The NJDSC Week in Review for January 27, 2012
Welcome to the latest installment of the NJDSC's week in review.
Here's a look back at some of the news from this past week and toward the end, some of the upcoming events around the state next week:
President Obama Delivers State of the Union Address
- President Obama's State of the Union address focused on tackling economic inequality and putting America back to work.
- New policy proposals laid out by President Obama in his address.
- Chairman John Wisniewski praised President Obama's State of the Union address: "These are investments in our people and in our country. They will produce a stronger America with expanding economic opportunities and reduce reliance on foreign imports of oil. I commend President Obama for his vision and urge all of Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, to work with the President to achieve these goals.”
- Senator Frank Lautenberg: "The President’s plan is clear and Republicans have a decision—work with us to break through the gridlock and put people to work rebuilding our economy, or resist and let American families continue to struggle.”
- Senator Bob Menendez: “The President’s speech tonight was a well-delivered middle class anthem for fairness, hard work, and responsibility, which has always been the central focus of my service."
New Jersey Supreme Court Nominees Announced
- Bruce Harris, an openly-gay African American Mayor, and Phil Kwon, a Korean-American assistant attorney general, have been nominated to the state Supreme Court.
- Senate President Steve Sweeney: "As with all nominees, the process must still run its course. While we undergo that process, it is vital that we ensure the Court remain as philosophically independent as possible."
- Assembly Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski: "While the New Jersey State Senate must conduct a diligent review of the Governor's nominees before a final judgment can be rendered, I am encouraged that the Governor has recognized the concern raised by many regarding the lack of diversity in the court's present membership with these nominations."
Marriage Equality Legislation Approved by Senate Committee
- Senate Judiciary Committee advance marriage equality legislation with an 8-4 vote on Tuesday.
- Over 300 marriage equality supporters packed the Senate Judiciary Committee room.
- Senate President Steve Sweeney testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee: "Vote in favor of marriage equality and make New Jersey and the nation one step closer to being a truly equal and fair society."
- Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg criticized Christie for turning marriage equality into a vote of party purity: “It’s no secret that the governor’s front office team gives no quarter to independent thinking among Republican legislators, and it’s become obvious marriage equality will be treated no differently. What should be a vote of conscience is quickly becoming a vote of party purity and a show of support for the governor."
- Senator Raymond Lesniak responded to Christie's call for marriage equality to be decided by a referendum: “Marriage equality isn't like sports betting. It's a civil right which is already guaranteed in our Constitution. It's up to the Legislature to guarantee these rights and support marriage equality for same sex couples.”
- Assembly Deputy Speaker Wisniewski also responded to Christie's call for a referendum: "I am disappointed to hear Governor Christie suggest that civil rights should be determined by popular vote. Anyone who has seriously looked at the century long struggle for civil rights in this country and around the world knows that it takes leadership to ensure that all men and women are treated fairly and equally in the eyes of the law."
Christie's Insensitivity to Civil Rights Issues
- Christie has come under fire for saying: "I think people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South."
- Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver reacted to Christie's comment: “Governor – people were fighting and dying in the streets of the South for a reason. They were fighting and dying in the streets of the South because the majority refused to grant minorities equal rights by any method. It took legislative action to bring justice to all Americans, just as legislative action is the right way to bring marriage equality to all New Jerseyans."
- Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman also responded to Christie: “His words defy history and were extremely insensitive to the struggle for equality of African-Americans and other minorities in this country. Fighting and dying in the streets of the South was not a choice, governor, it was the only way."
- Chairman Wisniewski also attacked Christie's comment: "Rosa Parks didn’t get to the front of the bus through a ballot question and Jim Crow laws weren’t repealed by public referendum."
- Newark Mayor Cory Booker also expressed outrage over Christie's statement: "I shudder to think what would have happened if the civil rights gains, heroically established by courageous lawmakers in the 1960s, were instead conveniently left up to popular votes in our 50 states."
- Assembly Majority Conference Leader Gordon Johnson said Christie lacks civil rights knowledge: "The governor apparently doesn't even understand that minorities likely would have been blocked from voting on a civil rights referendum in the South in the 1960s. You know why? Because they didn't have civil rights! Courageous Americans did the right thing when they fought the battle for civil rights. The governor needs to follow their lead."
- Assemblyman Reed Gusciora said segregationists would have found an ally in Christie: "James Meredith wouldn't have gotten into the University of Mississippi any sooner if it were up to Chris Christie. And Govs. Lester Maddox and George Wallace would have found allies in Chris Christie over efforts by the Justice Department to end segregation in the South."
Assemblywoman-elect Gabriela Mosquera's Case Before the Supreme Court
- Assemblywoman-elect Mosquera's case appeared before the state Supreme Court on Friday.
- The Philadelphia Inquirer called for Mosquera to be seated in an editorial: "The fair thing for the Supreme Court to do is listen to the people of the Fourth District, who chose Mosquera above Lovett. The Legislature should address the constitutional validity of the residency rule. But that shouldn't prevent Mosquera from being seated. She won fair and square following the same rules used by the secretary of state to certify all winners."
Chairman Wisniewski Hits Chris Christie Favorite Mitt Romney
- On his record as a corporate raider: “The truth is that Mitt Romney’s time at Bain was about wealth creation, not job creation and Romney spent more time bankrupting companies, outsourcing jobs and laying off workers than making investments in the middle class. With that type of experience it’s no wonder that Massachusetts was 47th out of 50 in job creation during Mitt Romney’s term as governor and manufacturing jobs were lost at twice the national rate."
- On his failure to release his tax returns: “Romney’s own top surrogate, Chris Christie, has called for him to level with the American people about what he paid in taxes. When New Jersey’s Democratic Chairman and Republican Governor agree, it’s time for Mitt Romney to release his tax returns.”
On his release of only two years of tax returns when he released 23 year's worth of returns to the McCain VP vetting team: “If Governor Christie really believed in tough talk, he’d ask Mitt Romney why it was okay for him to release 23 years’ worth of tax returns to the McCain campaign when he was being vetted for a spot on the ticket while the American people can only see full returns for two years."
- On his loss in South Carolina: “Like Chris Christie, who wants to cut taxes that unfairly benefit the wealthiest Americans, it appears South Carolina Republican voters rejected Mitt Romney, the candidate that refuses to release his tax returns and, by his own admission, pays somewhere ‘around a 15% tax rate’, significantly less than most middle class Americans.”
Delegate Selection Applications Available
If you are interested in becoming a delegate, click here for the statement of candidacy and pledge of support forms. Statement of Candidacy and Pledge of Support forms must be returned by March 12, 2012 for District Level Delegate and Alternate Candidates and June 7, 2012 for At-Large delegate and Alternate Candidates and PLEO Delegate Candidates. Original forms must be returned to the NJDSC at 196 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08608.
- Senator Lautenberg praised the Obama Administration's decision on birth control coverage under the health care reform law.
- Senator Menendez applauded the President's for endorsing the idea of creating new incentives for running medium and heavy trucks and public transportation vehicles on natural gas.
- Senators Lautenberg and Menendez announced $34 million in new funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program in New Jersey.
- Congressman Rob Andrews addressed the South Jersey Development Council on ways to bring jobs and prosperity back to South Jersey, highlighting large projects like the Port of Paulsboro.
- Congressman Frank Pallone is trying to bring sports betting to New Jersey through legislation that would exempt the state from a 20-year old Federal ban.
- Congressman Rush Holt was joined at the State of the Union by the founder of a high-tech biomedical firm from Monmouth Junction.
- Congressman Steve Rothman praises law enforcement in Bergen County for the arrest of the suspect in the Rutherford firebombing.
- Congressman Bill Pascrell applauded the announcement of Bruce Springsteen's tour dates and asked fans to report any problems with purchasing tickets.
- Congressman Donald Payne released a statement on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords resignation from the House of Representatives.
- Bayonne city council has approved a contract for site preparation for a new firehouse that will be built with funds secured by Congressman Albio Sires.
- Senate President Sweeney was praised by the Daily Record for vowing to introduce legislation that would prevent hospitals from denying organ transplants to developmentally disabled people.
- Assembly Speaker Oliver wrote that Christie's "Jersey Comeback" speech failed to acknowledge the economic realities facing New Jersey's residents.
- Senate President Sweeney, along with Assemblyman John Burzichelli and Assemblywoman Celeste Riley, has urged people to donate time and resources to food banks and homeless shelters.
- Assembly Speaker Oliver cited recent studies to show that minimum wage increases do not cost jobs.
- Senate Majority Leader Weinberg praised recent cost-saving legislation that changes the way insurance companies charge for orally administered cancer medications.
- Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald's statement that millionaires will benefit more from Christie's proposed income tax cut plan than middle class families will was rated true by Politifact.
- Senator Nicholas Sacco's bill to establish a grant program within the Department of Community Affairs to support youth mentoring programs around the state, which work to cut down on things like gang crime, was approved by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.
- Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle hopes the Council on Local Mandates will uphold the landmark Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights legislation.
- Senators Nia Gill and Teresa Ruiz had their bill to to establish a loan redemption program under which teachers could have a portion of their undergraduate loans forgiven by the state in exchange for work at a school in New Jersey approved by the Senate Education Committee.
- Assemblyman Troy Singleton introduced the Veteran Empowerment and Training Act, a package of bills designed to combat the difficulties faced by New Jersey's military service members and veterans in finding higher education and career opportunities.
- January 28
NJDSC Delegate Selection Workshop for Passaic County
Passaic County Community College, 1 College Boulevard, Paterson
Workshop in the Auditorium
- January 29
NJDSC Delegate Selection Workshop for Warren and Sussex County
Hackettstown Community Center, 293 Main Street, Hackettstown
- January 30
Reception for Congressman Rush Holt
Trenton Country Club, 201 Sullivan Way, Ewing
- January 31
NJDSC Delegate Selection Workshop for Ocean and Monmouth County
IBEW Local 400, 3301 Highway 138 East, Wall
- February 2
Passaic County Democratic Committee Annual Victory Celebration
Tides, 1245 Belmont Avenue, North Haledon
Support the New Jersey Democratic State Committee
We will continue to have updates about news from our elected officials and the many campaigns across the state. There will certainly be more to come next week. Have a great weekend.
John Wisniewski, Chairman
New Jersey Democratic State Committee