Tag Archive: Pamela Lampitt

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.

Denver Update: SIX New Co-Sponsors for Marriage Equality in NJ

Let’s hear it for Elease Evans, Nellie Pou, Joan Quigley, Pamela Lampitt, Gordon Johnson, and Sandra Cunningham. As reported earlier by both Scott Weingart, who’s doing a fantastic job liveblogging the convention for us here at Blue Jersey, and Matt Friedman at PolitickerNJ.com, five members of our legislature stood up to be counted as strong supporters of marriage equality this morning during a presentation by Garden State Equality to our delegation in Denver. We’ve just added Elease Evans to the list, based on reports from the delegation.

Though there are still doubters, all indications are now that New Jersey will be the third state after Massachusetts and California to guarantee the right to marry for same-sex couples. This kind of momentum, indicated by this morning’s surprising development, is incredibly hard to overcome. While civil unions have been a progressive step forward for the cause, New Jersey residents seem to agree that basic civil rights should no longer be denied to a significant portion of our population.

This has been a great week for New Jersey’s Democrats. Despite some weird media fixation on whether or not Senator Menendez would be given a speaking role at the Pepsi Center (and everyone knows he’d have delivered the keynote if it were up to me — and perhaps should have, all things considered), we’ve seen our share of groundbreaking scenes at this year’s convention. Our state’s delegation played a big role yesterday, from the morning move to pledge all of our 127 delegates to Barack Obama, to being the last state to have our delegates counted in the roll call before Hillary Clinton’s historic motion to nominate Obama by acclamation. It’s fitting that six new backers for the marriage equality bill would announce their support at a convention where so much history is being written.

District 5 and 6 Republican Challengers and Their “Moderate” Views

New Jersey State District 5 and District 6 are two districts which aren?t usually seriously considered in terms of Republican opposition, but I thought I would spotlight some of the political views of the Republican challengers to Joseph Roberts, Nilsa Cruz Perez and Dana Redd (District 5), and Lou Greenwald, Pamela Lampitt and John Adler (District 6).  The resources that I consulted for this primer on Republican opposition are priceless for voter information; Project Vote Smart provides in-depth questionnaires, speeches, interest group ratings and other valuable tools in gauging a candidate?s view, and New Jersey voter info also outlines major state races, highlights district demographics and voter rolls, and much more.

First up is District 6 senate challenger Joseph Adolf, who lost his challenge to Adler in 2003 and is back for more misery in this Camden County district which has a 2-1 Democratic advantage over Republicans. Adler is a well-respected state senator, who serves as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the senate and has been named one of the ten best legislators by New Jersey Magazine.  A quick perusal of Adolf?s stances is a truly disturbing experience, though, and belies any credible claim that Adolf et al are ?moderate? Republicans.  For Adolf, if you?re a woman, and you get raped, the government has the right to force you to bring the fetus from conception to birth; in other words, all abortions, even for incest or rape, must be illegal for Adolf. Moreover, colleges should not take race or ethnicity into account at all in admissions, physician-assisted suicide should be illegal, and not only should gays not be allowed to marry but also the state?s civil union law should be abrogated.
Though Assembly candidate Bradley Mattson  of Cherry Hill has refused to answer the Vote Smart candidate questionnaire, Haddonfield resident and perennial candidate Joann Gurenlian has, and several of her views are also disconcerting. Gurenlian is ?moderate? on reproductive choice in comparison to Adolf in that, thankfully, raped women or victims of incest are allowed to terminate their pregnancy in her view, but no woman in the first trimester, unless her life is in danger, is allowed to terminate her pregnancy. She does not support increased funding for Head Start programs in the state, despite educational benefits that could be accrued, she shamefully doesn?t support the inclusion of sexual orientation in New Jersey?s anti-discrimination laws, and she doesn?t support an increase in the state minimum wage.

To be fair, in comparison to the 6th district?s Gurenlian and Adolf, 5th district Assembly candidate Jonathan Mangel is indeed more moderate in his positions , but even a pro-choice sympathizing candidate such as Mangel doesn?t support physician-assisted suicide and is unsure if he even supports the current inadequate civil unions law. His fellow Assembly candidate Edward Torres, a Camden resident, has, like Mattson, thus far not completed the Vote Smart questionnaire. But the 5th district Republicans, who didn?t bother to field a candidate in this heavily-Democratic district in 2005, have found quite a gem in former tobacco company salesman Hans Berg. If Berg is moderate, as the Camden County Republicans contend their candidates to be, then Rick Santorum is a Democrat.  Some of Berg?s more interesting views include his call to eliminate all government funding for public education; his stance that all abortions, including for rape and incest, must be illegal; his support for a constitutional amendment that restricts the civil rights of gays and lesbians by curtailing the definition of marriage; and his call to eliminate all government funding for environmental preservation.

These are the best and brightest that the Republican Party is offering in the 5th and 6th districts, respectively, this election, and their views are surely anything but moderate. In fact, all of them, except for Mangel (who knows what the evasive Mattson and Torres think), support the reallocation of welfare funds to religious groups and private charities, just as Pres. Bush believes. Finally, one strategy that the N.J. Republican Party makes and that each candidate here embraces is lowering taxes, from sales taxes to property taxes to vehicle taxes and much more ? but they are so dishonest with the voters in that they don?t provide a single specific way that they would pay for these changes.  If Forrester?s free ride ?30% in 3 Years? property tax slogan, which was to be paid for with more state debt, presumably, rings a bell, then you?re onto the same dishonest campaign strategy.  But perhaps that?s what one gets with the ?reform-minded,? ?moderate? 5th and 6th district Republican challengers.