Tag Archive: Connie Wagner

Fun with Redistricting Redux: Keeping Hawthorne in LD35

The Blue Jersey community was very excited to read this week that our very own, Jeff Gardner, has made his electoral intentions official and opened up a legislative campaign account.  Ever since John Girgenti voted against marriage equality and set in motion a process that was kicked into high gear when Jeff’s slate of County Committee candidates defeated Girgenti’s last June, enabling Jeff to become Hawthorne’s Municipal Chair, I have thought about how redistricting might impact Jeff’s chances of running for and winning a State Assembly or State Senate seat in 2011.

There has been a lot of talk about John Girgenti’s future with regards to redistricting, primarily because he was a loyalist of Governor/Senator Richard Codey’s when the Steve Adubato/George Norcross axis of corruption staged their takeover of the Democratic leadership in Trenton.  As a result, neither Jeff nor Girgenti have any advocates for keeping their otherwise Republican-leaning town of Hawthorne in the very Democratic (thanks to Paterson) 35th LD on the legislative redistricting commission.  I could be wrong, but I think that if there is anything that Jeff and Girgenti agree on, is that it is in their best electoral interest for Hawthorne to stay in LD35.

But without any advocates on the LRC, the only thing that might help them keep Hawthorne in LD35 is a compelling argument that serves the agendas of some of the commission’s members.  There are two members of the LRC in particular whose agendas have become quite clear over the last year.

Addressing Gender Inequality in the State House

Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (via PolitickerNJ):

There are currently 13 districts without a woman in the New Jersey state legislature,” she said in an email. “That means 2.83 million people in New Jersey are being solely represented by men. Women make up more than 50 percent of the population, but only 28.3 percent of New Jersey legislature is female.”

Each time a seat opens up is an opportunity to send a very loud message to to the party’s base that the Democratic Party values fairness and diversity.

the good, the bad, the ugly below the fold

Passing The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights

promoted by Rosi

On Monday, the Legislature passed the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, a bipartisan initiative that will make New Jersey’s schools safer for all of our children. As the author of one of the nation’s first anti-bullying laws passed in 2002, I realized how prevalent this problem was when people began approaching up to me on the street, in the bank, and at public events thanking me for sponsoring the bill. I have since amended the law in 2007 to adapt to changing technology and the prevalence of Facebook by including cyber-bullying.

The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, the most recent update to New Jersey’s bullying statute, has been in the works for nearly ten months, and protects all students who are harassed, bullied or intimidated for any reason. The tragic death of Rutgers’ student Tyler Clementi altered the trajectory of this issue, propelling it to national significance, and now we need to take the necessary steps to make sure it never happens again.

The need for this bill was again underscored by yet another horrific bullying incident announced by the State Attorney General’s office yesterday. According to the announcement, the AG’s investigation of the Emerson school district concluded that its Board of Education violated the state’s anti-discrimination law by not addressing the continued harassment and assault of a student that lasted six years. That is simply unacceptable.

continue reading below

Scott Garrett Sells Out Bergen County Again

Welcome to Blue Jersey, Assemblywoman Wagner. – promoted by Rosi

He’s done it again. On what should be a wonderful day for education in New Jersey with the passage of a federal education aid bill, Bergen County has been sold out once again by Congressman Scott Garrett. Instead of joining colleagues like Senator Frank Lautenberg, he voted against a bill that will save 3,900 teaching jobs in our state. For any other member of Congress, this would be seen as a shocking betrayal of our children and hardworking school teachers. But for Congressman Garrett, it’s just another day at the office.

It should come as no surprise that Congressman Garrett has voted against health care reform, financial regulatory reform and the entire recent Democratic legislative agenda. After all, nearly all Washington Republicans voted in lock-step against these bills. But did you know that Congressman Garrett voted against health care funding for 9/11 first responders? Or that he was one of only 11 members of Congress to vote against aid for Hurricane Katrina victims? He voted against funding the prosecution of hate crimes, against stopping offshore drilling, against mandating child safety locks on handguns and against preventing oil companies from price gauging. And now, he has added another vote to this sordid list – voting against saving 3,900 teaching jobs in New Jersey.

