Democrat,

September 15 through October 18 is Hispanic Heritage Month, when we come together to honor and appreciate the long legacy of contributions that Hispanic leaders have made to our state and country. New Jersey is stronger because of our Hispanic communities and this month, and every month, we are committed to celebrating the rich culture, histories, and traditions that make our state a more vibrant and diverse place to live.

On the first day of our 2022 NJDSC Convention, we are having a special virtual event to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with special guest speaker State Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz. You can RSVP to attend after purchasing your convention pass!

GOV. MURPHY UPDATE

This week was Climate Week in both NJ and NYC and Governor Murphy continued to take steps to fight against the climate crisis, including signing an Executive Order that increases New Jersey’s offshore wind goal by nearly 50 percent from 7,500 MW to 11,000 megawatts (MW) by 2040.

Governor Murphy also announced the release of an Offshore Wind jobs analysis and highlighted $10 million in new investments, which will help execute the One Year Action Plan – designed to generate good-paying jobs in the growing green economy.

Additionally, a comprehensive report of the effects climate change has on human health has been added to the New Jersey Scientific Report on Climate Change,making New Jersey one of the first states in the country to specifically discuss how our climate crisis will affect the health of our residents.  This report will allow us to better confront the reality of climate change with concrete and viable solutions.

NJDSC UPDATE

Make sure to get tickets for our 2022 NJDSC Convention that will be held from October 6-9. In-person and virtual events are scheduled all weekend long throughout our state. 

Passes for the convention are $22 and include access to every virtual and in-person event that entire weekend. After you purchase your Pass, you MUST RSVP for every event you wish to attend on their respective Mobilize page. Some events have limited capacity to ensure COVID safety.

2022 NJDSC CONVENTION TICKETS CAN BE PURCHASED HERE

PRESIDENT BIDEN UPDATE

This week, the Biden-Harris administration released state-by-state data on the estimated number of borrowers and Pell Grant recipients eligible for student debt relief – and nearly 1.1 MILLION borrowers total in New Jersey are expected to benefit from this historic loan forgiveness program.

The WH report showed that 1,082,900 NJ residents are eligible for up to $10,000 in relief and 590,300 NJ Pell Grant recipients could be eligible for up to $20,000 in debt relief.

Nationally, 90% of those who can take advantage of this debt relief program make less than $75,000. Additionally, all federal loan payments have also been kept on pause until December 31, 2022 to give borrowers additional financial breathing room as we continue the work of relieving the stress of rising costs and prices due to inflation. 

I applaud the Biden-Harris administration for their efforts to make our country more economically fair and just.

— Chairman LeRoy J. Jones, Jr.

P.S. September 20th was National Voter Registration Day and our Emerging Leaders Caucus partnered up with NJ Young Democrats and the NJ High School Democrats to host several voter registration drives across the state to get more young people registered in time for our midterm elections. Together, they helped register over 70 young people!

If you want to be a part of mobilizing voters with us, consider joining one of the Caucuses in our Coalitions program – you can sign up here.

Or you can join us from home at one of our weekly virtual phone banking sessions here.

Democrat,

This week, Congressional Republicans led by Senator Lindsey Graham and New Jersey’s own Representative Chris Smith, introduced legislation that would create a federal abortion ban. 

This legislation was introduced despite its clear unpopularity, with 57% of voters saying they oppose such a ban in a Wall Street Journal poll just this month. This is another example of Republican overreach into your bodies and lives. They want to take control of your bodies and take away the freedom to make personal medication decisions with your doctor, and we cannot let them do this.

At the press conference announcing this legislation, Senator Graham himself noted that if Democrats maintain control of the House and Senate after the midterm election this bill will never pass. He’s right; and with only 2 months left until Election Day, it is critical that we mobilize to protect our freedom from government interference, to ensure this abortion ban never gets passed, and to send a strong message to Republicans in our own state, like Rep. Chris Smith, that we are not going to allow them to control our medical decisions and our bodies.   

The NJDSC hosts a virtual phone bank every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 7:00 – 8:30 P.M. to reach voters who are motivated by abortion issues. Our most fundamental rights are on the ballot this November – JOIN US TO REACH MORE VOTERS!

GOV. MURPHY UPDATE

New Jersey received further proof this week that the investments in working people and our economy that Governor Murphy and Democrats in the legislature have been fighting for are making our state a more affordable and equitable place for families to live.  

