Tag Archive: Alex DeCroce

New Jersey’s Democratic Leadership – In Their Own Words

After the upheaval and sadness in the NJ Legislature following the death of Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce – at the Statehouse and in the very last hour of Lame Duck – most of the traditional agenda-setting, the reorganization, and speeches of the Legislature were put off until Tuesday, Jan. 17.

Today, we’re posting remarks as prepared for delivery of the top majority leadership in both Houses – on the Senate side of President Steve Sweeney & Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, and on the Assembly side of Speaker Sheila Oliver and Majority Leader Lou Greenwald.

It’s important to see what they promise, how they see the challenges ahead, and what their best intentions for the new session are. We’ll be watching for both the successes and the failures. We’re damn sure you will be. But right now, as they set off to begin New Jersey’s 215th Legislature, I’ve got nothing but my best wishes for their fortitude, internal integrity and stamina as they face down a Republican governor working to make a national brand of himself, at the expense of the people of New Jersey.

Please note that any formatting errors are likely my own, and not the legislators’.

Senate President Steve Sweeney’s speech.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg’s speech.

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver’s speech.

Incoming Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald’s speech.

Alex DeCroce dies: Tragedy mars the new legislative session

This was written late last night, with some morning additions. But some people are still hearing this for the first time, so we’ll leave this up top for a while. Today’s morning news roundup can be found here. – Rosi

VOTERS GUIDE 2003 DECROCESenator Weinberg informed us late tonight that 26th District Assemblyman Alex DeCroce has just died in the New Jersey statehouse. He was 75.

Update: Due to the death of Assemblymember DeCroce, all swearing in festivities as well as the State of the State have been cancelled. The governor, who is required by state Constitution to address the Legislature ,will simply speak about and eulogize his friend and their colleague at 1pm today. The more formal State of the State address, where the Governor lays out his agenda for the coming year, will be postponed.

Senator Loretta Weinberg described an awful scene. Shortly before midnight, with legislators headed out to their cars after a long night, Weinberg saw people running towards the men’s room on the lower level toward the state house back. Via Star-Ledger State Police Lt. Stephen Jones said a physician on hand attended to the legislator but he was found to be dead. We now know that physician was Herb Conaway, 7th District Assemblyman and the NJ Legislature’s only physician.

Tomorrow, the NJ legislature will be sworn in. Tonight, was the last day of the lame duck session, a long day and night of legislative decisions. The NJ Assembly began their day at 1pm.

DeCroce has been the Assembly’s Republican Leader since 2003, served as the Republican Conference Leader from 2002-2003 and was the Deputy Speaker from 1994-2001. DeCroce serves in the Assembly on the Legislative Services Commission. He has served the 26th district since 1989.

Our deepest sympathies to the Assemblyman’s wife Betty Lou, to his family, friends and staff, to DeCroce’s 26th District partners Sen. Joseph Pennacchio and Asm Jay Webber, and to colleagues who expected a fresh start tomorrow with swearing in and new session and will now mark tomorrow feeling the loss of a 23-year colleague.  

DeCroce Inc. A Tea Party at the Trough

Being unemployed sucks.

No one wants to be unemployed. It’s a life fraught with stress and financial uncertainly. Usually it means not having health care. Not having a job undermines self-worth and dignity. Unemployment breaks up families. Oftentimes it leads to alcohol and drug abuse. So yeah, basically being unemployed sucks.

decrocejpg-328802fc6520266cDapper, dandy, DeCroce. Photo: Star Ledger

“DeCroce’s unemployment comments show he’s clueless.”

Given the backdrop of what it’s really like to be unemployed, it’s shockingly obnoxious that Assemblymen Alex DeCroce would accuse people who are laid out in this shitty economy of “gaming the system” like a sort of “get rich quick” scheme. DeCroce:

“I’m one of the few who feel that benefits are too good for these people. Why go to work? If you can go 26 weeks collecting $550/week and then get an extension for another 26, that’s close to $27,000/year and a lot of people figure “Why go to work?”

