STAND Central New Jersey Thanks Our 2017 Heroes!

Thank you to the many people and organizations of central New Jersey that gave us hope and made us proud in 2017.

Sen. Cory Booker has consistently spoken out against GOP attempts to repeal the ACA and pass massive tax cuts for millionaires while everyday Americans bear the financial burden. He voted against the nomination of Ajit Pai as FCC Commissioner, and opposed the FCC’s rollback of net neutrality protections. Sen. Booker introduced bipartisan legislation with Sen. Lindsey Graham to protect the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, and his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. He has taken a stand against potential voter suppression by requesting an investigation of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, and by introducing the Anti-Voter Suppression Act, which would repeal the executive order establishing the controversial commission. In the wake of the tragic shooting in Las Vegas, Sen. Booker introduced common sense gun safety legislation to ban bump stock accessories and require completed background checks for online gun purchases. He has been busy this year working towards criminal justice reform, with the bipartisan Sentencing Reform & Corrections Act, and with the Reverse Mass Incarceration Act. His recently introduced Environmental Justice Act of 2017 has the support of dozens of environmental justice and public health advocacy organizations. Sen. Booker has a 100% rating from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign, and a 98% rating from the League of Conservation Voters. Thank you, Sen. Booker!

 

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, from New Jersey’s 12th congressional district, has been busy in 2017 speaking out against attempts to repeal the ACA, pay for massive tax cuts for the rich on the backs of everyday Americans, repeal net neutrality, and impede the investigation into Russian interference in our 2016 election. She was the only NJ representative who was an original co-sponsor of the Medicare-for-All Act (HR 676) — two others have since signed on. She has twice introduced common-sense gun safety legislation that would reduce online ammunition sales, most recently after the mass shooting in Las Vegas. She has spoken out against the Williams-Transco Pipeline and the Franklin Township Gas Compressor Station, consistent with her previous efforts in writing the SAFER Pipelines Act. This year she also re-introduced legislation to end the use of for-profit prisons. Rep. Watson Coleman has 100% ratings from the ACLU, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Human Rights Campaign, and the League of Conservation Voters. Thank you, Rep. Watson Coleman!

 

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, of the 15th state legislative district, has stood up to protect the rights of transgender students, patients and soldiers in a year when the federal government has become increasingly hostile towards transgender people. He was a primary sponsor of S3067/A4562, which became law this summer and requires the state to create school district guidelines to support and protect transgender students. Assemb. Gusciora co-sponsored another bill that became law this year, A4568, which will prevent discrimination against transgender patients by insurers and other healthcare providers. He also introduced a resolution, AR 289, opposing President Trump’s sudden decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military. In addition, he has spoken out about the need for updates to our voting machines, and is a primary sponsor of A4619, which will require New Jersey’s voting machines to leave a paper record of every vote. Thank you, Assemb. Gusciora!

 

Assemblywoman Liz Muoio, of the 15th state legislative district, has been a leader in the campaign to get lead out of New Jersey’s drinking water. Her 2017 efforts in this fight included sponsoring a bill that actually provided funding for schools to do the water safety testing required under state law. Assemb. Muoio has also recognized our state’s urgent need for secure voting machines that leave a paper record, and was a primary sponsor of A4619, a bill that would ensure our voting machines meet that requirement. Thank you, Assemb. Muoio, and congratulations on your nomination for State Treasurer!

 

Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin, of the 18th state legislative district, has stood up for transgender people in a year when this vulnerable community has often been under attack and has lost important federal protections. Pinkin’s legislative work this year included primary sponsorship of A4568, which was signed into law this July. This law prevents discrimination against transgender patients by insurance companies and other healthcare providers. She has also been a primary sponsor of A4567,  a bill that would establish a statewide task force that would recommend steps to protect the civil rights of transgender people. Thank you, Assemb. Pinkin!

 

Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, of the 16th state legislative district, was a voice for evidence-based policy, at the March for Science, and in the statehouse in Trenton! In a year when science and facts have been so often under attack, we are glad to have leaders like Assemb. Zwicker! He has sponsored evidence-based bills, such as A4619 (which requires the state to use secure voting machines that leave a paper record of each vote), and a slate of other bills that aim to increase the use of clean and renewable energy in New Jersey. He has also been more than willing to help new activists and concerned citizens learn about state government by appearing at STAND CNJ’s NJ Politics 101 and Burning Issues in NJ Politics events. Thank you, Assemb. Zwicker!

 

Mayors across central New Jersey responded to President Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Climate Agreement by pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their municipalities by increasing the use of clean and renewable energy sources. The following mayors have signed on to the Climate Mayor pledge to honor and uphold the terms of the Paris Climate Agreement:

Two other central Jersey mayors have signed on to the Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100% Clean Energy pledge:

  • Philip Kramer, Franklin Township, who has also joined with other elected officials urging the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to deny a permit for the PennEast pipeline
  • Bert Steinmann, Ewing

Thank you, central Jersey climate mayors!

