Tag Archive: Gordon Johnson

Marriage Equality – For the Record

Following almost seven hours of testimony on Thursday, the members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee went on record with their votes to move the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption bill to the full chamber.  As in the Senate committee, the vote was along party lines, with some Democrats expressing reservations but ultimately voting for equality while other Democrats were solidly in favor.

The two Republicans on the committee had interesting views and their remarks are worth listening to. It still surprises me how a libertarian like Michael Patrick Carroll can be for discrimination and government intervention in a civil rights issue. His argument comes right out of the Santorum playbook – since there is no societal benefit to equal rights, it’s fine to vote against them.

Freshman GOP Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi appeared torn and indecisive. Her rambling remarks argued both sides of the issue but she ultimately voted for discrimination. I don’t know if she can be flipped, but it would certainly be worthwhile if she could hear from pro-equality constituents. In the arc of the history of the New Jersey Assembly, she’ll go down as having cast her first vote in favor of discrimination. I wonder if she wants this to be the legacy of her political career.

The video is 29 minutes long. If you want to jump ahead, here are the starting times for each speaker:

Gordon Johnson (D) 00:00

Reed Gusciora (D) 02:03

Ralph Caputo (D) 05:58

Annette Quijano (D) 07:40

Holly Schepisi (R) 13:20

Michael Patrick Carroll (R) 21:35

Peter Barnes (D) 22:33

Voting 28:01

Sheila Oliver on PoliticsNation with Sharpton: Christie’s civil rights remark

In case you missed (I did), here is an unsmiling, and deadly serious NJ Speaker Sheila Oliver discussing Gov. Chris Christie’s ignorant remark about the civil rights movement, made this week.

btw – New Jersey was the last state in the union to abolish slavery. Did you know that? It’s part of the history lesson Oliver, Rush Holt, Reed Gusciora, Loretta Weinberg, John Wisniewski, Gordon Johnson, Rep. John Lewis and others have been required to review this week for the benefit of a governor who let a bit too much of his own prejudices show, as he attempted to make his stand against a rising tide of Equality in marriage going on in the New Jersey Legislature.


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CD-5: Teaneck’s Adam Gussen to run against Scott Garrett

Since New Jersey was redistricted late last month, leaving the state with one less congressional district and a volatile, unsettled Democratic Party beginning what looks to be an ugly primary contest between Bill Pascrell and Steve Rothman, focus has been on the 9th, the district Rothman declined to run in.

That leaves the 5th an open question; who will challenge  Tea Party darling Scott Garrett?

Connie Wagner appears to have strong and broad support. Among other names, incoming Assemblyman Tim Eustace was early talked up but has since signed on to the (437-member) Draft Connie Wagner for Congress facebook page. Also mulling it over (or being urged in by supporters) are Passaic Freeholder Terry Duffy, Se. Bob Gordon, the victor in November’s most hotly contested race, and (wild card!) NFL Hall of Famer Harry Carson.

Adam GussenAdam Gussen, Teaneck’s Deputy Mayor, is the first to make it official, formally announcing he’s in. In the reconfigured 5th, most of reliably-Democratic Teaneck landed in the 5th (it had been Rothman territory).

I don’t know much about Gussen, except that 3 years when he was a councilman ago he filed to primary Valerie Huttle and Gordon Johnson, who serve LD-37 with Sen. Loretta Weinberg, and then dropped out.

Bergen folks, I’d be interested to know your impressions of Gussen and how strong he might be against Garrett.  

District 37 Democrats Campaign Kickoff

Senator Loretta Weinberg, Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle invite Blue Jersey bloggers and readers to their Campaign Kickoff on Wednesday, September 14th in Teaneck!

Attending is a great way to hear what Loretta, Gordon, and Valerie are up to in the Legislature, but also to get involved in their re-election efforts before November. Their race is far from the most competitive in the state, but there is still work to be done, and there are always more voters to speak to.

Information about the Kickoff is available on the Facebook event page. It will be on Wednesday, September 14th from 7 PM to 9 PM at 549 Cedar Lane, Teaneck, NJ 07666. Please RSVP on the event page if possible.

Besides coming to the event you can always “Like” our Facebook page.

Hope to see you there!

Bill to Decriminalize small amounts of Marijuana garners 18 co-sponsors.

22,439 people were arrested in New Jersey for possessing less than 50 grams* of cannabis in 2009.

FreedomIsGreen.Com, a local blog devoted to advancing more enlightened cannabis policy in New Jersey is reporting an an intriguing new bill on the Assembly docket that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana in the Garden State.

The bill, which already has 18 co-sponsors (5 from the GOP) was introduced by Assemblymen Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) and Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris), the same bi-partisan duo that introduced the state’s nascent medical marijuana law.

Weinberg, Johnson, and Huttle for District 37 is Underway

My name is Michael Simonson and I am the Campaign Manager for Senator Weinberg, Assemblyman Johnson, and Assemblywoman Huttle’s 2011 Campaign for District 37. I have written diaries for Dennis Shulman’s 2008 Congressional campaign and the Retire Garrett Campaign’s various undertakings, including Tod Theise’s 5th District Congressional campaign last year. Gratefully, my diaries were typically well received, and at worst merely uncommented on. I hope that trend continues, just with more comments!

The Democratic campaign For District 37 is just getting started. To kick things off I just created our Facebook page. Please “Like” us and then recommend the page to as many friends as possible. We will be posting updates about events and ways you can get involved. It is also a forum for constituents and supporters.

