.com. “I’m trying to figure that out.”

And Senator Whelen said he cannot support the budget as constituted:

“It’s unlikely I’ll vote for it as it’s currently devised,” Whelan told PolitickerNJ.com. “Whether there can be enough tweaks to get me there, it remains to be seen.”

We’ve also told you about the opposition from conservatives to the budget deal and Assemblywoman McHose echoed those sentiments calling the Governor out saying the Emperor has no clothes:

We did not run on the kind of deep cuts in property tax relief to suburban and rural communities that we see in the final budget bill.

If all Republicans in both bodies support the budget, they need 4 Democrats in the Senate and 8 in the Assembly to get things to the Governor’s desk. If you’ve seen comments from your members of the Legislature, let us know in the thread. And if they’re not on the record yet, give them a call. Here is a list of Legislators and their contact information.

Christie silent as Cunningham pushes pension deferral

State Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-Hudson) introduced a bill this week that, if approved, will allow New Jersey municipalities to delay for one more year their contributions to the public employee pension fund.  

Cunningham, who was named last month to Governor-elect Christie’s transition team, explained that the legislation is a stop gap measure to soften the blow of the recently announced decision to hold back millions of dollars in promised aid to municipalities.

“Some mayors have a need for this,” said Senator Cunningham. “They need this, so I hope we can get it done as soon as possible.”

Deferring pension payments was a controversial measure enacted several months ago by the Corzine Administration.  At the time, candidate Christie called the idea “deceitful trickery.”  As he prepares to take his place in the Front Office, however, one wonders whether the eight billion dollar budget deficit has given him reason to reconsider?

The Governor-elect is not known to be shy about expressing his opinion.  If he opposes Cunningham’s bill, he should say so.  If he supports it, he should explain why.  Thus far, his transition team has had no comment and there’s no word whether the bill will gain traction with legislative leaders.  However, what Christie has said is that he supports deferring the state’s contributions another year.  Couple that decision with Cunningham’s bill allowing municipalities to do the same, and with a few pen strokes, Trenton will significantly add to the long term fiscal insolvency of the pension fund.

For the record, Governor Corzine invested more money in the state pension fund than any other governor since Brendan Byrne.