 

Ingrid Reed, former director at the Eagleton Institute of Politics, has not let retirement get in the way of empowering New Jersey citizens. In 2017, she has helped first-time candidates and new grassroots activists figure out New Jersey state politics. Reed was a panelist at STAND CNJ’s NJ Politics 101 event, and also led a 5 part discussion-series for concerned citizens at the Princeton Public Library, among many other civic contributions this year. Thank you, Ingrid!

 

New Jersey Citizen Action has been an important guide for those of us new to activism in 2017. This statewide organization runs campaigns focused on health care, voting rights, pay equity, and the fight for $15, among others. NJ Citizen Action organized countless vigils, rallies and other events this year to protest attempts to repeal the ACA, including a weekly vigil at Rep. Leonard Lance’s offices in congressional district 7. Associate Director Dena Mottola Jaborska has shared her wisdom and experience at many events around the state for new grassroots activists, including STAND CNJ’s NJ Politics 101 event this past March, a panel discussion on “How to Fix the Broken Tax Code”, and NJPIRG’s Grassroots Organizing Conference in April. Thank you, Dena and NJ Citizen Action!

 

NJ Working Families Alliance has taught us new activists a lot this year! They have led the fight for a $15/hr minimum wage and earned sick days in various municipalities around the state. NJ Working Families has organized countless rallies and other events to protest a number of key issues, such as repealing the ACA, the terrible tax cut bill, Kim Guadagno’s race-baiting campaign attack ad, and the People’s Motorcade in Bedminster (which took place every Saturday for months!). They helped to organize the NJ Legislative Resistance Caucus, and created a 2017 WFA Platform “centered around the issue areas of tax fairness, economic justice, education, civil rights, and environmental justice…[and] key problems that perpetuate inequality across New Jersey.” They also co-sponsored the Blue 40 Town Hall series (with Action Together New Jersey and BlueWave NJ), which brought state legislative candidate forums to a number of districts in central Jersey and across the state. Thank you, NJ Working Families!

 

ACLU-NJ has been with us every step of the way in 2017, opposing the travel ban, the increase in ICE detentions of non-violent undocumented immigrants, the rescindment of DACA, and the creation of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity. This year, ACLU launched its nationwide People Power platform, which has provided guidance to local grassroots activists via the Freedom Cities and Let People Vote campaigns. Local People Power groups are now working all across New Jersey. ACLU-NJ also released an important report in June about racial disparities in sentencing for marijuana convictions. Thank you, ACLU!

 

New Jersey Policy Perspective has worked for 20 years to bring economic and social justice to New Jersey. Whatever problems arise, NJPP is there with data, analysis and solutions. Worried about New Jersey’s looming budget crisis? Check out their 2017 Blueprint for Economic Justice and Shared Prosperity. Worried about how the GOP tax plan will affect New Jersey? Check out their series of reports on the topic. NJPP’s staff has generously shared their expertise at numerous events this year, including STAND CNJ’s Burning Issues in NJ Politics event (featuring NJPP vice president Jon Whiten) and the How Can We Fix NJ’s Broken Tax Code panel discussion (featuring NJPP president Gordon MacInnes and senior policy analyst Sheila Reynertson). Thank you, New Jersey Policy Perspective!

 

NJ Alliance for Immigrant Justice works tirelessly to protect the civil and human rights of immigrants. In 2017, they have been a leader in the Fair & Welcoming movement, inspiring and assisting local groups of concerned residents to press their town councils to adopt Fair & Welcoming policies that protect immigrant communities from racial profiling, prohibit detentions without judicial warrants, and assure immigrants that they will not be asked about their immigration status if they are accessing municipal services or reporting a crime. Participating cities and counties include: Hopewell Township, Newark, Highland Park, Morristown, Bloomfield, Maplewood, Madison, Montclair, Plainfield, Princeton, Red Bank, South Orange, Leonia, and Middlesex County. In addition, NJAIJ has organized countless rallies, vigils and other events this year to protest ICE arrests and support DACA recipients. Thank you, NJ Alliance for Immigrant Justice!

 

The Star Ledger Editorial Board won our admiration this year for condemning Kim Guadagno’s campaign attack ad. When the Guadagno campaign released its misleading ad against Phil Murphy and “sanctuary cities”, the Star Ledger spoke out with a powerful editorial. Thank you, Star Ledger Editorial Board!

 

Labyrinth Books in Princeton has hosted too many important grassroots events and book talks to count in 2017, from bystander intervention training to making public comments to fixing the state budget crisis! Owners Dorothea von Moltke and Cliff Simms have generously opened up their space to several of STAND CNJ’s general meetings and special events. Thank you, Dorothea, Cliff, and everyone at Labyrinth Books!

 

Of course, this is just a partial list of the heroes of 2017. So many elected officials, fellow citizens and local organizations have won our admiration and thanks this year, and there is no way to thank them all! Keep up the good work in 2018!  THANK YOU!