I wanted to recap some of our recent activities for you.
DNC WINTER MEETING
Recently, several Democratic National Committee members and party staffers attended the DNC Winter Meeting in Washington, DC for trainings, speeches, caucus meetings, and the opportunity to network with our colleagues from around the country. It was a good trip, and we were treated to a number of videos, including this one, which explains what you already knew: what it means to be a Democrat. It’s worth reminding ourselves every now and again, so please give it a look.
Similarly, if you care about your voting rights -- and you should -- this Democratic Party video by President Clinton explains what Democrats are doing to protect your franchise. We also had the opportunity to hear from President Obama. Here is the YouTube video of his speech.
The DNC has been partnering with the NJDSC in a way that it has not always done in a non-presidential years. This video, which I had the opportunity to contribute to, outlines this relationship.
HOLDING CHRIS CHRISTIE ACCOUNTABLE
Light continues to shine on the scandals that Chris Christie has burdened our state with. And while his aides are stonewalling, his shameless pursuit of campaign cash for Republicans in other states has been constant.
The NJ Republican Party even issued a fundraising appeal attacking those who have asked questions about the Christie administration’s conduct. How does Chris Christie still not get it? He wasn’t the victim of Bridgegate, the public was!
Meanwhile, ABC News reported about the “Nightmare!” bridge scandal 911 tapes released. It's worth watching for a reminder that the Christie administration actually put the people of New Jersey in harm's way.
The biggest scandal developments recently revolve around the Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, David Samson, the Christie friend and former state Attorney General, as this New York Times story outlines. While this piece explains that, even before Fort Lee lane closings, the Port Authority was a political tool for Christie.
In other news, Governor Christie prepared his budget plan for next year. In a press release, we told him to tell the truth about the State's fiscal situation and the impact his inflated revenue projections and poor financial decisions have had on New Jersey's middle class taxpayers. He needs to stop breaking promises and burdening the middle class with his mistakes.
From the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington to town hall meetings in GOP friendly areas, we've been working hard to keep the pressure on the Governor with press statements: Here, here, here, and here. And if new poll numbers are any indication, New Jerseyans are now seeing just who Chris Christie really is. Make a small contribution today to help us continue to hold the governor accountable.
The late night shows have also been having fun at Christie's expense. The Colbert Report highlighted the governor's attack on his former high school classmate, David Wildstein, here, and Jimmy Fallon and Bruce Springsteen performed this parody of Born to Run.
The New York Times reported "Increases in the minimum wage have lifted pay without hurting employment...That economic conclusion dovetails with a recent comprehensive study, which found that minimum wage increases resulted in 'strong earnings effects' — that is, higher pay — 'and no employment effects — that is, zero job loss. Evidence, however, does not stop conservatives [from opposing a minimum wage increase].
I urged Governor Christie to raise the wages of contracted employees at Port-run facilities in New Jersey to at least $10.10, as Governor Andrew Cuomo has done for these workers at JFK and LaGuardia airports in New York. Hopefully, Governor Christie will stop sticking it to New Jersey's working families and give them this raise.
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) took to the floor of the U.S. Senate to advocate for the urgent need to extend the federal unemployment insurance program (EUC), which benefits the long-term unemployed, and to share the stories of New Jersey residents who have been struggling for months to find a job. The program lapsed for 1.3 million workers – more than 90,000 of them in New Jersey, a percentage higher than any other state.
Senator Booker also appeared before a Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee to raise questions about Superstorm Sandy aid. And, due to climate change, the other night was a sleepless one for him. See what he and the Senate Democrats are saying about this important issue.
We're losing some seniority in the U.S. Congress. As the New York Times reported, Representative Holt will not seek re-election, setting up a likely Democratic primary campaign for the nomination.
A teacher and scientist who also proved himself to be an electoral juggernaut, winning elections that others doubted he could, we owe him our gratitude for the investments in education, research, and infrastructure that he fought to secure. My statement on Mr. Holt's retirement is here. His decision means the state will elect representatives to three open seats this year. Another congressional Democrat, Rob Andrews, announced two weeks ago that he was resigning to take a position at a law firm based, while Republican, Jon Runyan, announced in November that he was not seeking re-election either.
Fortunately, we have a good bench. Two candidates in particular, Aimee Belgard (NJ-03) and Bill Hughes (NJ-02), were included in the DCCC's Red to Blue Program. Congratulations to them! We're looking forward to a good midterm campaign.
NEW LEADERSHIP TEAM
Last but not least, I announced two new staff members to lead the party organization into the 2014 election campaign cycle. Chris James was selected as the new NJDSC Executive Director while Jennifer Holdsworth was hired as Political Director. Find out more about these to impressive young New Jersey Democrats here and please make them feel welcome.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
On April 10th in New Brunswick as the New Jersey Democratic State Committee hosts our Annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner. We will be honoring the legacies of United States Senator Frank Lautenberg and Essex County Democratic Chairman Phil Thigpen.
And, the 18th Annual New Jersey Democratic State Conference will be held from May 15th - 17th.
Thank you for all you continue to do in support of the Democratic Party.