Dear Friend --
I hope your Memorial Day weekend was pleasant and that you paused between baseball games and backyard barbecues to honor the generations of servicemen and servicewomen who paid the ultimate sacrifice while protecting our freedoms. President Obama made their memory the focus of his weekly address. Watch it here.
I not only want to remind you of the courageousness of members of the U.S. Armed Service, but also that you too have a duty country — voting. This Tuesday, June 3rd is Election Day in New Jersey. Your vote is your voice, so please plan to exercise your franchise.
Election information is available here, and your county’s Democratic organization may be able to offer information about their preferred candidates. Contact information for your county party is available here.
BACK TO BASICS & BEYOND CONFERENCE
We had a great time at the 18th Annual State Conference in Atlantic City. If you were there, we hope you did too.
It was just days after competitive mayoral elections in New Jersey’s largest cities, and notable Democratic officials demonstrated that their shared values are bigger and stronger than any differences they may have had on the campaign trail. More than 400 participants attended -- an impressive display of party unity.
The three day event had many highlights:
Senate President Steve Sweeney, Speaker Vincent Prieto, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, and newly-elected Newark Mayor Ras Baraka were among those who addressed the gathering.
Communication Workers of America’s state director, Hetty Rosenstein, brought down the House at a breakfast honoring the women of Labor (watch here).
Later that evening, Congressman Pallone praised his colleague, departing Congressman Rush Holt, as the “conscience” of the New Jersey delegation. U.S. Senator Cory Booker took to the stage to highlight the necessity of a strong educational system, saying, “When you fail to invest in your children... you fail to invest in your country." He was followed by U.S. Senator Menendez, who also praised Holt and former Rep. Rob Andrews and urged Senator Booker's re-election this Fall.
As the former Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Menendez knows a thing or two about the importance of protecting the U.S. Senate from falling into Republican hands. He emphasized the impact the Senate will have on the future composition of the U.S. Supreme Court and said current and future generations deserve a “fair shot” to compete in an opportunity society.
In addition, members of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee met in a voting session and I announced the promotion of four party activists to the position of Deputy Vice Chair. The new Deputy Vice Chairs are: State Assembly Speaker Emeritus Sheila Oliver; Atlantic County Freeholder at-Large Colin Bell, the Founder and Chair Emeritus of Garden State Equality, Steven Goldstein, and Monmouth County Democratic Committee Chairman Vin Gopal. In their new roles, these party officers will advise Vice Chair Lizette Delgado-Polanco and myself on a range of party affairs, and serve as emissaries at regional events.
We’ve posted hundreds of photos on our Facebook page from the welcome receptions, the Women of Labor Breakfast, the numerous caucus meetings as well as the lunch in honor of state Democratic Mayors. Check 'em out, and tag your friends.
More photos are due up soon from the congressional dinner in honor of Congressman Rush Holt and former Congressman Rob Andrews. So, if you don’t already, please follow us on Facebook by clicking “like” here.
OUR FAILED, SCANDAL-PLAGUED GOVERNOR, CHRIS CHRISTIE
The Star-Ledger Editorial Board has been busy criticizing Gov. Christie for his many improprieties, saying “NJ taxpayers should be disgusted” by the way the governor has distributed state taxes for school aid and hurricane damage, chastising him for creating a culture of retaliation in his administration, and calling his latest excuse for botching Superstorm Sandy recovery “pure chutzpah”.
Unfortunately, Governor Christie continues to move forward with his failed policies and misguided priorities. However, as some have suggested, the biggest issue for Christie is the economy.
As we're painfully aware -- and this VIDEO highlights -- Chris Christie's economic record is among the worst in the country. At an economic forum in Washington, that became clear. Reportedly, Governor Christie "sat gripping the armrests, his feet planted on the floor, frequently straightening his tie… asked about 'Bridgegate,' Christie suddenly became interested in his coffee mug..."
It was Christie’s rosy economic scenarios that helped create the state’s $807+ million budget shortfall, but he is doing everything he can to avoid responsibility. As I said in a statement, “One would expect someone who has dug such a deep hole for himself to stop digging… The governor apparently believes that economic growth is created by placing larger burdens on New Jersey families. That approach is becoming dangerous -- dangerous to New Jersey's fiscal health, and harmful to the hardest working people in our state."
As PolitickerNJ reported, the state’s largest public sector union is taking the Christie administration to court over its decision to use $2.43 billion meant for public workers’ pensions over two years to balance the state’s budget. And, across the state, Garden Staters are outlining their concerns about Christie’s failed approach.
If that weren't enough, in this Rachel Maddow report, concerns are raised that pension funds were invested as part of a pay-to-play scheme that may have violated state and federal laws.
At issue is a $10,000 donation that Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker made to the New Jersey Republican Party in May 2011. Seven months later, New Jersey invested $15 million from its pension fund in General Catalyst, a Massachusetts venture capital firm where Baker works. The investment may be audited. But, we are, naturally, skeptical of any investigation of the Christie administration by the Christie administration.
The Star-Ledger also detailed how a national GOP group has given NJ government contractors a new way to influence elections and to indirectly make major campaign contributions to state and local politicians that they might otherwise be banned from making directly.
Meanwhile, “federal securities regulators are probing whether Governor Christie's administration improperly diverted funds from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for use on transport projects in New Jersey..." For more information, see here.
Governor Christie can try to run (or fly away) from his problems, but they're here to stay.
Again, I hope you will help communicate the need for electing Democrats by voting next Tuesday. I will be in touch again you soon.
New Jersey Democratic State Committee