Tag Archive: Vin Gopal

The state party’s grassroots commitment is REAL

First of the NJDSC’s new Deputy vide chairs to weigh in. The other 3 are welcome to do so, too. Promoted by Rosi.

Hi, everyone.  I’m honored to serve as one of the party’s new deputy vice chairs along with trailblazing Speaker Sheila Oliver, red-hot rising star Atlantic Freeholder Colin Bell, and the talented operative among operatives Vin Gopal.  They’re three of the truest progressives and best all-around people in politics with whom many of us have ever worked.  

Friends, over the years we have all lived through joy and the pain in dealing with the state party, the best of times and the worst of times, to an extent worthy of Dickens.  Oh, how I lived it all in our fight for marriage equality, particularly during the 2009 campaign for marriage equality when a number of  Democrats we’d long supported didn’t support us back.  You probably remember how pointed I was in response.  No sellout, not then, not now, not ever.

New NJDSC Deputy Vice-Chairs

One of the things that came out of the state Democratic conference in AC that ended Saturday was the selection of 4 new deputy vice chairs:

  • Sheila Oliver, Assembly Speaker Emeritus  

  • Colin Bell, Atlantic County Freeholder at-Large

  • Steven Goldstein, Founder/Chair Emeritus of Garden State Equality

  • Vin Gopal, Monmouth County Democratic Committee Chair

    I pull a couple of potentially significant items out of the NJDSC release. The first is that all four were referred to as ‘party activists.’ At least two of them, Gopal and Goldstein, come into party politics from actual and recent progressive activism; I don’t think the use of the word ‘activist’ was an accident. The second is that two of them, Bell and Gopal, are younger than most of the party establishment. That’s potentially encouraging. (Bell I don’t know much about at all, I found a short bio on him here).

    In addition, a quorum of NJDSC voting members authorized the organization to establish additional caucuses intended to help build grassroots support for Democratic candidates. One of them will be a Progressive Caucus. We’ll have more on that down the line.  

  • What’s Happening Today Thu. 10/10/2013

    “Obama is a Tyrant” and “bodies floating around of shooting victims”, were just a few of the extreme comments uttered by former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan in the last U.S. Senate debate with Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Democratic candidate Booker offered a strong performance last night – firm, rational, and giving no quarter to Steve Lonegan. In fact he made Lonegan flustered, mad and defensive on occasion. Booker frequently tied Lonegan to the Tea Party and added statements like “You are very much on the extreme on this issue.” Several times the debate became heated with each interrupting the other. Lonegan may have felt empowered as he threw out red meat because there appeared to be a large contingent of like-minded individuals in the audience. However, Lonegan’s rhetoric is not going to win the day with Democrats or most independents. According to yesterday’s Stockton Poll, “Booker leads by 11 points, which is identical to the percentage of respondents who are undecided or refuse to identify who they will vote for. Lonegan is in the position to have to convert all of these to draw the race into a tie with Booker.” With the lottery they say, “You have to be in it to win it.” It’s no different with this Special Election next Wednesday for which turn-out is predicted to be low.

    Flags at half-staff today for Nicholas Oresko to mark the passing of a NJ veteran who had been the oldest living recipient of the Medal of Honor. The Army master sergeant, a Bayonne native, was badly wounded as he single-handedly took out two enemy bunkers during the horrific Battle of the Bulge in 1945. He died Oct. 4 at a New Jersey hospital at the age of 96.

    No news is bad news: 10th day of the shutdown: For voters in CD 5 this is a petition you can sign here from MoveoOn.org to Rep. Scott Garrett: “From the government shutdown to the debt ceiling, Tea Party Republicans have wreaked enough havoc on our country. Stop holding the country hostage to further your political gains; vote on a clean budget resolution and raise the debt ceiling without demanding cuts to Social Security, Obamacare, or any other vital programs.” The petition will not stop Garrett, but in a district where Democrats and independents often accept apathetically his garbage, it is important to remind him there are many in disagreement with him.

    Yardsigns have arrived for LD 38! You can get yardsigns for other districts as well by calling your local legislators. (Not recommended if they are Republicans.) For LD 38 you can show your support for Sen. Bob Gordon and Assemblymen Tim Eustace and Joe Lagana. Pick up your sign (and offer to volunteer) at their campaign headquarters at 31-00 Broadway, 3rd Floor in Fair Lawn.

    The Tri-State Transportation Campaign says, NJDOT spends more on walking, biking and transit but not enough to improve safety or maintain State’s roads. The full report can be found here.


    U. S. Senate candidate Cory Booker, Gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono, and  Lt. Gubernatorial Candidate Milly Silva: 4:30-6:30pm, a joint Monmouth County Voter Rally, 4:30-6:30pm, Bates Elks Lodge #220, 306 Shrewsbury Ave., Red Bank.  

    Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: Barbara Buono: 7:45pm, with Assemblywoman Pamela Lampittt (D-6), Camden County Democratic Committee, 2240-15 Route 70 W., Cherry Hill.

    Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign: Chris Christie: 11:15am, with former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal (two individuals who are never shy) talk with students at the Boys & Girls Club and make an announcement about a Just Play campaign, East Camden.  

    U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker: morning news conference on the shutdown, with Senate President Stephen Sweeney and NJ State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech, Social Security Administration office, Trenton; 7:00pm, fundraiser at the home of Ghulam Suhrawardi with Rep. Frank Pallone (D-CD 6), Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal, and Assemblyman Upendra J. Chivukula (D-17), Colts Neck, for more info go here.

    Jersey Girls Caucus Power List

    Loretta Weinberg Binder
    Sen. Weinberg looks over the Binder Full of Women

    PolitickerNJ’s Power List came out for 2012 a few days ago. It’s a fun list, and we sure did like it when Blue Jersey founder Juan Melli was listed by predecessor PoliticsNJ as Politician of the Year just months after Blue Jersey launched. I don’t always think the same things are important as Politicker does, which is not to disparage them, merely to say when it comes to what’s worth talking about, we have different viewpoints. Nevertheless, fun list. I particularly enjoyed seeing rising Dem leader Vin Gopal show up there.

    But Sen. Loretta Weinberg took a closer look. And as you can read in the comment skirmish between her and Politicker’s Darryl Isherwood, the two of them don’t see power quite the same way, and the appearance of so few women on the list – which Darryl defends – is a concern.

    Of Politicker’s 100, only 15 are women; there are only 4 in the Top 50. Mary Pat Christie’s highest ranked (6), followed by Christie Communications Director Maria Comella (13), Christie mortgagor Michelle Brown (33) and his Deputy COS for Policy, Deborah Gramiccioni. Weinberg:

    PolitickerNJ released their list of “100 most powerful political players in New Jersey.” By the boldface type in the article, readers were warned, “Please keep in mind that, as usual, the list doesnot include elected officials, judges, or former governors.” They forgot to mention, that this year’s list also does not include most of the states most powerful political players who happen to be women. Only 15 women were included in this year’s list of 100. For those lucky 15, many of them are fortunate to have close connections to male “players” listed well above them.

    The Jersey Girls List is alphabetical – egalitarian that way. I’m on it. And yes, that makes me stammer a little, blush and kick at the imaginary pebble at my feet. But it’s by no means a Dems-only list. For that would be wrong.

    Jersey Girls Caucus Power List, below the fold.

    Monmouth Ground Zero

    This is really great. I was so glad to see an article pop up (after Roundup) about the rise in political force of Monmouth County’s LGBT community. From the piece, by the Ledger’s Mark Bonamo:

    The LGBT community is growing both numerically and politically in Monmouth County. According to the 2010 Census, 24,112 same-sex couples now live in New Jersey – a 45 percent increase from 2000. The sharpest increase was in Asbury Park, which had a 305 percent gain in same-sex couples.

    Monmouth & Ocean Dems Join Forces – Should Your County Do This?

    Chris Christie won Ocean County by 70,000 votes. He took Monmouth, home of NJ’s first LG Kim Guadagno, by about 65,000 votes (plus Dems lost freeholder control). It was a drop through the floor for Monmouth; McGreevey won the county just 8 years earlier. Corzine lost by only 7,500 votes in 2005. But both counties, particularly the shore towns, were death to the Dems in 2009. But now Monmouth & Ocean Dems are calling a new play, starting with a campaign training together next month. Ocean Dems Chair Wyatt Earp:

    Ocean and Monmouth are working together, using database and web technologies, social media and old fashioned organizing to  get the Democratic message out. Our goal is to make sure that we are able to effectively increase Democratic voter turnout and  get out the Democratic message to independent voters and working families.

    I talked to newly-elected Monmouth Chair Vin Gopal, who’s been a friend and colleague for years via DFA. The program he and Wyatt Earp are planning is ambitious.

    Do we take back the governor’s mansion if we continue to hemorrhage votes in those counties? Nobody wants to find that out. Bad as the numbers there were, they were worse in my home county of Hunterdon, where Christie had the highest percentage victory (Ocean yapping at our tails .02% behind us). My crimson county struggles; right now, many of our local towns don’t even have municipal candidates running. Hunterdon has basics to catch up on. Maybe we should be partnering with another county, too.

    Here’s how Earp & Gopal plan to ramp-it-up. It starts with the first-ever joint training and conference Sept. 15th. Follow me: