Tag Archive: LD21

A look at the new NJ-21 (and a brief history)

by Stephen Yellin

First, a friendly welcome to the residents of Kenilworth, Chatham Borough, Bernards Township and Far Hills (all 919 of you in the last case) to the 21st Legislative District of New Jersey. I hope you find your accommodations comfortable, as you’ll be staying here for the next 10 years. 🙂

Second, we in the 21st bid a fond farewell to Chatham Township, Madison and Millburn, which will now have a Democratic delegation to represent them in the form of Dick Codey, John McKeon and Mila Jasey. While this Berkeley Heights resident is more than a little jealous to be less than a mile away from having this awesome trio as my delegation, I take comfort in knowing that my friends at Drew University will get to know another awesome ex-Governor a lot better in the year ahead*.  

Joining The Gina Genovese Campaign

I am excited to announce that I will be Gina Genovese’s campaign manager in her race for the 21st District State Senate against Tom Kean Junior.  While some may consider Gina an underdog, there are a variety of reasons why she has a serious chance of winning the seat.

First, Gina is an extemely hard worker.  At age 24 she started her own business, Gina’s Tennis World in Berkeley Heights.  It’s gutsy doing that sort of thing at 24, but Gina knew if she worked long and hard she could make it successful.

She decided several years ago to run for local office in Long Hill, traditionally a very Republican and conservative town.  Through hard work and perserverence, she won the election by 10 votes.  She was subsequently chosen by her colleagues both Republicans and Democrats to serve as the first Democrat to become Mayor of Long Hill Township.  She also made history as the first openly gay mayor in the history of New Jersey.

Now, she is seeking the State Senate seat currently held by Tom Kean Junior.  She is everything that Tom Kean Junior is not.  He inherited the seat, she’ll earn it.  He was appointed, she’ll be elected.  She started her own business and made it successful, while he has been around politics for decades.  Furthermore, Gina comes across as the type of natural leader that people are looking for to solve their everyday problems like high property taxes and traffic congestion.

Tom Kean Junior’s status was seriously diminished by his negative campaign against Bob Menendez last fall.  Not only did the state realize that Kean Junior was just another vote for Bush, they came to realize how seriously unqualified Tom Kean Junior was to hold elected office.

The 21st District is changing, and while still Republican, Democrats have taken over many of the local offices in the district in places like Summit, Millburn, Madison, Long Hill, Chatham Township, and others.  Gina Genovese winning her State Senate seat is the logical next step.  Please join her campaign at www.GinaGenovese.com and be a part of electing a fantastic Senator to represent the 21st District.

Chip Robinson
Campaign Manager, Gina Genovese for State Senate

Tom Kean Jr. Counting Chickens

Rebounding from his loss in the race for United States Senate, PoliticsNJ reports Tom Kean Jr. is now working the miniscule ranks of State Senate Republicans for an election he thinks he can win – for Minority Leader, or what one of their commenters, commonsensenj, calls:

“the most thankless and pointless job in the State House”


While Junior distracts himself pounding the pavement for the 9 votes he would need for that coveted slot, Gina Genovese can concentrate on the voters of the 21st District whose votes really matter.

Remember – you can’t be Minority Leader unless you’re still in the Senate. Maybe we should help Gina explain that to him.

Update: NJ Politics Unusual had the beginnings of this 2 weeks before PoliticsNJ.

Empowerment Over Entitlement In The 21st

Now that the Primary Season is over, it’s time for us all to start focusing on what’s really important — turning some more legislative seats blue this November.  And I just wanted to let you all know that I’m focused like a laser-beam on beating Tom Kean Jr. to become the 21st District’s next State Senator.

But to do this, simply put, I need your help.  Over the next five months, I hope I can count on the Blue Jersey community’s support and counsel.  So I invite you all to check out my new website to learn more about my campaign and how you can get involved.

I know some here have asked why Democrats like myself think we can take on entrenched, well-funded Republican challengers in red areas and win.  It’s a fair question, and one I’d like to answer.

Pick Your Map-Changer

Ok, I’ve managed to build a short list for Blue Jersey map-changers.  In LD1, we have Jeff Van Drew for State Senate.  In LD8, we have Fran Bodine for State Senate.  In LD21, we have Gina Genovese for State Senate.  Finally, in LD25, we have Dana Wefer for Assembly.

Check below the fold for more info.

Op-Ed: Running to Make a Difference

I am running for the New Jersey State Senate from the 21st district to represent a new kind of politics.  My opponent positions himself as a reformer who stands for clean government, yet runs an extremely dirty campaign.  That paradox, is why too many people of New Jersey have lost faith in the political process.

I am a result of the grassroots movement created by Howard Dean.  His campaign stressed the importance of individual participation in a democracy.  I want to build on that concept of engagement.  This election is about empowerment, not entitlement.  I have worked hard to build a business and a reputation that is based upon empowering my students.  I will carry this same philosophy into state politics.  I want to engage residents in the 21st district who have never been politically active so their voices too, can be heard.

Most people in the 21st district know me from 24 years of guiding their children through their developmental years in my business Gina’s Tennis World in Berkeley Heights.  I created a place where people congregate, socialize and develop self-confidence and self-esteem.  This has also been a primary focus in my work as an elected official in Long Hill Township.