The federal aid contained in this bill could not have come at a better time for New Jersey’s teachers and students. Governor Chris Christie’s budget cut $820 million in education funding, and a recent survey by the New Jersey School Boards Association showed that 80% of schools would have gone into the new year with fewer teachers, before the passage of this bill. Numerous studies have shown that overcrowded classrooms hurt educational development. That’s exactly where we were heading before this crucial vote.

Besides the case for our children, there’s also another important reason to support this bill – unemployment. Congressman Garrett, Governor Christie and the Republican Party want us to think public employees like teachers, police officers and firefighters are not real people with real jobs that provide real service to our community. Of course, we know that is far from the truth. With unemployment still hovering near 10%, needlessly firing 161,000 teachers nationally, 3,900 in New Jersey, would have been a catastrophe. Now, instead of filing for unemployment, these men and women will return to the classroom and educate our children, while continuing to pay their mortgages and purchase goods and services, helping the economy remain on a path toward recovery.

Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner recently referred to teachers and police officers as “special interests” while attacking the education aid bill. Clearly, this distorted view is shared by Congressman Garrett, since he’s so determined to stick it to them that he’s willing to vote against saving 3,900 jobs during a recession. For a politician who labels himself a job-creator, this is nearly incomprehensible.

Despite the best efforts of Congressman Garrett, the education aid bill passed the House and the Senate and is awaiting President Obama’s signature. There are many aspects of economic recovery that are out of the government’s control, but providing funding to keep teachers in the classrooms and off the unemployment rolls certainly is not one of them.

There will be many more important votes in Congress soon, and it can sometimes be hard to determine what your Congressional representative stands for. But with Scott Garrett, it’s easy – he stands for nothing.

Women in New Jersey’s Legislature (w/Poll)

When 2007 began, women held just 23 of the 120 seats in the New Jersey Legislature. That’s only 7 women in the Senate out of 40, and only 16 Assemblywomen out of 80. Of those 23 female legislators, 16 were Democrats, including 5 of the 7 Senators.

What a difference a day week year can make. Turns out, my predictions last week kinda sorta came true, with the recent unpleasantness producing two brand new Assemblywomen, Elease Evans (LD-35) and Mila Jasey (LD-27), and a very likely winner this fall added to the 38th District ballot, Connie Wagner.

Add them to primary winners earlier this year – likely future Senators Dana Redd (LD-5), Teresa Ruiz (LD-29), and Sandra Cunningham (LD-31); and likely future Assemblywomen Cleopatra Tucker (LD-28), Grace Spencer (LD-29) and Caridad Rodriguez (LD-33), and suddenly, the Legislature is starting to feel a little more estrogenated. Without a single upset in November, we’re already looking at a record 10 women in the Senate (8 of them Democrats), and a record 21 women in the Assembly (16 of them Democrats).

That’s right – there will be more Democratic women in the legislature next year than there are women total there now. Historic, yes. But, still nowhere near where we ought to be.

Of course, there’s still more story to tell, because it wouldn’t be election season if there weren’t a cool upset or two brewing. With a record number of women challenging Republicans all over the state, how many more women do you think can land in the legislature next year?

*Take the poll* on the flip (and share the reasons for your votes in the comments):

District 38 Dems Fall in Line

It was unanimous! What a surprise. 

Joe Ferriero had a “private conversation” with Joan Voss on Saturday.  And once again, all became right with the world on Sunday, and the planets all lined up for Joe Ferriero.  Bergen County Committee members of the 38th LD unanimously coronated – I mean nominated  – Bob Gordon to run in place of Joe Coniglio and current Freeholder Connie Wagner to run for Gordon’s seat.

Joe Ferriero predicted which Dem would win, and gosh darnit, he’s like the Great Criswell, wouldn’t you know it – he picked correctly.  How DOES he do it?  It’s doggone AMAZING! Thank God those County Committee folks in the 38th didn’t have to worry their silly little heads over such a thing as a choice of candidates.  Uncle Joe made it easy for them – just like he always does.  Bless his heart!

And so, Uncle Joe protected the State Senate and Senatorial Courtesy from the clutches of another (dare I say it? – WOMAN).  Whew!  The Bergen Boys were getting pretty worried they were losing their touch.  Now all they have to do is wait till Ken Zisa’s bad karma rubs off and they’ll replace Connie with Ken.  Or, they’ll trot him out to replace another fallen male State Senator in the near future.  Why waste Ken on an Assembly seat?  Promises are promises.  And Joe (almost) always gets his man.