Tag Archive: Joe Cryan

Norcrossippi Runs New Jersey Just Like Idaho Runs The United States

In his preface to promoting jackstanton’s diary, “When does the bullshit stop?,” deciminyan asks the following:

With the Christiecrat wing of the Democratic Party taking power in Trenton, are we headed toward one-party government?”

The problem with this question is the tense is all wrong and the label is even more wrong.  We have one-party government, because the Norcrosscrat wing of the Democratic Party took power in Trenton before Chris Christie was elected Governor and it is my belief that they suppressed the Corzine vote where they had the power to do so in order to help Christie beat Corzine.

Why did the Norcrosscrats prefer Christie to Corzine?  During the eight years of McGreevey, Codey, and Corzine, George Norcross was one of many political bosses of one of many political machines in the state and even though he controlled more Assemblypersons and Senators than any one boss, the bosses in North and Central Jersey were closely aligned enough to keep him in check.

But during this time, U.S. Attorney Chris Christie successfully indicted and convicted a number of these bosses, dramatically reducing the amount of control that they had over electeds and other party leaders in their fiefdoms.  Interestingly enough, despite being the most corrupt of the bunch, Norcross underwent the least amount of scrutiny of any of them and was able to increase his power and reach into other parts of the state as a result.

This chain of events led to the coup that overthrew Dick Codey as Senate President and passed over then-Assembly Majority Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman and installed Steve Sweeney as Senate President and Sheila Oliver as Assembly Speaker.  Despite the best efforts of people like Codey, former Assembly Majority Leader, and former Senate Majority Leader, Barbara Buono to take the Assembly and Senate back from the Norcrosscrats, as long as Norcross has his bloc of 6 Senators and 12 Assemblypersons and is able to play the North and Central Jersey political machines against one another, keeping them divided and weak, Norcrossippi is going to run New Jersey.

Joe Cryan Speaks for Marriage Equality

cryan_colorThis speech made me cry.

I think it was because Joe Cryan talked about two people I talked about this week when I was trying to convince a Republican friend to see this issue – and the people it most deeply affects – differently.

Cryan tells their stories. And I think it’s important to tell stories of where Republicans stand for the rights of gay people, and for fairness in marriage. Over the last two years, we’ve seen that shift in members of both parties in New Jersey, people who found their way to this vote. And as a court case makes its way through the NJ courts, we have another two years to convince some of our Republican legislators that there are things more important than the party discipline required by a strongwilled governor.

Here’s the video of what he Joe Cryan said on the Assembly floor, shot by Deciminyan. Below the fold, as a bonus, are videos of both speeches Cryan talked about. Both of them – Rep. John Kriesel of Minnesota and Rep. Maureen Walsh of Washington – are Republicans who came to support marriage equality by very different routes.

Troy Singleton Sworn Into the General Assembly

It was as if the General Assembly chamber in Trenton had a mechitza down the middle. But instead of separating the genders, it separated the festive atmosphere on the Democratic side from the mostly empty Republican side.

The occasion was the opening of the lame duck session, highlighted by the swearing in of the newest member of the body, Troy Singleton.

Video below. More text after the fold.

Broken Glass and Leadership


“If you don’t know where you’re going,

you’ll wind up somewhere else.”

                                        – Yogi Berra of Montclair, New Jersey

I’ve written and deleted six versions of this diary about the maneuvers that discarded two people who distinguished themselves this year by exhibiting core Democratic values, when it wasn’t always simple to do so. Frankly, it’s hard to think about this without wanting to pick the broken glass out of my teeth; Even with solid Democratic wins, this has been an awful week. A tense week for some people we admire greatly.

It was easier, and perhaps more profitable this year to bind with the Christie collaborationists. To fall in line. To hear Tea Party activists screaming in one ear about the cost of government, and New Jersey’s unelected power brokers whispering soft directions in the other ear. Plenty of our Democrats fell in line. On more than one issue. Barbara Buono and Joe Cryan did not.

More after the fold.

Will the Congressional Redistricting Commission give Joe Cryan a golden parachute to Washington?

Unless a miracle takes place this Tuesday and Republicans in LD1, LD3, and LD4 pull off major upsets, South Jersey party boss, George Norcross, will have more than enough votes to replace his primary adversary in the Assembly, Majority Leader Joe Cryan, with his top ally in the legislative body, Louis Greenwald, sending Cryan to the back bench.

What remains to be seen, however, is what Cryan will do once he is sent there.  Will he unite with his fellow back bencher in the Senate, Dick Codey, to build an opposition movement that will contend not only for the Governor’s office in 2013, but also all 120 legislative seats?  As much as I would love to see this, I do not expect that this will happen.  It is very possible that Dick Codey will run for Governor in 2013, but it is also possible that Cory Booker, Barbara Buono, and Steve Sweeney will run as well and it is unlikely that any of them will run opposition slates against the party lines that they do not win, which means that regardless of who wins the gubernatorial primary, there will not be much change in the legislative roster or its leadership.

