Tag Archive: Mark Alexander

Mark Alexander joins Ready for Hillary PAC to promote Obamacare

When I look at her at night, I think there are a lot worse things that could happen to you in life than than to get caught redhanded trying to give health care to 40 million Americans that don’t have it.

Bill Clinton, 1995, about Hillary Clinton, following harsh criticism by Republicans after she spearheaded the failed Clinton task force to reform health care access

Mark Alexander is joining the superPAC promoting Hillary Clinton for President, urging Ready for Hillary PAC supporters to spread the word about the Affordable Care Act, and sign up at the new the health exchanges if they don’t now have insurance. His letter, released by the Washington Post, also sheds harsh light on the federal government shutdown congressional Republicans forced in their failed efforts to derail what they call ‘Obamacare’.

Alexander, the Seton Hall Law professor who was an advisor to Barack Obama as early as 2007 when he was a first-term Senator, served as policy director and senior advisor for his 2008 White House win, and has advised him as President. Earlier this year, the Montclair resident unsuccessfully challenged Nia Gill in New Jersey’s 34th Legislative District Democratic primary. The Clintons have been supportive of the Obama White House health initiative.

Read the letter supporting ACA sent by Mark Alexander, below the fold.

An Absent Senator

Before Woodland Park was redistricted into the 40th District, my hometown was a part of the old 34th District. As a three-term Councilman, and the current Mayor, I worked with elected officials at every level of government to solve the problems faced by our residents.

Congressman Pascrell was and is always a phone call away when a problem arises. Speaker Oliver and Assemblyman Giblin advocated for Woodland Park in the State Assembly. Even my current Republican Senator Kevin O’Toole has been active in Woodland Park, recently holding a town hall meeting with constituents.

Not so with Senator Gill.

The constituent services from her office were non-existent. Flooding has been a persistent problem in Woodland Park, yet Senator Gill never worked on are behalf for funding or solutions. Senator Gill was an absent Senator. The 34th District deserves better, and the Democratic Party deserves better.

Now, Woodland Park is no longer in the 34th, so you might be wondering, why I’m even writing this blog? That is simple: I know Mark Alexander. And I know the type of leader he can be in the State Senate. Over the past twelve months, he has been a constant presence in Clifton and Passaic County. He is the progressive independent leader we need fighting for the core principles of the Democratic Party in the State Senate.

Even though Woodland Park is no longer in the 34th, I know he will only be a phone call away if Woodland Park needs his help. Just like Congressman Pascrell.

I’m urging all of my friends and neighbors in Clifton, East Orange, Montclair, and Orange to vote “Mark Alexander” for the New Jersey State Senate.

The Star-Ledger Endorses Mark Alexander in the 34th District

Full Disclosure: I work for Mark Alexander.

Last week, The Star-Ledger endorsed our campaign with an editorial every voter in the 34th District (and progressive Democrat) needs to read. As they wrote about Senator Gill:

She is an average player at best, and the main reason is she simply does not devote the energy to the job that’s required to do it well.

They go on:

Alexander is fighting the machine, and that makes him the underdog in a system like New Jersey’s. But he deserves to win. And it is not a close call.

Click here to get involved before June 4th and send an independent Democrat to Trenton.


East Orange Mayor Says Sex In Government Office and Campaign Finance Violations Are A Private Issue

promoted by Rosi

Cross-Posted On FireDogLake

Embattled East Orange New Jersey Mayor Robert Bowser has an interesting theory. In a press conference on Friday Mayor Bowser told reporters that his admission of a sexual affair with a subordinate in a sexual harassment deposition is a private issue and belongs between him and his wife. The mayor read a prepared statement and refused to answer any questions as a spokesman referred reporters to a written form of the statement the mayor gave and the contact information for the mayor’s lawyer.

But is this a reasonable assertion?

According to The Star-Ledger, which obtained a copy of the sealed sexual harassment deposition, the affair was between the mayor and a subordinate city employee and sex acts occurred inside the mayor’s office on government time.

According to the deposition obtained by The Star-Ledger, Corletta Hicks, Bowser’s former research assistant, gave him oral sex on multiple occasions, including in his city hall office, while she was working for him…

The mayor previously denied having a relationship with Hicks while she worked for him in city hall, maintaining they had “no personal relationship throughout her tenure in my office.”

The mayor also disclosed payments were made after each sexual encounter and that Ms. Hicks at one point resisted his sexual advances.

In the Jan. 3 deposition, Bowser, 77, admitted the affair started roughly four months into Hicks’ tenure and lasted until late 2010. He said he would give her money after the encounters, estimating he paid her roughly $3,000…

Bowser initially denied that he sexually harassed Hicks but admitted in the deposition that Hicks resisted his sexual advances on one occasion, according to the document.

Furthermore the mayor used money from his campaign fund to buy gifts for Hicks’ child according to the deposition.

According to the documents, Bowser wrote a $400 check to Erika Prince, the daughter of his former research assistant Corletta Hicks, who in 2011 filed a discrimination suit against the mayor which included claims of sexual harassment.

