Tag Archive: Teresa Ruiz

My Day in Trenton

I went to Trenton this morning to observe a couple of Senate committee hearings and to tweet what was going on. First was the Senate Education Committee which addressed a number of issues, none of which were the front-page items like tenure, vouchers, and charter schools. Senator Ruiz chaired the short meeting which addressed things like including cheerleaders in school injury safety programs, school disaster preparedness plans, and pension contributions for instructors in institutions of higher learning. All important, and there was not much contention in the meeting. The highlight was hearing the chants of the Catholic school students outside expressing their support for taxpayer-funded vouchers.

Evaluating Teacher Evaluation

Andy Smarick, the Christie administration’s Deputy Commissioner of Education, testified before Senator Theresa Ruiz’s Education Committee today about a state-wide teacher evaluation program that its being rolled out this school year.  The program, EE4NJ, considers both objective and subjective criteria.  The pilot program will run through the current school year. Following the hearing, Senator Ruiz spoke with the press.

Senator Ruiz’s video and the NJEA’s response are below the fold.

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.

CWA pickets Sen. Teresa Ruiz in Newark

UPDATE: I’ll post video I just got – after the jump.

Last night, members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), who are currently engaged in tough negotiations with the state, joined by members of NJEA, AFL-CIO, SEIU, IFPTE and other unions, launched the first in a series of efforts calling on legislators to stand up for the basic collective bargaining rights of public workers.

Working families in NJ are fighting to stop a proposal to unilaterally strip health care benefits out of the collective bargaining process. And the first legislator to feel the unions’ unity was Senator Teresa Ruiz. Union members congregated outside her offices in Newark last night. Here are some pictures:

CWA pickets Ruiz 2

CWA picket Ruiz

The worst crooks of all

I have to write about how dismayed I am to see the Politicker NJ story “Essex Freeholder charged with ballot fraud in wife’s 2007 Senate campaign.” The release from the New Jersey State Attorney General’s office says:

Attorney General Anne Milgram announced that five more people, including a freeholder who is the husband of State Senator Teresa Ruiz, were indicted today for election fraud in connection with absentee ballots they collected and submitted as workers for Ruiz’s 2007 campaign for the New Jersey Senate in the 29th District. Five other campaign workers for Ruiz were charged in four prior indictments…

According to Director Gramiccioni, Gonzalez, Caceres, Kowalski, Fernandez and Cruz are charged with tampering with documentation for messenger ballots, which are absentee ballots intended for use by homebound voters. They are charged with fraudulently submitting such ballots as votes in the Nov. 6, 2007 general election. The charges stem from an ongoing investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Corruption Unit.

“We charge that these campaign workers fraudulently submitted absentee ballots on behalf of residents who never received the ballots or had an opportunity to cast their votes,” said Attorney General Milgram. “Election fraud is a serious crime, particularly when voters are disenfranchised.”

It’s an article of faith in the national progressive blogs I read that there is little or no real election fraud, and while their belief that Republicans are out to suppress votes might well be correct as far as I know, New Jersey is proving to me that there is real fraud. This is the third case of Democrats cheating with absentee ballots in recent years that I remember: The Penns Grove primary, the Atlantic City primary, and now a general election.

The good news is that these (alleged) criminals were caught (and charges brought by a Democratic-appointed Attorney General), but it seems to me that this is worst kind of corruption and law-breaking there is. However imperfect our campaigns are, they provide the ultimate check on incompetence and corruption in our political class. Unfortunately, while these people were caught, I have to believe this is going on elsewhere. Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is a trend.

New Jersey’s First Lieutenant Governor: A Democratic Short List

Governor Jon Corzine is set to undertake the historic task of selecting an individual to run as the Democratic candidate to become the first Lieutenant Governor in New Jersey history.  

On Monday, we looked at the potential Republican picks for Lieutenant Governor.  Today, below the fold is a diverse list of ten possible Democratic contenders.  It is subjective and, more than anything, written to solicit the opinions of Blue Jersey readers on the strengths and weaknesses of each potential pick.  

Please click the headline, read on, comment away.

Redd announces run for Camden Mayor

reddannouncentcrowdshotAn overflow crowd of around two hundred people packed into and around a tent set up at Elijah Perry park in Camden this morning, as State Senator Dana Redd announced her candidacy for Mayor of Camden.  

Redd was joined by elected officials from around the state including Senator Bob Menendez, Congressman Rob Andrews, Speaker Joe Roberts, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, State Senators Teresa Ruiz and Jim Beach, Assemblywoman Nilsa Cruz-Perez and more.

menendezendorsereddOne by one, they praised Senator Redd for the woman she is, the work she has done and the work she will do as the hopeful future Mayor of Camden. Mayor Gwen Faison didn’t endorse Redd, but was there on stage at the start saying:

“I’m the mayor that made Camden work. I’m here today because the city is bigger than me. My heart is with Camden. …I am here to support anyone who will help the City of Camden. That is my statement.”

andrewsendorsesreddSenator Menendez returned from the stimulus debate this morning in Washington to endorse Senator Redd. He compared her to President Obama, saying he believes she will be a fantastic Mayor. He pointed to her great relationships, as evidenced by the people in attendance, who can bring people together to get the job done.