Oxfam released a ranking of the best states to work in the country and New Jersey placed within the top ten, at number 8. The study looked at wage policies, worker protections and labor organizations, showing minimum wage increases have a lot to do with our state landing at a higher spot this year.

New Jersey also received its third credit rating upgrade within the last year, this time from Fitch Rating who upgraded our credit rating on general obligation bonds from “A-” to “A”, and maintained the state’s credit rating outlook as positive–the first time Fitch has upgraded New Jersey since it started rating the State in 1992.  

You can read my full statement on Governor Murphy and NJ Dems’ progress in creating an economy that works for everyone here. 

NJDSC UPDATE

Tickets are officially on sale for our 2022 NJDSC Convention to be held from October 6-9. Passes for the convention are $22 and include access to every virtual and in-person event that entire weekend. However, after you purchase your Pass, you MUST RSVP for every event you wish to attend on their respective Mobilize page. Some events have limited capacity to ensure COVID safety.

2022 NJDSC CONVENTION TICKETS CAN BE PURCHASED HERE

This year’s convention theme is Road Trip: 

Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going. 

Together, we’ll travel across New Jersey from Bergen County to Mercer County to Somerset County to Atlantic County. We’ll have the opportunity to connect with Democratic voters in multiple communities while celebrating our state’s unique history and charting a course to a more progressive future.

PRESIDENT BIDEN UPDATE

On Monday, the 60th anniversary of President Kennedy’s historic Moonshot Address, President Biden discussed his Cancer Moonshot, a vision for ending cancer, from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. 

President Biden signed an executive order that establishes the Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative to ensure cutting-edge biotechnologies necessary to end cancer will be developed and manufactured in America. This will save lives, create jobs at home, build stronger supply chains, and lower medical and prescription prices for American families. 

The bioeconomy remains an American strength, as well as a significant opportunity. By investing in the future of American biotechnology and biomanufacturing, we will be able to turn our capabilities for innovation into economic and societal success. I applaud President Biden’s full scale effort to try to eradicate cancer, a disease that has impacted the lives of too many American families. 

You can watch President Biden’s full remarks here.

— Chairman LeRoy J. Jones, Jr.

P.S.  Thursday night, my wife Jackie and I were incredibly proud to welcome Stacey Abrams to New Jersey alongside Governor Murphy and the First Lady of NJ, Tammy Murphy. Stacey is a true champion for voting rights and progressive values and we’re honored to support her campaign for Governor in Georgia!

Democrat,

This Sunday we commemorate the 21st anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001. I know New Jerseyans remember that day vividly and viscerally, even as we have  learned to live with the repercussions of this life altering tragedy. Let’s always remember the lives lost, and the thousands of first responders that immediately rushed to our neighbors across the water, many paying for their bravery with their lives. Our thoughts are with all of you and your families.

I also extend my condolences to the Royal Family of England and the British people on the death of Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away at 96 years old on Thursday. She has been the figurehead of the monarchy for over 70 years and her impact and legacy will continue to be felt for generations to come.   

GOV. MURPHY UPDATE

This week, New Jersey became the first state in the nation to add climate change education to our K-12 curriculum. 

Our state is already considered to have the number one public school system in the country, according to grading measures used by EducationWeek, and this new curriculum further solidifies Democrats’ commitment to providing top quality public education that is accessible to all. It is also proof that we are thinking about the climate crisis as a long term, but preventable problem, and want our young people to be prepared to be the next generation of climate activists, leaders, and problem solvers. 

Students will learn how climate change impacts our society and how to work collaboratively with peers and communities to address the issue of climate change. Together, we CAN reverse the damage of climate change and we CAN preserve the planet for future generations.

NJDSC UPDATE

This week we were excited to announce our 2022 Democratic Convention dates! We will be sending more information out next week on our schedule of events so make sure to watch your inbox!

PRESIDENT BIDEN UPDATE

This week, as we celebrated Labor Day, a holiday honoring American workers, labor unions, and the progress we’ve made for worker’s rights, President Biden once again reminded the American people why the Democratic party is #UnionStrong.  It’s easy for Republicans to post vague statements about standing with American workers, but the truth is that the policies that Republicans support do not benefit American workers. Republican policies benefit the rich, not the working class of this country.

Only the Democratic party continues to fight for better wages, fairer working conditions, equitable tax codes, and lower unemployment. The Inflation Reduction Act – which Democrats fought to pass –  was a major step towards creating an economy that works for everyone. We need to keep our focus and help elect representatives at all levels of government who put American families first.

