Tag Archive: women’s health

What’s Your Trump Era Top 5?

I’ve been thinking about that scene in Forrest Gump when he runs back and forth across the country for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours. He gains a following. People find purpose in what he’s doing. He’s peppered with questions…
Read more

Ann Baker 1936-2016

Some of you knew Ann Baker much better than I did. I’d love to hear stories, anything you want to say. I was going to write about Women’s Equality Day today, because a piece in Time today reminded me that it was…
Read more

Senator Loretta Weinberg at Women’s Health Rally

Every year, the State Legislature allocates $7.5 million in its budget for women’s health. And every year, Chris Christie uses his line-item veto to eradicate this much-needed support. According to Senator Loretta Weinberg, six women’s health clinics have already been forced to close due to lack of funding.

The senator was the keynote speaker at a rally this morning on the steps of the State House Annex. A brief interview and her remarks are in the video below.

It’s a sign of Christie’s character that he would not hesitate to spend $12.5 million on an unnecessary election just to ensure his name is at the top of the ballot, but consistently vetoes a lesser amount that would help tens of thousands of women.

This Budget and This Governor Are Not What We Need

Governor Christie in his opening press release statement trumpets his budget actions by boasting he “acts decisively to veto over $1 billion in irresponsible tax hikes and balances a fifth consecutive budget. He makes the hard and necessary choice to protect essential services for NJ families.” Well, the tax hikes were not irresponsible. They were designed to meet a contractual obligation to State employees and retirees. He has no choice but to balance the budget as it’s required by law. As a result of his huge line item vetoes and smaller legislative cuts we end up with a budget lower than he proposed, lower than the legislature’s budget and lower than last year’s budget. Christie should have an easier time to meet his revenue projections, but he has insufficient funds “to protect essential services for NJ families.” After poorly managing the economy, not meeting a union obligation, and having the legislature cut some of his priorities, it is no surprise that he “signed the budget privately in his inner office.”

LD-7 Candidates’ Debate

On the surface, last night’s debate among the candidates in the 7th Legislative District looked like an exercise in kumbaya. Each of the six candidates stressed their bipartisanship, their desire to control taxes, and their support for marriage equality. The Republicans noted areas where they differ from the Governor while the Democrats stressed areas where they have cooperated with him.

While registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in the District, party affiliation is not an overriding factor among those voters. Incumbents Senator Diane Allen (Republican) and Assemblyman Herb Conaway (Democrat) are both very popular among voters of both parties. The other incumbent, first term Assemblyman Troy Singleton, is not as well known but is no stranger to the machinations of State House politics, having been Chief of Staff to former Speaker Joe Roberts. Singleton has worked hard during his term to gain the name recognition that Allen and Conaway have garnered over the years.

The challengers in the debate were all well prepared. Democrat Gary Catrambone, a small businessman is facing an uphill battle to unseat Allen, a former television reporter. The Republican Assembly challengers are Anthony Ogazalek, a lawyer, and Jeff Banasz, an Iraq combat veteran who now is an insurance broker.

Conaway and Singleton leveraged their Trenton experience by answering questions with specific initiatives in which they were involved. While Conaway’s tenure offered him a longer history of accomplishments (including chairmanship of the Health Committee), Singleton’s one term (actually a bit longer, as he was appointed to complete the last few months of Jack Conners’ term when Conners resigned from the Assembly) reflects his rapid rise in the Democratic hierarchy. The freshman assemblyman leveraged his membership on the powerful Budget Committee, and advanced dozens of bills, several of which have been signed by the Governor.

We Care, Even if the Governor Doesn’t

Instead of setting a critical US Senate election date for the November general election, Governor Christie called a separate special election at an estimated cost of $12 million dollars. Saying, “I don’t know what the cost is and quite frankly I don’t care.”

We do care.

Governor Christie has his spending priorities all wrong. Not once, not twice, but four times he has vetoed attempts by the Legislature to restore funding for cost effective family planning services for the women of New Jersey, which would have supported lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, and well-woman checkups for thousands of patients. He also left millions in federal dollars on the table by withdrawing an application for a Medicaid family planning waiver that would have helped women in New Jersey in need of publicly funded contraceptive care.

The estimated $12 million for the special election would fully restore the funding necessary to provide these crucial health services. When questioned about the costs associated with the additional election, Governor Christie stated it was necessary, “because all the people of New Jersey will benefit from it.”

Governor Christie should stop playing election year politics and put taxpayer money where it belongs, into the cost effective health care services that benefit all New Jerseyans.

Ed Remsen is the Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey. The Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit 501(c)(4) organization formed as the advocacy arm of the Planned Parenthood Affiliates of New Jersey. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity including legislative advocacy, voter education, and grassroots organizing.

Coalition of Groups Protest Outside Christie’s Women’s Conference

Governor Christie sponsoring a conference on women’s issues is like the Westboro Baptist Church sponsoring a forum on decorum at funerals. Nevertheless, while the mainstream media (other than one Star-Ledger reporter) was inside the Trenton War Memorial protected from the intermittent rain, Blue Jersey was outside talking to an enthusiastic group of protesters – men as well as women – who handed out leaflets describing Christie’s true track record on women’s issues. The video below airs some of the comments from the demonstrators – leaders of advocacy groups as well as ordinary citizens.