Tag Archive: Annette Quijano

Koch Conspirators

There’s an old Middle Eastern saying, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” I don’t buy into this philosophy, but it does provide a starting point for evaluating that enemy of my enemy.

Today, the Koch Brothers’ organization, Americans for Prosperity, released a 2014 scorecard of New Jersey legislators. AFP has a simplistic philosophy – government and taxes are bad. However, the real world is more nuanced than that, but it’s interesting to see how AFP rated some of our New Jersey legislators.

What’s Happening Today Fri. 09/06/2013

Campaign Stop Trivia: Thursday afternoon Gov. Christie went to Moonachie’s Robert L. Craig School, much-damaged during Sandy but now open. As opposed to his Town Hall shows, this was a no-glittz affair without music, spotlights, video, banners or even a flag. (Isn’t that a no-no?). The audience consisted of about 250 pre-K through 8th grade students (not a voter among them), a few teachers, Education Commissioner Chris Cerf, District Senator Paul Sarlo, embattled Republican County Executive Kathleen Donovan, the press (including seven video cameras glued on the stage) and Christie’s retinue. Maria Comella, Christie’s Communications Director (in charge of marketing Christie with a large, savvy staff that must make other governors envious) sits patiently at the rear of the gymnasium until she learns the Governor is arriving whereupon she ducks into the back room where he stands with his security detail. After having waited for about 40 minutes the well-behaved kids have started getting a little restless. Ten minutes later Christie walks in, speaks a few minutes, and then answers questions from the students. He acknowledges help from President Obama in repairing the school and even refers once to “the President and me.” There was plenty of space outdoors (and inside) for those who don’t like Christie’s and Cerf’s education policies to carry signs, march and protest, but no protestors were there.

Organizing for Action (OFA) is holding events in New Jersey to tell Congress to move forward with comprehensive immigration reform. 12:00pm, Rep. Chris Smith’s (R CD 4) Office, 112 Village Center Drive – 2nd Fl. Raintree Shopping Center, Freehold; and on Saturday, 12:00pm, Congressman Runyan’s (R CD3) Office, 4167 Church Road , Mount Laurel.  

The Assembly is back in session on Monday at 10:00am and has scheduled the following bills for a vote:

A3680 [Coutinho, Albert/Singleton, Troy+26], NJ Econ. Opportunity Act of 2013

A3797 [Mainor, Charles/Eustace, Timothy J.+5], Firearms, cert-concern reporting of info

A4329 [Bramnick, Jon M./Angelini, Mary Pat], Home invasion-creates crime

AR176 [Chivukula, Upendra J./Bramnick, Jon M.], Baha’i prisoners-immediate release

S2842 [Scutari, Nicholas P./Vitale, Joseph F.+1], Med. marijuana prog.

Public Schedules:

Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: 11:30am, Barbara Buono, Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-20), and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-37): Press Conference to call for New Jersey high-school graduates who are undocumented immigrants brought to America as children to qualify for in-state tutition rates at the state’s public colleges, Rutgers AAUP-AFT, 11 Stone St. New Brunswick; Barbara Buono and Milly Silva: 5:30pm, 22nd Annual “Celebration of Labor” Parade and March, Newark City Hall, 920 Broad St, Newark.

Governor and Gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie: early morning appearance on NFL AM show. He heads to Texas this weekend, Michael Symons says, “where he’ll attend Sunday’s NFL opening-weekend game in Dallas between the Cowboys and Giants – rooting for the home team, not the one that plays in New Jersey. He’s attending with Ray Washburne, a Dallas businessman and finance chairman for the Republican National Committee.”

Senate candidate Cory Booker: has said he is discontinuing his campaign events this week in order to concentrate on Newark crime matters.

Rally for Gun Control in Jersey City

While a rally for sensible gun laws was being held on the National Mall today, a group of about 200 New Jerseyans came to Lincoln Park in Jersey City to rally for similar controls at the state and federal levels. Hosted by Jersey City Major Jeremiah Healy, a slew of Democratic elected officials spoke about how to prevent the next Columbine or Newtown.  While the temperatures were very cold, this did not dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd or the speakers.

Not a single Republican was on the stand. This should not be. Our children’s’ safety and that of ourselves should not be a partisan issue. Just like the Koch Brothers should not be dictating our energy policies, the NRA and their patrons should not be endangering our kids. As with marriage equality, the GOP is simply on the wrong side of history.

Stay tuned to Blue Jersey. Over the next few days, I’ll post some of the comments from the speakers including Congressman Frank Pallone, former Governor Jim Florio, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, Senators Barbara Buono, Bob Gordon, and Ray Lesniak, and Assembly members Joe Cryan, Angelica Jimenez, Connie Wagner, Charles Mainor, and Jason O’Donnell.



Decriminalize Pot: “The Punishment Doesn’t Fit the Crime”

My object all sublime

I shall achieve in time

To let the punishment fit the crime


– Gilbert & Sullivan: The Mikado

15 Democrats and three Republicans in the Assembly have joined to sponsor a bill to decriminalize possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana. There will be a Judiciary Committee hearing for the bill (A-1465) on Monday at 10:00 AM in the State House Annex. The effort, led by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-15), already has an impressive number of initial bipartisan sponsors. However, 23 additional assemblypersons are needed to assure passage. The complete list of sponsors so far appears below the fold.

As the Star Ledger points out, “Currently, those caught with small amounts of marijuana for personal use face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, in addition to a possible driver’s license suspension and hundreds of dollars in court fees. While possession of more than 15 grams and less than 50 grams constitutes a disorderly charge, possession of 15 grams or less under this bill will only call for a fine and possible drug treatment.