— Chairman LeRoy J. Jones, Jr.

P.S. President Biden and the First Lady hosted former President Obama and former First Lady Obama for the unveiling of their official White House portraits. These outstanding portraits will hang in the hallways of the People’s House for all visitors to see, a reminder of the hope and change that Barack and Michelle gave us when we needed it most.

Democrat,

Happy Labor Day Weekend! As we all take time this long weekend to enjoy the last days of summer, I will be reflecting and celebrating the labor unions and workers who fought to get us where we are and those who have continued the fight to keep us moving forward. New Jersey is a proud union state and Democrats will continue to support the ongoing work being done to ensure that worker’s rights are being met, protected, and advanced.

This week, Senator Ronald Rice retired from the NJ legislature after nearly four decades of public service – making him the longest serving Black legislator in New Jersey state history. You can read my full reflection on Senator Rice’s retirement here.

A reminder that New Jersey’s 10-day Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday, created by Governor Murphy and Democrats, runs until this upcoming Monday – September 5! 

And finally, if you’re keeping track, we are at 67 days to these pivotal November elections. The time to act, volunteer, and get Democrats elected is now.  Enjoy the long weekend, but come back ready to work!

GOV. MURPHY UPDATE

This week Governor Murphy announced a $6.5 million towards a statewide school security initiative that would collect and digitize school building blueprints and make them available to law enforcement and first responders. This move would help law enforcement personnel respond effectively and quickly to emergencies in unfamiliar environments.

“With the epidemic of gun violence reaching every part of our communities, including our schools, we offer our families not empty promises, but concrete investments in tools and resources that will keep our students safe,” said Governor Murphy. “Nothing is more important than the safety of our children and the educators who help our children achieve their full potential. In order to protect our children and educators, we must equip our first responders with the most up-to-date 21st-century technology so that they can respond to emergencies without unnecessary delay.” 

With the rise of mass shootings all across the country, we need to give our emergency response personnel every tool so they can respond to potential emergencies in the most effective way. Democrats are ensuring the safety and security of New Jerseyans, through common sense gun safety laws and other investments like this one to help prevent, and address, gun violence. We aren’t just going to talk with you about what needs to be done – we are going to listen to you and the experts and we are going to do something.

CONGRESSIONAL UPDATE

Last Saturday, our Muslim Caucus held a Meet and Greet BBQ with Congressman Andy Kim, who is running for re-election in NJ’s 3rd District.  This Meet and Greet coincided with the 50th anniversary of Congressman Kim’s parents immigrating from South Korea!

Our South Asian American Caucus has partnered up with South Asians for America ito host weekly phone banking sessions at 6:00 PM on Wednesday evenings to help mobilize AAPI voters in Rep. Kim’s district. 

This is a perfect opportunity to get involved, from the comfort of your own home, to make sure we are electing leaders who will continue to fight for every New Jerseyan. Join a phone bank or a canvas. Getting involved is the only way we win.

Learn more about phone banking for Rep. Andy Kim here!

PRESIDENT BIDEN UPDATE

President Biden announced his Safer America Plan this week to address crime prevention and community relations with law enforcement. This Plan:\:

  • Provides communities the resources they need to keep our streets safe, including helping them hire and train 100,000 additional police officers for accountable community policing; 
  • Invests nearly $3 billion to help communities clear court backlogs and solve murders so we can take violent criminals off the streets;
  • Creates a $15 billion grant program called Accelerating Justice System Reform meant to:
    • advance strategies that will prevent violent crime; and
    • ease the burden on police officers by identifying non-violent situations that may merit a public health or other response; and
  • Expands access to job training, education, housing, and other supportive services that prevent crime and advance equity. 

We can always do more to save lives and reduce crime. I’m grateful to President Biden for tackling this issue.

— Chairman LeRoy J. Jones, Jr.

P.S. Congratulations to our new Women’s Caucus on holding their first event virtually last Friday! It was wonderful to see so many people from across New Jersey (over 200!) show up. We heard from inspiring women in leadership, including Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman and Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, and many others, discussing how to help women, trans and nonbinary individuals succeed in leadership in our state. I am excited for the work the Women’s Caucus will continue to do!

Democrat,

Parents, teachers, and students across New Jersey are getting ready to head back to school, and that means spending more money than we want to on the supplies kids and teachers need to succeed. 