Bowser said the money was for a “book scholarship” for Prince “at the time she was taking some courses,” he said in the document, a copy of which was obtained by The Star-Ledger.

Bowser acknowledged in the deposition that the gift had nothing to do with his campaign. According to the Election Law Enforcement Commission, personal use of campaign funds could result in fines of up to $7,600 per violation and, in some cases, could become a criminal matter.

Is it really a private issue between spouses when one of the spouses violates campaign finance law to give gifts to his mistress’ child and engages in sexual activity inside his government office when he is supposed to be working for the taxpayers? Tough sell.

(more after the jump)

On Mark Alexander, Nia Gill, and Voltaire

In his recent diary here, Professor Mark Alexander chose to use a quote uttered by his opponent, Senator Nia Gill, when she tried to justify her lack of support on the limitation of ammunition magazine size as part of the gun safety debate.

Gill said, “We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

According to the Google machine, this quote is attributable to Voltaire, a French philosopher who plagiarized the idea from Italian sages.

As an engineer, who was trained to always look for the optimum solution to a problem and has worked in the corporate world for over four decades, I often heard my bosses invoke this quote in order to meet cost, schedule, or performance on a myriad of projects.

Despite the way the Tea Party views the world, the world is not black and white. We can strive for perfection while realizing that we will never get there. We will never be able to eliminate all accidental or criminal gun murders, but does Senator Gill’s use of Voltaire’s line mean we are doing enough? How close to perfection can we come?

Let’s take a look at another area, where we have come very close to perfection:  America’s commercial aviation system. Thanks to investment in upgrades to our air traffic control system, strict ongoing training for flight crews, and other government regulations, a person could fly every day for 123,000 years before being in a fatal crash. If the fatality rate for air travel were the same as the fatality rate for gun owners, people would be enraged and demand action.

We should take the same tack with gun safety. There’s no logical or legal reason we need 15-round magazines. Heck, even 10 is too much. When the Second Amendment was crafted, shooters had to reload after each shot. As we heard from the Newtown parents this week in Trenton, some of their kids would still be alive today if the terrorist had not had easy access to high-capacity magazines. Maybe he could have obtained them illegally, but why make it easy for him?

It’s up to our leaders like Senator Gill to work toward perfection while being willing to accept a reasonable compromise. After sitting through the Newtown parents’ press conference, I can only conclude that the abandonment of the magazine size limitation is not such a compromise.

While the perfect may be the enemy of the good, without striving for perfection we are settling for mediocrity. Is that what we elect our leaders for?

“We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good”

Promoted by Rosi. We invite Senator Gill to reply.

Cross-Posted at VoteMarkAlexander.com

This was Senator Nia Gill’s excuse to explain her support for the watered-down gun control legislation introduced by Senator Steve Sweeney. We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. It is baffling to me that Senator Gill could even utter those words in front of the families of Newtown victims. That’s Senator Gill’s excuse for not pushing forward a bill limiting the size of ammunition magazines yesterday.

All elected officials must stand by a simple pledge: when it comes to protecting our children, we must put politics aside.

Senator Gill once again let politics dictate her actions, leaving New Jersey families out in the cold. How can a Democratic Majority in the State Senate, coupled with a nationwide demand for stricter gun control, not result in legislation that provides comfort, safety and peace of mind to families? Senator Gill’s inability to get the magazine limit even posted for a vote demonstrates her failed leadership.

It further highlights our need for new representation in Trenton.

Senator Gill’s failure to act for tougher guns laws is further illuminated by a look behind the scenes. Senator Sweeney, who makes the ultimate decision on what bills are posted, has steered over $30,000 in campaign contributions to Senator Gill. Even though Senator Gill at first supported the ammunition capacity limit bill (which passed the Assembly), she abandoned it in favor of Senator Sweeney’s wishes, selling out not only her principles, but New Jersey families as well.

We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

This is transactional politics at its worst.

Double Dipping in LD34

Full Disclosure: I am Mark Alexander’s Communications Director.

This past week, 34th District State Senate candidate Mark Alexander appeared on NJTV‘s On The Record with Michael Aron. Unfortunately, Senator Gill refused to appear on the show with Mark, so they appeared in back-to-back interviews. Our campaign will continue to call for Senator Gill to debate in every community in the 34th District so residents are given the opportunity to hear directly from those looking to represent them in Trenton.

One thing was most telling about Senator Gill’s interview. In discussing her $50,000 no-bid legal contract with the Essex County Improvement Authority, she said the following:

“I’m a lawyer. I’ve been a lawyer for 28 years and I’ve had this job for the last five [the $50,000 contract with the Essex County Improvement Authority]. They are a client. And so, it is nothing that has not been reported on. It is on my disclosure form. The no-bid contract is a service contract, it’s not a contract that is no-bid because of me.”

