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!