Democrats in New Jersey know that for millions of Americans across the entire country, money is extra tight, which is why we have been fighting at every level of government to reduce costs, raise wages, and fight inflation. In line with this mission, New Jersey Democrats included a sales tax holiday in the state budget that was signed by Governor Murphy earlier this summer.

The 10 day sales tax holiday on all back-to-school supplies will begin this Saturday, August 27, and run until September 5. It applies to both online and in-person sales, and covers items used by students in pre-K to college and university student supplies, including:

  • school supplies, such as pens and pencils, notebooks, and binders
  • school art supplies, such as paints and paintbrushes, clay, and glazes
  • school instructional materials, such as reference books, reference maps, globes, textbooks, and workbooks
  • computers
  • school computer supplies, such as computer storage equipment, printers, and personal digital assistants
  • sports & recreational equipment, such as bicycle helmets



GOV. MURPHY UPDATE

The credit rating agency S&P Global Ratings upgraded New Jersey’s credit outlook from stable to positive this week, which is just the latest in a string of credit rating upgrades from all four major rating agencies since last August. 

This upswing in confidence in New Jersey’s financial health is solely because of the work of Governor Murphy’s administration and Democrats in the Legislature.  When Governor Murphy took office in 2018, our credit outlook and ratings were terrible.  Now, we have a strong, reliable surplus, we have delivered record pension payments, and we are investing in our state’s greatest assets — our public education system, our physical infrastructure, and our robust economy. 

This smart financial planning means lower borrowing costs which in turn allows the state to issue bonds at lower interest rates, reducing costs for taxpayers on major projects. 

You can read Governor Murphy’s full statement on NJ’s credit improvement here.


PRESIDENT BIDEN UPDATE

On Wednesday, President Biden made the historic announcement to forgive $10,000 in student loan debt for anyone making below $125,000, with $20,000 going to anyone who used Pell Grants, a fund used to assist the most in-need borrowers, to attend college. The President’s plan also includes several other steps to make repayment easier on borrowers who have been overburdened with continuously growing debt.  Here’s a full breakdown of what was announced this week:

Student debt is a crisis in our country and this first step in addressing this crushing issue is a victory for the middle class. When more Americans are financially stable, our economy is stronger. We also know that Black and Hispanic borrowers tend to carry more debt than anyone else, further hindering them economically and widening the racial wealth gap.

Some will see their entire student debt load wiped because of President Biden’s action, and that is truly life changing for them. I am confident that the work will continue to see more relief for more Americans and when we fight together, we can accomplish incredible things.

— Chairman LeRoy J. Jones, Jr.

P.S. We have two exciting events planned for today and tomorrow with plenty of time to still RSVP!

The NJDSC Women’s Caucus is hosting a Women’s Equality Day Virtual Celebration today from 12:30 to 1:30 that will feature special guests and panel discussions – all you need is your phone or computer to join us and get inspired and activated!

Our Muslim Caucus is hosting a Meet & Greet BBQ with Congressman Andy Kim on Saturday, August 27, in Burlington, NJ. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from and meet Rep. Kim between Noon and 1:30 as well as mingle with fellow NJ Democrats.

Democrat,

I want to begin this week by thanking and celebrating all that Democrats have been able to accomplish this legislative session. We are standing up for American families at a time when it is critical that action be taken. 

These legislative victories are the result of your Democratic elected officials putting in the effort to make our government work for you – the way it should be.

Democrats get it done.

Additionally, State Senator Ronald Rice, who represents Newark’s 28th District, announced that he will be retiring at the end of August. Senator Rice has held his seat since 1986 and has represented the people of Newark, and New Jersey as a whole, with a fearless dedication to equity, racial equality, and social justice.

We will continue Senator Rice’s mission of “etching compassion and equality into our society, one issue, and sometimes one person, at a time.” 

You can read a beautifully written bio on Senator Rice’s inspiring legislative legacy here.

GOV. MURPHY UPDATE

This week Governor Murphy announced a new Pay It Forward program, created to prepare students for jobs in health care, IT and clean energy, and will include:

  • loan forgiveness after five years
  • financial support for future students
  • the opportunity to build a robust and talented workforce in New Jersey

Participants in the program will receive zero-interest, no-fee loans at no upfront cost, as well as non-repayable living stipends to allow them to affordably prepare for good-paying, career-track jobs in the health care, information technology (IT), and clean energy sectors.