Protect Collective Bargaining

Citing a strong belief in the principal of collective bargaining and protecting workers’ rights, Bergen County Assembly members Valerie Vainieri Huttle(D- 37), Gordon Johnson(D- 37), Joan Voss(D- 38) and Connie Wagner(D-38) released the following joint statement:

“We were dismayed to learn that this Monday the Assembly Budget Committee will be hearing a bill which will forever alter the way of life of NJ’s low-income and middle class workers.”

“Through our careers as elected officials we have stood up for those that cannot fight for themselves and for the constituents we represent.  This is one of those times where we will stand together to protect our low-income and middle class families from a burden that should not be placed on their backs.”


“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…

Assembly Democrats Rally Mashup

As thousands of New Jersey’s first-responders – firefighters, police, corrections officers emergency medical services members & many of the people they protect every day – rallied outside the State House, many of their signs expressed their disgust with Senate President Steve Sweeney, members of NJ’s other legislative body were out in force at yesterday’s massive rally.

Below, in video shot by the Assembly majority office, Democratic legislators look out at a sea of blue:

Assembly Democrats Voice Their Support for Workers’ Right to Collectively Bargain from NJ Assembly Democratic Office on Vimeo.

I’m Back…..

…..from a happily chaotic Thanksgiving family week in Los Angeles.  Hope you all had a great holiday, and are now enjoying Hanukkah. If you are not lighting the Menorah, make sure you at least eat a couple of potato latkes.

Press Conference at 11 a.m. today in Trenton on government transparency. We will announce our new and very stringent Pay-to-Play bill.  This should be part of the “tool kit” because political contributions from state and local contractors definitely add to the cost of government in our state and contribute to our escalating property taxes. This new bill will establish one state-wide standard in New Jersey, and I’ve been working on it with the help of the Citizens Campaign. I will be joined by my colleague Assemblyman Gordon Johnson.  We will also call attention to our newly updated Open Public Meetings Act and Open Public Records Act and will ask that they be posted for Committee hearings in December or January.  These bills go hand-in-hand with the new issue-advocacy disclosure bill sponsored by Senator Barbara Buono and me.  The passage of these bills together will decrease the cost of government and will increase government transparency.  We’ve been waiting patiently to hear if the Republicans in the legislature and the Governor will join in a bipartisan effort to get these bill passed.

Medical Marijuana “agreement”? I was a little surprised at the news report and look forward to hearing personally from Senator Nick Scutari.  Senator Scutari has been an outstanding advocate for this important issue, and if an “agreement” was reached without his input,  at the very least I am disappointed.  My husband, Irwin, died from cancer almost 12 years ago.  We were both deprived of any meaningful communication during his last days with us because he was treated with morphine.  Perhaps medical marijuana could have made him comfortable and would have enabled us to share more experiences during those days.  Of course, I will never know that for sure. However, what I do know, is that patients and their doctors should have as much right to be treated with medical marijuana as they today have a right to be prescribed morphine or oxycontin or any other controlled dangerous substance to treat pain in terminally ill patients. Is anybody asking a Doc to warn a terminally ill person to substitute another less effective medication for morphine? Is a doctor forced to tell a seriously ill patient that he must wean that patient off oxycontin every three months?  How demeaning to both patient and medical professional. Please don’t tell me that my good colleague, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, made a bad deal with the Governor! I guess we’ll soon find out.

Will be chairing the Senate Health, Human Services & Senior Services Committee this afternoon. Probably one of my bills which will cause the most comment is the requirement that certified advance practice nurses must continue to be supervised by anesthesiologists in the administration of general anesthesia. Lots of pros and cons on both sides of this issue, and I’m sure we’ll hear it all.

So we have a busy December ahead of us with more committee days and another voting session.  We’ll be dealing with more “tool kit” legislation and another try at women’s access to family planning.  Every Republican in the Assembly voted “No” or abstained on covering more folks under medicaid for family planning and basic medical care. A bill which will result in $9 for every $1 put up by the State. What is wrong with these folks? What has this Governor given them to make so many of them march in unison while they raise so few questions? It’s hard to understand and I must admit, it makes me particularly discouraged about the women of the legislature working together on issues of importance to our families.

Carol Hoernlein housewarming 12/5/10
Blue Jerseyans & friends Hoernlein, Lento, Parano, Weinberg & Mazza

Hey, a few of us “North Jersey/Blue Jersey” followers, writers and bloggers were invited to join Carol Hoernlein (and Eric) to celebrate a wonderful housewarming in their “tiny house with the big kitchen”. Nick Lento, Carol H, Rocco (of “let’s  draft Rocco” and “I still love the Governor” while “I still love Rocco”) Mazza, Dave Parano, Chief Ron Holloway and many others had a lovely afternoon with lots of good company, good food, political talk and we’re all connected through Blue Jersey discussions. Great fun for those of us Bergen County types!  Great to see Carol looking so well, happy and coming back to our Blue Jersey blogs.  

Note to Jay Lassiter & Rosi Efthim:  Maybe you can find Keith Chaudruc of Madison who took on the Governor at the Parsippany Town Meeting and get his side of the story for our own Blue Jersey UTube.  According to news reports, Mr. Chaudruc was escorted on and off the stage by a state trooper and never got Mr. Christie to answer any of his questions. Might be an interesting interview.

Keep your voices heard!