If I am right about this, then Cryan will most likely remain on the back bench for most of the next decade.  That is, unless he finds a new office for which to run or that office finds him.  There have been times in the past decade when Cryan expressed an interest in running for Congress in the 7th district, but admitted that the current configuration of the district made it extremely difficult for a Democrat to win.

This is very true.  Our best chance to win this district came in 2006 when a very popular Assemblywoman, Linda Stender, challenged a very unpopular Congressman Mike Ferguson in a year that Democrats were trending up and Republicans were trending down.  However, despite these trends, Stender came a few thousand votes short of victory.  Two years later, Stender did not run as strong of a campaign as she did in 2006 and faced a very popular State Senator, Leonard Lance.  Despite huge turnout increases inspired by Barack Obama’s candidacy, it was not enough for a Democrat to win the 7th and Lance defeated Stender by a much wider margin than Ferguson did two years earlier.

Ray Lesniak Is Smiling Right Now

After claiming that she didn’t know her kids were getting free lunches, even though she acknowledged filling out the forms for it, it appears Elizabeth Board of Education President Marie Munn has been arrested for stealing from the federal government.  And, not for nothing, from the Elizabeth schools she is supposed to be helping.

It’s funny how often the “reformers” who scream about corruption get caught up in corruption scandals.  A lot like the homophobes who get caught with male prostitutes, the abstinence preachers who got knocked up out of wedlock, or the anti–government funding candidates who got rich through government funding.  Not that they are hypocrites.

Munn’s mortal enemy, State Senator and Union County power broker Ray Lesniak, is hoisting a drink right about now.

UPDATE: PoliticsNJ is reporting that the total cost to the schools was $3,946.  Amazing how little it takes to bring a potential power broker down.

A Battle Royale is Brewing in Elizabeth

Last primary day one of the biggest battles were the “reform” Democrats led by the Christie-loving Elizabeth Board of Education and the “establishment” Democrats led by Ray Lesniak and Joe Cryan.

Despite winning the primary, Lesniak actually lost Elizabeth in the primary which has to gall him.  It’s his home town, and he still lives there even after all his success.  And he’s friends and support with the Mayor of Elizabeth, Chris Bollwage, the next target.

Recently Lesniak even floated Bollwage for Governor, and idea that had to have originated with Lesniak because pretty much no one ever considered it.  But in raising the idea Lesniak also raises Bollwage’s image which isn’t going to hurt in 2012 when he runs for reelection.

Joe Cryan Speaks at Marie Corfield’s Event

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in the back of the Assembly chamber and witnessed a horrible event – the capitulation of a handful of Democrats that contributed to the elimination of a basic tenet of the American labor movement, collective bargaining.

Listening to the Republicans berate public servants was difficult, but I’m used to hearing the crazy rhetoric that comes from the right. More disappointing was listening to the Nordubato Democrats try to justify their position.

But in between the anti-union rhetoric, there were some enlightened Assemblypersons who stood up to defend the state employees. One such person was Assemblyman Joe Cryan. Cryan spoke from the heart about the impact the Governor’s actions would have on working New Jersey families.

This past Sunday, I was privileged to meet the assemblyman at a fundraiser for Marie Corfield, another passionate Democrat who will join Cryan in the legislature next year. Here are some of Cryan’s remarks.

Cheer Up. Things Could be Worse

Last week was depressing. On Thursday night, I sat in the New Jersey State Assembly chamber for over 12 hours to witness Chris Christie’s greatest political victory in his disastrous reign as our governor.

No doubt, he will continue to brag about his “leadership” ability and the “bipartisan” support he got for the stripping of collective bargaining rights from state workers.

I watched as assembly members I like and admire, people like Lou Greenwald, Pam Lampitt, and Herb Conaway, voted to affirm the path taken not only by Chris Christie, but also Scott Walker, Rick Scott, Rick Snyder, and others of their ilk.

If Democrats don’t stand for workers, what DO we stand for?

“I do let loose my opinion, hold it no longer”

The Tempest, William Shakespeare

This is probably the least politic diary I have written on Blue Jersey in the last 5 1/2 years. As a young Democratic activist, I’ve thought, wouldn’t it be politically inane to speak out against the leaders of my own Party? As a candidate for local office in a conservative part of New Jersey, I thought, wouldn’t it make more sense to stay silent rather than alienate potential constituents?

Yet I cannot stay silent. I am a Democrat because I believe in the rights of workers – blue collar and white collar, male and female, of all races and creeds – to seek a just and better world for themselves and their families. It is that fundamental freedom – the right to organize – that I see under attack in New Jersey tonight.