The loans will allow participants to enroll in credential, certificate, and degree programs at one of three inaugural training providers: Registered Nursing at Hudson County Community College , Cybersecurity at New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) and Welding at Camden County College. There are also plans to partner with additional training providers in the coming months.

All loan payments will be recycled back into the fund to ‘pay it forward’ for subsequent students’ costs. The program aims to help participants find jobs while also helping employers fill in-demand positions in high-growth sectors to promote economic growth in New Jersey.

You can learn more about the Pay It Forward program here.

CONGRESSIONAL UPDATE


Senator Booker doubled down this week on his bill, the Supportive Services for National Guard and Reserve Veterans and Families Act, which would expand the Supportive Services program by $50 million.

Since its creation in 2011, the program has helped cut veteran homelessness rates in half and aided 850,000 veteran families. Senator Booker’s bill would also include former National Guard and Reserve members and their relatives, who are often denied military benefits despite also serving their country. It also seeks to expand mental health services for service members trying to acclimate back to civilian life.

PRESIDENT BIDEN UPDATE

President Biden signed the historic Inflation Reduction Act into law last week – a huge step in building a future where everybody has a fair chance. This bill proves that our government can work for working folks. Some of the biggest victories out of it are: 

  • capping Seniors’ prescription drug out-of-pocket costs at $2,000 a year
  • giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices
  • bringing fairness to the tax code by making America’s largest, most profitable corporations pay their fair share, while no one earning less than $400,000 a year will pay a single penny more in federal taxes
  • provides tax credits that will create thousands of good-paying clean energy manufacturing jobs on solar, wind, clean hydrogen, and carbon-capture projects across the country

You can also follow NJDSC on Twitter, where we will be breaking down the ways the Inflation Reduction Act will fight inflation, address climate change, lower healthcare costs & ensure large corporations and the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share.

— Chairman LeRoy J. Jones, Jr.

P.S. Thank you to everyone who came to our meet and greet with Rep. Tom Malinowski, hosted by the South Asian American Caucus yesterday!

We have another meet and greet, hosted by our Muslim Caucus, with Congressman Andy Kim coming up on Saturday, August 20 – learn more info here!

Democrat,

This week we are celebrating that our unemployment rate is sitting at a historic low of 3.5% after 528,000 jobs were added in July. Fighting unemployment has been at the top of the agenda for Democrats and the Biden administration, and we are proud to see that people have been able to return to employment – and remain so. Simultaneously, newly released data shows that inflation is slowing, with a 0% rise in prices in July, and gas prices are continuing to plummet nationwide. 

Meanwhile, Republicans in New Jersey, like Rep. Jeff Van Drew, are continuing to pledge “undying support” to Donald Trump and the extremist MAGA agenda and are now turning against the law enforcement agents at the FBI who this week executed a search warrant at Trump’s home in Florida. Trump even hosted a $2K-a-head fundraiser in New Jersey the same day he was pleading the Fifth in a Manhattan court.

This only further showcases the contrast between Democrats working to get things done to improve the lives of working families and Republicans continuing to cling on to the lies and radicalism of the Donald Trump led MAGA circus.

GOV. MURPHY UPDATE

Governor Murphy has been in Israel this week meeting with Israeli leaders, including President Issac Herzog, and continuing to deepen the New Jersey – Israel relationship. This important trip, however, didn’t stop him from announcing the allocation of $10 million in funds towards helping gun violence victims and working to break the cycle of gun violence in our New Jersey communities. 

The funds will go towards Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs (HVIPs) that reach victims of gun violence and others touched by violence at the time of crisis. These types of programs are considered by experts and practitioners to be crucial for violence intervention and prevention and have helped establish New Jersey as a national leader in curbing gun violence.

A primary goal of the HVIP is to link hospitals with community-based organizations that are already working hard to assist victims and prevent the spread of violence. By partnering with community organizations to provide services to victims and families in hospitals following a shooting, the program has shown an ability to reduce the cycle of gun violence when retaliation is most likely to occur and spread.

CONGRESSIONAL UPDATE

Democrats in the Senate were able to pass the historic Inflation Reduction Act this week, which lowers the cost of prescription drugs, health insurance, and energy, makes sure that corporations pay their fair share in taxes by establishing a minimum corporate tax, and makes the biggest clean energy investment in history, all while not raising taxes on anyone making under $400,000 by even one cent.

This bill is a major victory for American families and keeps President Biden’s promise of tackling inflation by lowering the deficit and the costs of important goods that people NEED. For example, it caps seniors’ prescription drug spending at $2,000 per year – no matter what.