I was very proud to have served as the first Democratic mayor of the Republican town, Long Hill Township in Morris County.  Most residents of my town know me as a leader who brings people together and acknowledges the contributions of individuals in our community.  Long Hill Township has continued to be supportive of me and has confirmed that my sexuality has no impact on my ability to serve.

As mayor and committeewoman in Long Hill Township, I organized an interfaith service for peace with various religious leaders in the area.  I developed and taught civics lessons in our local schools.  I cooperatively negotiated a reduction in the police force to save taxpayer dollars without reducing services.  I instituted a business economic forum to support the needs of local businesses.  I worked on both school and municipal budgets to understand the intricacies of how state funding impacts the bottom line.  I opened the budget process to the public so they could understand the costs of services in our community.  

Born into a working-class family and today the founder of a business in Union County, I know what it’s like to make ends meet and I know what it’s like to make payroll.  I have owned and operated Gina’s Tennis World in Berkeley Heights since 1983.  The business began with 10 clients, and today has thousands.  Everyday through my business, while working with their children, I hear the hopes and dreams of the people of the 21st district.  

They inspire me to work for all the residents of the 21st district:  Democrats, Republicans, Independents, the unaffiliated and the uninterested.  I instinctively know how to bring people of various ideas, traditions, backgrounds and parties to the table to hammer out the best approaches to the problems facing New Jersey today.  

Last November we realized the importance of whom we sent to Washington.  This November, it is equally important whom we send to Trenton.  Work with me to build a team that will bring out the best in our state.  I want to lead others to be the best they can be, and together, we will move New Jersey forward.

Mayor Gina Genovese to challenge Tom Kean Jr. for the State Senate

As you’ve read on Blue Jersey and in today’s Star-Ledger, see article below, Mayor Gina Genovese announced her candidacy last night at Garden State Equality’s 2007 Legends Dinner.

This race will be a major priority for progressives, straight and LGBTI alike, for four reasons:

1.  Tom Kean, Jr.
2.  Gina herself.  Besides running against Kean Jr., she’s one of the most extraordinarily talented officials in our state, a Democrat elected mayor of a staunchly Republican town who has an amazing ability to bring people together.
3.  The state Senate is only 22-18 Democratic.  We need this turnover.
4.  Yes, Gina is a heck of a lot more than a gay candidate – but in a state where we didn’t have an openly gay legislator until a few months ago, it’s about time our state legislature was as diverse as its people.

Here’s today’s Ledger article:

Long Hill mayor will challenge state Sen. Kean for seat in fall

Genovese is town’s first openly gay official

Monday, March 05, 2007
Star-Ledger Staff

Long Hill Township’s first openly gay mayor, Gina Genovese, said last night she will challenge state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. in November.

Genovese, a Democrat, made her announcement to run against Kean, a Union County Republican who lost his bid last year for a U.S. Senate seat, at a Garden State Equality dinner at Maplewood Country Club.

“This past November we understood how important it is who we send down to Washington,” Genovese said to a standing ovation. “This November we have to understand it is equally important who we send down to Trenton.”

Genovese stepped down as Long Hill mayor in January but re mains on the Morris County township committee. She has owned a tennis-instruction center in Berkeley Heights, Union County, for 25 years.

It was her small-business background, she said, that got her interested in politics. Gov. Jon Corzine’s business perspective also makes working in the Legislature appealing, she said.

Garden State Equality’s “2007 Legends” dinner last night honored 12 people the activist organization considers legends in the fight for gay rights, including former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, former U.S. Ambassador James Hormel and Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, the only presidential candidate to support legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Steven Goldstein, the founder of Garden State Equality, told the crowd of 400 that while the state last month enacted a civil union law that gives same-sex couples all the legal rights of marriage, it is not enough. The nearly 3-year-old organization, which has pushed state and local governments to adopt 153 civil rights laws, will fight to make same-sex marriage legal in New Jersey within the next two years.

Goldstein said the group has fielded a dozen complaints in the few weeks since civil unions be came law, noting they’re not being honored by employers or insurers because they are not “marriage.”

“Marriage is the only currency of commitment recognized in the real world,” Goldstein said. “We’re fighting for the word ‘marriage,’ that nomenclature, because it’s the only ticket to real equality that the world will accept.”

Gov. Jon Corzine has said he will sign a gay marriage bill if one reaches his desk.

The dinner was highlighted by an appearance by Kucinich, who ran in 2004 and is running again in 2008 in support of gay activists’ agenda. He called the “evolution” of gay rights “an imperative of this moment.”

“The capacity to live out our own dreams, to be better than we are, is happening because of organizations like Garden State Equality,” Kucinich said.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker introduced City Councilwoman Dana Rone, one of the award winners. He referred to Rone, the only openly gay member of the council, as a “hero to the city.”

Goldstein said Garden State Equality didn’t even exist 32 months ago and then listed some of its accomplishments, including domestic-partner benefit laws in state and local governments; a fight for Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office investigator Laurel Hes ter’s partner to receive her pension benefits after Hester’s death; and most recently, the enactment of civil union legislation.

“You know, New Yorkers always blame New Jersey for all the (bad) smells, but New Jersey’s passed 153 new civil rights laws,” Goldstein said. “That smell coming from New Jersey is called equality, and it’s the sweetest smell.”