The Bray -- September 5, 2014

Dear Friend --

First, thank you to those who responded to our end of the month fundraising push. When you’re facing a well financed Republican Party, Tea Party extremists, and deep-pocketed conservative donors like the Koch Brothers, every dollar helps. And, many of you stepped-up in a big way -- so, THANK YOU!

This Labor Day weekend, I hope you took some time to reflect on the important contributions that the men and women of organized Labor have made to our state and our country. I know that State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, State Sen. Donald Norcross, our first district nominee for Congress, and U.S. Sen. Cory A. Booker did just that last weekend at an annual AFL-CIO gathering in Collingswood.

We remain proud of New Jersey’s working men and women -- the backbone of our economy -- and stand with them against Governor Christie’s continued efforts to demean them and to deprive them of their livelihoods.

Traditionally, Labor Day also marks the start of the election season — and, indeed, this one is heating up.

On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, who leads our ticket this Fall, kicked-off his campaign with events in North, Central, and South Jersey. I hope you were able to be part of the excitement. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, he came out swinging.

Booker also hosted a “Run with Cory” for Janice Kovach our seventh district congressional candidate that brought out Marc Dunec, our Democratic nominee in the eleventh district.

Democratic congressional candidate Roy Cho in New Jersey's fifth district, meanwhile, is generating a lot of positive buzz. He has a new website that opens to a great video clip and he received a boost from Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato. Stellato not only says Cho is the “strongest challenger Scott Garrett has seen," he believes that in two years, it’ll be Roy Cho running for re-election in CD5, not Tea Party extremist Scott Garrett.

Similarly, Aimee Belgard in the third district received written support from a Moorestown man who recognizes that she’s a true South Jersey woman, while her Republican opponent, Tom MacArthur, is a man who just wants to buy a seat in Congress. If you have not gotten to know Aimee, she introduces herself in this web video, and she just launched her first television ad, which is available here.

MacArthur can't be trusted. Notably, he refuses to to divest from his extensive assets in foreign oil. It's a simple question, really: does he support United States interests or does he prefer to profiteer off direct investments in the foreign energy sector? Unfortunately, despite the diplomatic tension with Russia and throughout the Middle East, Tom MacArthur continues to let his concern for his financial investments trump American interests and values. That fact prompted concerned citizens to gather in front of MacArthur's campaign headquarters to symbolically showcase the price of inaction, by presenting him with a mock check for $66,000. Our press release about the protest is here.

Bill Hughes Jr.’s campaign has been focused on the devastating job losses in Atlantic County. But as Hughes calls for a new direction and ambitious leadership, Frank LoBiondo cowardly refuses to debate the issues. Can you believe it’s been 2,145 days since Frank LoBiondo has debated an opponent?!?!

The Bonnie Watson Coleman campaign also has a new website  — one that allows you to connect with others, see her most recent social media posts, and engage with the issues effecting New Jersey's twelfth congressional district. Check it out! And, also read the letter to the editor the Assemblywoman published in the Times of Trenton concerning the disheartening news that New Jersey may lose federal support for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program due to the Christie administration’s failure to review applications in a timely fashion.

Democrats are making noise in other races as well -- and they're doing it in unlikely places like Ocean County, where news reports of sexual harassment and corruption are plaguing the re-election campaign of Freeholder Director Joseph Vicari. In this press release, NJDSC Vice Chair Lizette Delgado-Polanco argues that, “It is time for voters to reject the disgusting attitudes and practices of a bygone era, and move Ocean County forward.” Indeed.

Fortunately, voters have a refreshing choice on the ballot: Democrat Timothy E. Ryan — a longtime Ocean County resident and independent business owner.

I haven’t forgotten our failed absentee governor, Chris Christie, who is currently in Mexico overcompensating for his inexperience in foreign policy and his inability to speak Spanish by refusing to answer tough questions.

One cannot help but wonder whether the governor is trying to distract attention from the fact that next week is the anniversary of Bridgegate. Regardless, he should be in New Jersey working on the problems he caused, instead of touring North America.

Speaking of Bridgegate, if you want to relive the “nightmare” that the Christie administration created, ABC News released recordings of distressed 911 calls from commuters. The voices serve as a good reminder of why we must continue to hold the Christie administration accountable for the damage it causes. If you want a less painful account of what happened, this song parody will long remain atop our YouTube playlist.

A few interesting things about Christie’s malfeasance have come to light recently.

First, the New York Times reported that Christie learned early on to use text messages, not email, because its harder to trace or obtain. That seems like a peculiar thing to brag about, especially after a top aide testified that she deleted texts from the governor.

Second, per the Bergen Record, Port Authority cops were actually ordered not to reopen George Washington Bridge access lanes during the Fort Lee traffic jam. We wonder who authorized that decision. One police offer reporting the hazardous conditions was even told to "shut up."

We’ve also learned that inquiries to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have been, er...stuck in gridlock. Here, you can read about one reporter’s frustrating efforts to get answers from the organization at the center of the scandal.  

Last but not least, the governor’s lawyers have submitted a bill for their part in shielding the governor from accountability - it’s $6.5 Million and counting! That’s a ridiculous sum. And, as the Star-Ledger opines — and we agree — it’s not a bill that New Jersey taxpayers should be forced to pay.

The administration is blowing our funds in other ways too. In a disturbing report from the International Business Times, "New Jersey is now paying a quarter-billion dollars in additional annual fees to Wall Street firms -- many of whose employees have financially supported Republican groups backing [Governor] Christie.”

Through below average returns, riskier investments and gigantic management fees the administration is effectively taking money from retired state workers and paying it (an additional $439 million in fees) to Wall Street fat cats.  

Were that not enough, as this Star-Ledger editorial explains, "[Gov. Chris Christie's] administration isn't merely weak in how it treats New Jersey's working poor. It's relentlessly hostile."

Don't think elections matter? Think again. And, while you're at it, register to vote - the next election is just two months away.


John Currie
New Jersey Democratic State Committee

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