This is also the largest investment ever in combating the climate crisis and prioritizes our energy security by creating jobs in manufacturing wind turbines, electric vehicles, and solar panels in America — and, ultimately, lowering energy costs for American families across the country.

Senate Democrats put in a great deal of work to get this bill passed, and I am grateful for the time, energy, and dedication shown. I thank Senators Bob Menendez, Cory Booker, and the entire caucus, and we eagerly await for the bill to pass the House and get to President Biden’s desk as soon as possible.

Read more about the Inflation Reduction Act here.

PRESIDENT BIDEN UPDATE

This week President Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act into law, which will make cars cheaper, appliances cheaper, and computers cheaper. It will lower the costs of everyday goods, create high-paying manufacturing jobs across the country, and strengthen U.S. leadership in the industries of the future at the same time. Companies – including Qualcomm and Micron – are already investing billions of dollars here at home in response to this legislation that will rebuild our supply chains and manufacturing here at home.

The CHIPS and Science Act is exactly what we need to be doing to grow our economy and lower costs right now. By making more semiconductors in the United States, this bill will increase domestic manufacturing and lower costs for families.  And it will strengthen our national security by making us less dependent on foreign sources of semiconductors.

The bill also includes important guardrails to ensure that companies receiving tax payer dollars invest in America and that union workers are building new manufacturing plants across the country.

As President Biden said when he signed it into the law, the CHIPS and Science Act is about the story, spirit, and soul of America.

— Chairman LeRoy J. Jones, Jr.

P.S. Don’t forget to RSVP to our Meet and Greet with Congressman Tom Malinowski  on August 18 – hosted by our South Asian American Caucus! Find more info here!

Democrat,

This week we hit a major milestone in the work Democrats have been doing throughout the country to expand access to healthcare coverage. We are now at a U.S. record low with only 8% of Americans uninsured. 

This landmark achievement would not be possible without the work Democrats have done – and continue to do –  to pass, protect and expand the Affordable Care Act at the national level, and to protect and expand healthcare coverage at the state level. Of course there is more work to do to ensure every person in the United States is covered, but Democrats will continue working to make sure that no one must choose between feeding their family and accessing healthcare. 

GOV. MURPHY UPDATE

On Monday, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg visited New Jersey to break ground – again – on the new Portal North Bridge construction alongside Governor Murphy, Senators Booker and Menendez, Representatives Watson-Coleman, Pascrell and Payne, and many other local officials. 

This major infrastructure project will finally replace the 112 year-old Portal Bridge which has plagued commuters for years. The project is also estimated to create around 15,000 jobs. The Portal Bridge is the busiest rail bridge in the nation, used by about 450 Amtrak and NJ Transit trains each day and carrying around 200,000 passengers.


This is also the first project started as part of the revitalized Gateway Program that will be rehabilitating and improving a 10 mile stretch of railroad between Newark and New York on the North East Corridor and building new tunnels underneath the Hudson River. 

The project would not be possible without the landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure bill passed by President Biden, which allocated federal funding to major projects that will benefit our nation.

CONGRESSIONAL UPDATE

This week, despite surprising efforts by Republicans to derail the legislation, Democrats in the Senate passed the PACT Act to protect our veterans. The bill addresses illnesses from exposure to toxic burn pits and expands presumptions related to Agent Orange exposure, and also includes Senator Menendez’ bill, the Improving Benefits for Gulf War Veterans Act, which will expand access to essential benefits for veterans who served in the Gulf War and other wars in the region. 

The bill passed by a margin of 86 to 11, with all 11 votes being from Republican Senators. Senator Menendez called Republicans out for their hypocrisy, and he was joined by comedian and former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart who has become an inspiration for his advocacy for veterans and 9/11 first responders

PRESIDENT BIDEN UPDATE 

Voters in Kansas turned out in record numbers this week to vote down an amendment to the state’s constitution that would have banned abortion even in the case of rape or incest. In a state that Trump won by 15 points in 2020, the 59-41 win for abortion rights was decisive. The results of this election show that whether in Kansas, New Jersey, or anywhere in between, voters support abortion rights and will push back on any attempts to put the government in charge of women’s healthcare decisions. 

