Tag Archive: Pamela Lampitt

The Norcrossed Voters of District 1

promoted by Rosi

The rollout of Donald Norcross’ congressional campaign signifies everything that’s wrong with New Jersey’s boss-dominated politics.

Shortly after the nearly simultaneous announcements of Congressman Rob Andrews’ retirement and State Senator Norcross’ anointment as Andrews’ successor, the Norcross machine published a list of 167 elected and civic personalities that have “endorsed” the candidate.

To me, it’s incredible that such a list could be compiled in such a short time. Have you ever tried to phone or e-mail an elected official directly? Not all of them are easy to get hold of. Yet, in the space of a few days, the Norcross campaign was able to obtain endorsements from each one of them.

There are only two possible conclusions I can draw from this. Either the Norcross-for-Andrews coup was in the planning stages for a longer time than advertised, or many of the endorsements were made unilaterally by the Norcross campaign, knowing that no South Jersey Democrat would dare to buck the machine.

It’s a given that a George Norcross minion would replace Andrews. But shouldn’t the voters of South Jersey be given a choice? What about a well-qualified woman like Pamela Lampitt? A relentless public servant like Troy Singleton? What about Dana Redd or Louis Greenwald? Are these folks less competent than Donald to represent the district in Congress? There are lots of good Norcrosscrats in the District. It’s bad enough that voters must choose from within the cabal. But at least give them that choice.

Talking About Guns in the Belly of the Beast

Perhaps it is fitting that the first public hearings of The NJ-SAFE Task Force, a panel chartered to recommend approaches to combatting violent crime, took place tonight in Camden. In his remarks addressing the Task Force, Senator Donald Norcross said that the murder rate in Camden is not just the highest in the United States, but is the highest in the world.

The Task Force is co-chaired by two former Attorneys General, John Degnan and Peter Verniero (who is also a former State Supreme Court justice). In addition, there are four other panelists from various walks of life within the state.

Prior to hearing testimony from the general public, the panel and the audience heard remarks from elected officials. In addition to Senator Norcross, Assemblyman Angel Fuentes (D-Camden) and Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D-Cherry Hill) addressed the group. While politicians often talk in platitudes, Lampitt’s remarks made the most sense – she called for a holistic approach that includes not only an examination of gun laws, but restoring funding for mental health programs that have been victims of the governor’s veto pen.

The pro-gun advocates who testified outnumbered the gun law supporters by about a six-to-one ratio. Proudly brandishing their NRA credentials, several citizens quoted the last part of the Second Amendment while ignoring the first part. Several regurgitated the NRA line that gun laws do nothing to stop criminals because criminals don’t obey the laws. Selective anecdotes were cited (often several times) where someone with a gun defended herself, while the statistical analyses that show that people are more likely to be killed when guns are around were summarily ignored.

The pro-gun people who spoke are not the crazy lunatics that you see on the GOP side of the aisle in the House of Representatives. Most are sane and rational, but they unfortunately have bought into the NRA and gun manufacturers’ propaganda. Some, like John Snively, blame video games – ignoring the fact that countries like Japan which have as many if not more gamers, have significantly lower gun crime.  And they’re right in their contention that strengthening New Jersey’s gun laws will not totally solve the problem. Without strong Federal laws and strong enforcement, it is simple for someone to smuggle guns across state lines. And the criminals that smuggle guns and sell them to non-criminals simply make the possibility of accidental shootings or rage-related killings by these non-criminals more likely.

The solution is not relaxing New Jersey’s tough gun laws, but rather strengthening Federal law while at the same time adequately funding mental health and drug addiction programs to lessen the chances of another Columbine, Virginia Tech, or Sandy Hook.

Additional public hearings will be held on February 6 in Lincroft and February 7 in Newark

Burlington County Democrats Start off the New Year with a Bang

Today was a historic day in Burlington County, when two Democrats were sworn in as freeholders, breaking the Republican lock on that body. This, despite a 9 to 1 spending disadvantage and the injection of Sheldon Adelson into this local race.

Aimee Belgard and Joanne Schwartz were sworn in by Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who spent a better part of his afternoon at the ceremony and the reception afterwards.

The last time the county elected two Democrats, those individuals switched over to the Republican party. That won’t happen with Aimee and Joanne. They have integrity.

Congratulations Aimee and Joanne, and Burlington County Democratic Chair Joe Andl for helping us start the new year on a very positive note. And thank you to Assembly members Troy Singleton, Herb Conaway, and Pam Lampitt, and Senate President Steve Sweeney for joining us in the celebration.

Swearing-in of Aimee Belgard:

Swearing-in of Joanne Schwartz:

Childhood Obesity

The Assembly Women and Children Committee heard testimony this morning about child obesity.  Dr. Arturo Brito, Deputy Commissioner of Public Health Services testified that one third of 10 to 17 year olds in New Jersey are overweight or obese. The epidemic is especially prevalent among low income families.

Committee chair Pamela Lampitt said that after receiving testimony from various health care professionals, the committee will draft legislation to be introduced after the summer break to address the obesity problem.

On a day in Trenton that is consumed by budget and education issues, we can’t forget that our schools will never improve until we address the issue of poverty and the ancillary health problems it creates.

Singleton and Conaway open New District Office

Assemblyman Troy Singleton hosted an open house this afternoon at a new District Office that he will be sharing with Assemblyman Herb Conaway. The Mount Laurel office was opened in order to provide better access to constituents in the largest town in the 7th District. Singleton and Conaway will still maintain the existing Delran office to serve people in the western portion of the district.

In the photo is Singleton, along with neighboring Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt at the open house.

Blue Jersey Focus: Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt

Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt of Cherry Hill has recently been chosen to chair a new committee to address women’s and children’s issues. I visited her in her Voorhees office today to learn about the goals of that committee as well as her opinions on other important issues. We discussed marriage equality, state education policy, the problems in nearby Camden, the setback for anti-bullying initiatives, and property tax reform. Also discussed was the slow pace of implementation of the medical marijuana law, where she proposed in interesting solution to the problem of finding dispensary sites.

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.