This is the problem in New Jersey. Too many State Legislators are benefitting from inside deals like this one, and think it is acceptable conduct. How can Senator Gill be independent when part of her livelihood is dependent on a public contract given to her by the Essex County party bosses? When Governor Christie dismantled NJN, Senator Gill was a willing participant. Why? The Essex County bosses made her fall in line.

A State Senator getting a no-bid contract from a public entity is unacceptable.

Mark isn’t going to Trenton for a job or contract. He is going to serve the people of the 34th District, first and foremost. As a tenured Law Professor at Seton Hall, he doesn’t need to worry about outside influences affecting how he votes. The people will always be his first priority. And his independence will be unquestioned.  

Watch the full segment here.

An Interview with Mark Alexander

If you’re running for office, it doesn’t hurt to have a good political lineage. Watching how the system works close up and having easy access to mentors can only be a plus. And Mark Alexander, who is competing with Senator Nia Gill for her seat in the 34th Legislative District, has a great pedigree. His father was a senior advisor and policymaker for President Lyndon Johnson, and Alexander has worked for several influential Democrats such as Senators Bill Bradley and Howard Metzenbaum, Mayor Cory Booker, and most notably President Barack Obama.

Currently on sabbatical from his position as a law professor at Seton Hall, Alexander is a Visiting Research Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs at Princeton University.

This afternoon, I spoke with him at his Princeton office which is festooned with Obama memorabilia. Alexander and I talked about the campaign, some of the issues of the day, and his work for President Obama.

(We also invite Senator Gill to participate in a similar interview if she wishes)

Protecting our environment on Earth Day

promoted by Rosi

Protecting our environment, combatting climate change, and adopting sensible sustainability measures need to be priorities of our State Legislature. Hurricane Sandy demonstrated the consequences of inaction on these important issues. As a member of the New Jersey State Senate, I would push for common sense policies that protect our environment and make New Jersey more eco-friendly. Additionally, I would advocate strongly for New Jersey to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and for a carbon tax that could provide a funding stream for mass transit projects in our State.

Cleaning up the Passaic River

The Passaic River is one of the most polluted waterways in the country. The watershed is in the most densely populated area in New Jersey – serving 3 million people. We need to protect and bring the Passaic River back to life. Dredging projects must continue throughout the entire 17 miles of the Lower Passaic River and Newark Bay. Currently, only the lower 8 miles of the Lower Passaic River are slated for dredging, leaving the upper 9 miles of the river that flows through Clifton without a cleaner and more usable Lower Passaic River. Dredging would significantly improve water quality and ensure that contaminants will not create problems for future generations.

Earth Credits

These tax credits would incentivize sustainable and eco-friendly practices, and move construction and building codes towards sustainability. New Jersey gives millions in subsidies and corporate welfare to companies that pollute our environment. It is now the time to spend a little less to those who destroy, and give more to those who protect.

On Earth Day, we need to start a conversation about ways to protect our planet and quality of life. Sustainable practices can create jobs, improve our communities, and protecting our Earth for generations to come.

Public education in New Jersey

The life of this post, I think, is in the comments and reactions to it, respectfully moreso than in the post. What do you think, Blue Jersey? Promoted by Rosi

Cross-Posted at VoteMarkAlexander.com

As a teacher with four children in the public schools, strengthening our schools to provide a quality education for all our children is important to me on a very personal level. In order for New Jersey to be competitive, we need strong public schools in all corners of our State.

Education is the silver bullet to so many societal ills.

My campaign for the New Jersey State Senate has attracted parents and educators who also share a commitment to our schools. Last week, Bishop Dr. Reginald T. Jackson endorsed my campaign stating: “As an educator himself and Policy Director to President Obama, I know Mark can lead the way in Trenton on education reform and so many other important issues being debated in Trenton.” And in countless meetings throughout the district – at train stations, supermarkets and while knocking on doors, one refrain is constant: parents want New Jersey schools to be the best they can be.

Education is the pathway.

When people started to speculate that Bishop Jackson’s endorsement of my campaign was all about school vouchers, it was the ugly side of politics shining through. Bishop Jackson has been an inspirational leader for all in New Jersey for decades. He is supporting me over Senator Gill because he knows we need new, independent leadership in Trenton. We need independent leadership in Trenton that will abandon the current practice of saying “No” to any new idea, and adopt as Bishop Jackson so wisely says an approach to education that is “by any means necessary” to achieve improvement.

In too many schools in the 34th District and across New Jersey students are testing below median averages in areas of language and math. There is a disturbing trend of a racial achievement gap manifesting itself. The time has come for new ideas and new energy so we can lift every school up and place them on the right track. A quality education should not be dependent on your zip code or income level.

We can do better. And we must do better.

That was my promise to Bishop Jackson: that I will work with him to make our inner city schools better. I cannot sit idly by while too many continue to fail. I will work with the New Jersey Education Association and other stakeholders to ensure that everyone has a seat at the table, that every voice is heard, and that we reach a consensus that makes our schools better for our children. The time has come to change the status quo and to ensure that a quality education in our public schools is universal across our district. The first step on that journey comes by voting for new leadership in Trenton.