President Biden has also issued a new executive order in support of abortion rights that will:

  • Support patients traveling out of state for abortion care or other medical care;
  • Ensure healthcare providers comply with federal non-discrimnation law; and
  • Promote research and data collection on maternal health outcomes

On behalf of the NJDSC, I would also like to extend our condolences to the family, friends, and staff of Republican Representative Jackie Walorski and her staff members of Indiana who were killed in a car accident on Wednesday. 

— Chairman LeRoy J. Jones, Jr.

P.S. Thank you to everyone who attended the mixer yesterday hosted by our LGBTQ+ Caucus in Jersey City!

Democrat,

I want to start this week off by honoring Former East Orange resident Gladys E. Blount, who was one of 855 women who were selected from more than 6,000 African American women serving in the Army Air Corps and Service Corps during WWII to become part of the exclusive All-Black, All-Woman WWII Central Postal Directory Battalion and is reportedly one of only six surviving members.

East Orange Mayor, Ted Green, is traveling to Mrs. Blount’s current residence in Florida today in order to present her with a key to the city, and a “Green Medal of Honor,” a new award created to honor “East Orange citizens who have made notable contributions and achievements with global impact.” There is also a ceremonial street renaming being planned for this August. 

“Words cannot adequately express how proud we are of our native daughter, Mrs. Gladys Blount — who during a time of racial strife both home and abroad — courageously answered the call to duty for our country,” said Mayor Ted R. Green. “This honor is long overdue and we found it fitting that we make this special trip to visit Mrs. Blount in her home and recognize her as one of our living legends on whose shoulders we humbly stand.” 

On behalf of the NJDSC, I want to thank Gladys Blount for her service and dedication to our country. The recognition of all you have accomplished may be overdue but your impact has been and will continue to be felt for generations to come.

GOV. MURPHY UPDATE

This week, Governor Murphy launched Year Three of the Charge Up New Jersey program, which offers incentives of up to $4,000 for the purchase or lease of new, eligible zero-emission vehicles, including battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric with the goal of shifting away from gasoline and diesel. Over the last two years of the program, over 13,000 electric vehicles (EV)  were already purchased or leased with this incentive. 

Gov. Murphy also announced a new Residential EV Charger Incentive Program, which offers a $250 rebate for a home charger in addition to encouraging owners and operators of multi-unit dwellings to provide EV chargers for residents and guests in order to encourage equitable access to the benefits of the EV transition.

These actions prove this administration’s continuous commitment to curbing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing the climate crisis.

To qualify for the Charge Up New Jersey incentive, your purchase or lease must meet the following requirements:

  • The vehicle must be ordered, purchased or leased after 07/25/22, the launch of the point-of-sale program;
  • The vehicle must be registered in your name in the State of New Jersey;
  • Your name must be on the purchase or lease agreement;
  • The purchase or lease agreement must be from a participating New Jersey dealership or showroom;
  • You must provide proof of New Jersey residency by providing a state driver license.
    • For active duty military members stationed in New Jersey, but with permanent residency in another state, military orders may be used as proof of residency.

Additionally, your vehicle must be:

  • A new battery electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle;
  • Have an MSRP1 of below $55,000.

CONGRESSIONAL UPDATE

As cannabis is legalized in states across the country and conversations around federal legalization pick up, we need to be making sure not to leave behind the Black and brown communities that have been at the forefront of the disastrous War on Drugs.

This week, Senator Booker led a hearing to discuss the impact our drug policies have had on our communities. From personal experience, Senator Booker shared that “living in Newark for the past 25 years, I have seen one constant day after day – Black and brown people trying to climb out of the hole they were put in after a cannabis-related arrest or conviction. Our unevenly enforced marijuana laws continue to perpetuate stark racial and economic injustices.”

The marijuana industry has been rapidly growing and billions of dollars are now being invested into growing and selling the very same cannabis flower that have cost many Black and brown people their freedoms. We need to make sure this now-legal industry is inclusive to those who have borne the brunt of punishment for it in the past. We need a future that ends the prohibition on marijuana and provides economic justice to those who have been deprived of the ability to work due to marijuana convictions and/or spent time in jail or prison due to cannabis related offenses. An equitable future is possible and I am proud of our Senator for leading these important conversations that seek to not leave anyone behind.

PRESIDENT BIDEN UPDATE 

Gas prices have steadily declined EVERY day for six straight weeks now with the national average for a gallon of gas now at $4.36, according to the transportation organization American Automobile Association (AAA), down from a high of $5 a gallon last month. 