Three members of the Judiciary Committee are already sponsors: Chair Peter Barnes (D-18), Ralph Caputo (D-28), and Michael Patrick Carroll (R-25). You can call or email the other members: Vice Chair Annette Quijano (D-20), Gordon Johnson (D-37), John McKeon (D-27) and Holly Schepisi (R-39).

As Assemblyman Gusciora says, “The punishment really doesn’t fit the crime.”

Marriage Equality – For the Record

Following almost seven hours of testimony on Thursday, the members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee went on record with their votes to move the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption bill to the full chamber.  As in the Senate committee, the vote was along party lines, with some Democrats expressing reservations but ultimately voting for equality while other Democrats were solidly in favor.

The two Republicans on the committee had interesting views and their remarks are worth listening to. It still surprises me how a libertarian like Michael Patrick Carroll can be for discrimination and government intervention in a civil rights issue. His argument comes right out of the Santorum playbook – since there is no societal benefit to equal rights, it’s fine to vote against them.

Freshman GOP Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi appeared torn and indecisive. Her rambling remarks argued both sides of the issue but she ultimately voted for discrimination. I don’t know if she can be flipped, but it would certainly be worthwhile if she could hear from pro-equality constituents. In the arc of the history of the New Jersey Assembly, she’ll go down as having cast her first vote in favor of discrimination. I wonder if she wants this to be the legacy of her political career.

The video is 29 minutes long. If you want to jump ahead, here are the starting times for each speaker:

Gordon Johnson (D) 00:00

Reed Gusciora (D) 02:03

Ralph Caputo (D) 05:58

Annette Quijano (D) 07:40

Holly Schepisi (R) 13:20

Michael Patrick Carroll (R) 21:35

Peter Barnes (D) 22:33

Voting 28:01



In Union County, “Democrats for Change” = Democrats for Christie

Weigh in, especially you Union County folks – Rosi

By Stephen Yellin – I am proud to be on the ballot for the June 7th primary on Column A. I am also a candidate for Township Council in Berkeley Heights.

This isn’t a ‘me-first’ rally – this is a ‘community-first’ rally…a worker’s rights rally!

            Joe Cryan, March 3 2011 (standing with union workers in Trenton)

He’s going to do a wonderful, fabulous job as our next Governor.

         Tony Monteiro, November 4 2009 (at Chris Christie’s victory party)

On June 7th, Democrats in the 20th Legislative District (Elizabeth, Hillside, Roselle and Union) have a clear choice to make. They have a choice between the regular Democratic ticket, whose Democratic Party credentials aren’t in question, and a renegade group called “Democrats for Change”.

Just who are these “Democrats for Change”, and what do they stand for? Examining the facts paints a troubling picture of this group, and its candidates for the State Legislature in the 20th District. This ticket has managed to combine the 2 worst problems confronting New Jersey today: a corrupt, unaccountable political machine and the enabling of Chris Christie’s destructive, divisive policies across our state.

Amend It, Don’t End It

When your Chevy gets a flat tire, you’re not happy, but you don’t throw out the car, you repair the tire. Yet, if Governor Christie were your mechanic, he would not only sell your entire car, but give the money to one of his friends to help buy a Lamborghini. That’s the analogy that fits the Governor’s approach to the highly successful Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) program.

The UEZ program has been in effect in New Jersey for three decades. Started under Governor Kean, it provides incentives for the establishment and operation of businesses in challenging urban areas. The money spent in providing these incentives has provided returns many times over. Yet, Governor Christie has announced that he is ending the program on June 30 and will use the funds to once again help balance the state’s budget on the backs of those who can least afford it.

Assemblyman Albert Coutinho chaired a session of the Commerce and Economic Development Committee this afternoon to hear testimony on the UEZ program and the impact of the governor’s axe.


Assemblyman Coutinho

Assemblywoman Annette Quijano to Chair Homeland Security Panel

“A representative of one of our largest port cities, with proximity to one of the nation’s busiest airports, she fully understands the importance of homeland security to the safety and well-being of our residents.

–NJ Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver

6a00d83451b91969e20120a9635b11970b-320wiDemocrats choose Quijano

Union County Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Elizabeth) will be the new Chairwoman of the Assembly Homeland Security Committee.

The panel’s responsibilities include oversight of issues pertaining to counter-terrorosim, port security, emergency responders, and (as the name suggests) general homeland security. It’s a powerful position with a lot on the line.

Quijano takes the gavel from Fred Scalera who left office after a half-term to go spend time with a better paying job. Rounding out the panel are Democrats Gordon Johnson (co-chair), John Burzichelli and Vince Prieto and Republicans David Russo and Robert Schroeder.

Who Gets the Gavel?

6a00d83451b91969e20120a9635b11970b-320wiWill the Democrats choose diversity?

Leadership battles reveal a lot about a party. And now that Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein is headed to the NJ Senate, there’s a battle brewing over who will take over Greenstein’s gavel as chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

According to PolitickerNJ, three members of the democratic caucus have put their name forward, including anti-choice Assemblyman Peter Barnes.

For obvious reasons, I’d rather the gavel go to Annette Quijano (the current co-chair) or Reed Gusciora (a more tenured committee member) because both are so clearly superior to Barnes on progressive issues like gay rights and choice.

Again, a lot is revealed about the nature and direction of a party based on leadership choices like these. Stay tuned….