Now in real life, most unemployed people are up shit’s creek, living hand to mouth. If you’re “lucky” you might qualify for unemployment insurance. Most people don’t. Fewer still earn the “maximum” annual amount (roughly $27,000.) It’s not a fun or pretty or enviable lifestyle by any stretch of the imagination.

Keep in mind, this guy DeCroce is the top Republican in the NJ Assembly. He’s a tea party wannabe who’d love nothing more than to shrink the government to the size of a toaster then drown it in the bathtub. And while his rhetoric sounds as right-wing as you’re gonna find in this state, a closer look at DeCroce and his family reveal him to be less of a small-government ideologue and more of a modern day (suburban, white, male) Welfare Queen.

Follow me below the fold for the gory details. If you’re a taxpayer, this could hurt. You might wanna bring some Vaseline.

Do NJ Republicans (and the unemployed) agree with Christie and DeCroce on jobs?

As Rosi just posted, Governor Christie is crowing about job creation despite no evidence that the uptick in new jobs is a result of anything he has done, and that he killed thousands of permanent jobs while costing the state well over $100 million in killing the ARC tunnel project.  

This comes on the heels of Alex DeCroce declaring that jobs are “on the back burner” for the Republican agenda (and after Christie’s “economic” section of his website was essentially blank) and then making a stunning statement on unemployment benefits, only to turn his comments into a lecture on how other people should act.

So, as eloquently put by Democratic Party Chairman Wisniewski put it, Every Republican legislator should weigh in (no pun intended) on whether they agree with their leaders that jobs are on the back burner, whether “the mission is accomplished” and what their leader says about the unemployed essentially being lazy because of the good life of a few hundred dollars per week in unemployment benefits.

And he is right – these two men – Christie and DeCroce are two of the leaders of the NJ Republican Party.  What they say represents their party’s views.

Additionally, I’d like to know how the tens (or is it hundreds) of thousands of unemployed New Jerseyans who have been out of work for weeks or months (or years) and have been trying to find work feel about the Republican Party’s views of the current economic situation.  And more importantly, will they remember this come 2012?

Misplaced Priorities

promoted by Rosi

Everyone here recognizes the importance of the social safety net established by the New Deal and Great Society. Unemployment insurance, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid have made a huge difference in the lives of all Americans, but especially our most vulnerable. It’s amazing, however, that some don’t seem to recognize this simple truth.

Republicans, in fact, have floated a proposal to cut benefits to those out of work in the face of record levels of unemployment. Speaking to the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, Assemblyman Alex DeCroce suggested cutting the $550 per week payment as a way to save money, calling the benefit “too good for these people.” He went so far as to insist that unemployed New Jerseyans who receive the assistance have adopted an attitude of “Why go to work?”

DeCroce Inc. A Tea Party at the Trough

Being unemployed sucks.

No one wants to be unemployed. It’s a life fraught with stress and financial uncertainly. Usually it means not having health care. Not having a job undermines self-worth and dignity. Unemployment breaks up families. Oftentimes it leads to alcohol and drug abuse. So yeah, basically being unemployed sucks.

“DeCroce’s unemployment comments show he’s clueless.”

Given the backdrop of what it’s /really/ like to be unemployed, it’s shockingly obnoxious that Assemblymen Alex DeCroce would accuse people who are laid out in this shitty economy of “gaming the system” like a sort of “get rich quick” scheme.

DeCroce Inc. A Tea Party at the Trough

Being unemployed sucks.

No one wants to be unemployed. It’s a life fraught with stress and financial uncertainly. Usually it means not having health care. Not having a job undermines self-worth and dignity. Unemployment breaks up families. Oftentimes it leads to alcohol and drug abuse. So yeah, basically being unemployed sucks.

“DeCroce’s unemployment comments show he’s clueless.”

Given the backdrop of what it’s /really/ like to be unemployed, it’s shockingly obnoxious that Assemblymen Alex DeCroce would accuse people who are laid out in this shitty economy of “gaming the system”

It’s getting very Herbert Hoover up in here.

On the heels of Deciminyan’s very interesting challenge to Minority Leader Asm Alex DeCroce …

Assemblyman Alex DeCroce had a talk with business leaders yesterday and all by himself walked us all back 80 years to the rigid ‘conservatism’ of Herbert Hoover, who refused to provide relief during the Depression when people were living on the knife edge. Pandering to wallet-protective business folk, DeCroce told them New Jerseyans collecting $550 a week in unemployment insurance have little incentive to look for a job.

Bear in mind this is the GOP Minority Leader in New Jersey’s Assembly. Message man for his Party. Colleague of a governor who protected tax breaks for millionaires, with DeCroce’s help. But I guess I shouldn’t say DeCroce walked us all back to Herbert Hoover all by himself, because it seems that crap’s all the rage with America’s fool right.

Stephen Budiansky does a great job of rounding up this year’s de rigueur GOP dismissal of the needs of the unemployed in his Liberal Curmudgeon Blog:

Today’s Republicans have done a remarkable job of trying to sound like the heartless Herbert Hoover. It can’t be because it’s good politics; it must be because they can’t help themselves. A whole line of GOP candidates have been insisting this year, for example, that unemployment is the product of lazy workers. Rep. Steve King of Iowa explained that he was against extending unemployment benefits because “we shouldn’t turn the ‘safety net’ into a hammock.” Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Republican whip, said that “continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.” And Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota denounced aid to the states to prevent hundreds of thousands of teachers from being laid off as a “bailout,” as did the House minority leader and Speaker apparent John Boehner.

If things get bad for any of you unemployed slackers, and you start remembering your history lessons of Hoovervilles, security around Gov. Christie’s house in Mendham’s pretty tight, but Alex DeCroce lives in Parsippany-Troy Hills, and his front lawn might have room for some tents. End snark.

The DeCroce Challenge

GOP Assemblyman Alex DeCroce says that unemployment benefits are too generous and they should be reduced.  Well, I have a challenge for the Assemblyman.

Mr. DeCroce, before you reduce benefits, why don’t you try to live on what you would receive from unemployment for six months?  Six months is being generous, since a worker in your age bracket would require a much longer amount of time to find a job, but I’m a generous person.

According to your 2007 financial disclosure statement (the latest I could find on line), your income was at least $140,000 – probably much more because these disclosures give ranges of income, and I chose the lowest.  So take your income, and put the excess over $30,000 (about what you would receive in unemployment) in escrow for six months and see what happens. You may need to sell one of your three residences to make ends meet, you may need to dine on macaroni and cheese instead of steak, but if you were really unemployed, you would have to make these difficult and painful decisions.

Mr. DeCroce, your party has spent the first eight years of this decade putting us in the situation we find ourselves in today.  You supported tax breaks for millionaires while showing contempt disrespect for thousands of New Jerseyans who are caught in the jobs trap.  Show a bit of “compassionate conservatism” and instead of reducing benefits; let’s be sure all New Jerseyans, even the wealthy, share in the sacrifices that we all need to make in order to get our people back on their feet.  It’s time for you to walk the talk.

NJ Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, now waiting for Chris Christie’s signature

Our year was marked in January by the NJ Legislature’s failure to do the right thing on marriage equality, and as our year turned cold again, 2010 was marked by the  loss of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, who threw himself off the George Washington Bridge after two people he knew appeared to betray him. (A federal higher-education anti-harrassment bill, introduced by Frank Lautenberg in the Senate and Rush Holt in the House, is named for Tyler Clementi).  

But today was a sweet victory in NJ, something to be Thankful for as we sit down and think about our gratitudes later this week, for the kids – all kinds of kids – who may now benefit from our renewed commitment to respect them, particularly at the places where they go to learn. The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights passed both houses of the legislature today. It requires anti-bullying programs in public schools and codes of conduct in our colleges and universities.

We owe special thanks to: Prime Sponsors in the Assembly Valerie Vainieri Huttle & Mary Pat Angelini and in the Senate Barbara Buono, Diane Allen & Loretta Weinberg. Sponsors include Steve Sweeney, Senate President, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver & Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce.

All that’s needed now is a signature from Gov. Chris Christie. Here’s some early response, after the jump. Please add your own if the spirit moves you.