This continuous decline, according to the Department of Treasury, is in part because of President Biden’s historic release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve – 180 million barrels over 6 months – and the International Energy Administration releasing an additional 60 million barrels.

The price of gas continuing to drop is critical in this moment where we are all deeply feeling the cost of inflation and price hikes. Still, oil prices continue to decline faster than gas prices, and President Biden continues to urge oil companies to pass their savings along to customers. We need to work together to keep more money in people’s pockets.. 

— Chairman LeRoy J. Jones, Jr.

P.S. Thank you to everyone who attended our Veterans Caucus Kickoff Event on Wednesday and our Meet & Greet hosted by the AANHPI, Black, Latino, and South Asian American caucuses on Thursday! Make sure you check out our most recent Coalitions Newsletter to see what other events are coming up!

Today is also the Islamic New Year and we want to wish all Muslims a Happy New Year! 

Democrat,

New Jersey is in the middle of a heatwave that is expected to continue into next week with temperatures staying in the 90s and even reaching over 100 degrees. This type of oppressive heat can be dangerous. Make sure you and your neighbors:

🚰 Stay properly hydrated

🚫Limit outdoor activities

🏠Stay in an air-conditioned place

🐶Keep pets inside

You can also find cooling centers at nj211.org or by calling NJ 2-1-1. 

Ready.gov/heat also has information on how to stay safe during extreme heat like we are currently experiencing. 

❄️Stay Cool! ❄️

GOV. MURPHY UPDATE

Vice President Kamala Harris was in Atlantic City this week to speak at the NAACP’s 113th national convention and then meet with NJ legislators and leaders to discuss abortion rights. VP Harris praised New Jersey as doing “model work” in “protecting a woman’s ability to make decisions about her body.”

This same week, Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman was arrested protesting outside the Supreme Court alongside other Democratic leaders taking a stand against attempts to limit and ban abortion access. 

I am proud to be from a state where our elected Democratic leaders have made it a priority to protect a person’s right to make their own decisions about their body. Gov. Murphy has already enshrined that right into state law, but we know that the fight is not over and that it is critical to continue to work to ensure that right exists for every woman across the entire country. 

Sign up here to volunteer with our pro-choice congressional candidates.

CONGRESSIONAL UPDATE


On Tuesday, the Respect for Marriage Act passed in the House of Representatives which would codify protections for same-sex marriage into federal law. Only 47 Republicans joined with Democrats to vote in favor of protecting people’s right to marry whoever they love.The bill also includes federal protections for interracial marriages. 

The disappointment in hearing that 157 Republicans were capable of voting in favor of discrimination, homphobia, and bigotry was exacerbated by learning that New Jersey’s own GOP Rep. Chris Smith was one of them. We are already watching the Supreme Court roll back major human rights protections, and openly discuss which ones they are coming for next (like same sex marriage and contraception) – we don’t have time for inaction. While Rep. Smith’s vote didn’t end up swaying the vote, we can’t afford to have people representing us who will not go to bat for New Jerseyans when people’s rights are at stake. 

Read our full statement here on our frustration with the GOP’s obvious agenda to continue rolling back people’s human rights.

PRESIDENT BIDEN UPDATE 

President Bident promoted the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act this week, which NJ Senator Cory Booker helped craft in the aftermath of Uvalde, that makes it harder for guns to end up in the wrong hands. Some of the different measures include:

  • Closing the “boyfriend” loophole; not allowing anyone convicted of assault against their partner to buy a weapon
  • Requiring people younger than 21 to undergo enhanced background checks before being able to purchase a gun
  • Providing $750 million for state grants to implement crisis intervention order programs, also referred to as red-flag laws, that would allow authorities to confiscate firearms from individuals who have been determined by a court to be a significant danger to themselves or others.

We know that the majority of Americans believe in common sense gun safety legislation, and the Biden administration has been working to pass legislation that restricts access to dangerous weapons across the country in the face of a continuous barrage of gun violence and inaction from the right. President Biden commented “yes, there’s a right to bear arms. But we also have the right to live freely without fearing for our lives in the grocery store. In a classroom. And in a movie theater…” 

— Chairman LeRoy J. Jones, Jr.

P.S. Final reminder that our Veterans Caucus Kick-Off event is next Wednesday, July 27 – find more details here!

Additionally, our AANHPI, Black, Latino, and South Asian American Caucuses will be hosting a Meet & Greet event on Thursday, July 28. Click here to learn more about the event!