Congressman Andrews pointed to the differences in neighborhoods on each side of the park. First he talked about the redone Roosevelt Manor section where Dana helped push through an Affordable Housing project. ruizendorsesreddThen he talked about the Branch Village section, which still needs a great deal of work to give people the safe streets they deserve.  Andrews said Dana will not just take credit for the work she’s done, but recognize changes that still lie ahead.

bookerendorsesreddSenator Ruiz said the her support for Redd was bitter sweet because their loss in the Legislature would be a great win for Camden. Speaker Roberts said flatly, “I Love Dana Redd”.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker was on fire, talking about how this slate of leaders for Camden represented the Joshua generation standing on the shoulders of those who came before them. He talked about his ten year friendship with Redd and how she didn’t talk about her personal struggles, but the problems facing Camden. Booker mentioned her profound vision and said she is a woman of faith, hope and a light so bright that she casts away shadows. He then endorsed and introduced Redd to a rousing ovation from the crowd.

reddanouncesformayorSenator Redd talked about how she wants to make Camden the shining urban anchor of New Jersey.  She said that no longer can the fight ward against ward, leader against leader, or black against Hispanic. Talking about her personal story as a forty year resident of Camden, she recognized the current situation facing the city:

“We are a city of many cultures, with a rich and unique history that we all should be very proud of,” Redd said in announcing her candidacy at Elijah Perry Park. “At the same time, our eyes must be wide open to the many serious problems we face. We have been ranked as one of the nation’s poorest cities – with too much crime, too few jobs, insufficient housing and sub-standard education denying us the quality of life we all deserve. But we are NOT poor in spirit, in talent, or in the desire to restore, rebuild and stabilize our neighborhoods.”

I’ll put some more photos below the fold.

Senator Teresa Ruiz joins Andrews campaign as co-chair

Remember how exciting it was last November to vote so many women into the State House?  (For those of ya’ll who don’t remember, female membership rose almost by half.)

So naturally it was a thrill at Andrews’ HQ (where I work, mind you) to learn that Newark’s own Teresa Ruiz — our first Latina NJ Senator — was joining our increasingly diverse coalition.  

Check out why.

Sisters are Doing it for Themselves (budget edition)


Senator Barbara Buono  assumed the chair of the powerful Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee just in time to hear exec branch policy wonks discuss Corzine’s debt restructuring plans.  (Note to self:  next time, bring a book.)

At press time they are still at it so stay tuned for the substantive detail. (Basically the Governor’s surrogates are making the pitch, echoing much of what Corzine laid out in this state-of-the-state.  Followed by questions from lawmakers which I may or may not stick around for.)

But for now I have some anecdotal observations to share.

First of all, Madam Chair ain’t messing around kids.  So turn your phone off and take the chit chat elsewhere.  Those were the new “groundrules.”

Then there’s that punctuality thing.  Erstwhile Chairman Bernard Kenney tended to run pretty late out of the gates.  And Wayne Bryant before him was worse (usually.)   But this term we’ll be starting on time.  Today that meant 3pm and I couldn’t be more thrilled to not be waiting around just to wait around.

IMG_2534Senators Ruiz, Redd wait for their first panel hearing to commence.

I should have known something was different when I arrived early and saw newly minted Senators Teresa Ruiz of Newark and Camden’s Dana Redd prepping for their first day, presumably shaking off some first day jitters.

“How adorable,” I thought to myself, “the newbies are early.  I wonder if I should bring them a Snickers (because it’s gonna be a while.”)

Turns out they were simply early for work, preparing to join Buono on the budget panel.

Chairwoman Buono greets Senator CunninghamSenator Buono (D-Middlesex) welcomes Senator Cunningham (D-Jersey City)

In addition to Ruiz and Redd, Senators Stack, Cunningham, O’toole, Oroho and Hanes were all joining this Senate panel.  Tom Kean Jr. was a re-joiner.  Wearing an arm-cast no less.  (Let’s hope he didn’t hurt his hand punching liberal bloggers in the nose.)

Kean started off last session on this panel but took a hiatus.  Ten points for the best haiku or limerick to explain why you think he took the sabbatical.  Be clever and sympathetic.)

It’s tough to make any conclusions when they are still yackety-yacking, so I will part with a prediction:  these pols will get their hits in and say what they have to say and Corzine’s plan will pass in relatively short order.  I would GUESS mid-March at the latest.  

Meet Senator-elect Teresa Ruiz on Blue Jersey Radio!

The Senator-elect was a delightful guest. Plus – Jay makes a big holy roman announcement. Have a listen! – noweeman

Senator Teresa Ruiz
Senator-elect Ruiz

Ruiz, Lassiter and Gardner.

A high-powered lawfirm? Actually, no – it’s the theme of this week’s edition of Blue Jersey Radio! LIVE tomorrow (Saturday) from 10:30-11a!
Call in: (646) 652-2773

Senator-elect Ruiz (D-Newark) represents a trend in Trenton: young, smart, diverse and — notably this year — female.

Lame duck is almost over and come January, there’s gonna be a lot of new faces, including Ruiz, who replaces Sharpe James as Newark’s newest non-prurient voice in the Legislature.

But remember, even with special guests like the lady Senator-elect, we are NOTHING without your phone calls.
That # again: (646) 652-2773.

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