In the wake of our recent Labor Day celebration, generally symbolizing the unofficial end of summer, I am still thinking about the impact labor has on all of us. While reflecting back on the origins of Labor Day is important, it also should serves as a reminder to us about what the future of our workforce looks like. The principles upon which Labor Day were founded are still relevant today and will be essential building blocks for the jobs of tomorrow.Read more
Besides being a state representative, I am also active in the world of construction. As a union carpenter and public official, I am keenly aware as to how the intersection of development and community enrichment can benefit our society as a whole. This leads me to my thought this week on enhancing a proven tool that marries those two concepts: community benefit agreements. On the surface, these agreements are fairly simple. A developer is seeking certain concessions on a project (usually a tax break or some type of public subsidy) and agrees to provide benefits to the community. Those benefits come in various forms depending on the community but most fall along the lines of living wage standards, quality of life improvements and/or local hiring goals.Read more
It seems like the most innocuous act.
You walk up to a table, sometimes present an I.D., possibly wait in line for a minute or two, proceed to a booth, pull the curtain closed, view the choices, then cast your ballot. You voted. One of the truly great privileges of a democratic society, and one that far too many still refrain from engaging in.Read more
How do we create jobs while implementing an overhaul of our infrastructure? If it weren’t such a serious topic, one might expect that this was a test question in a college economics class.
But in New Jersey and throughout the rest of the land, these are real-life problems that are beginning to gnaw at us with growing urgency. Employment rates are still too high against a backdrop of a statewide infrastructure that is tottering.Read more
I’m feeling like a student these days, and it might be because a couple of days ago I moved my oldest son into his freshman dorm at college. It reminded me of when I made that same journey with my Dad (Mom was too emotional to make the trip to Rowan) some almost 25 years ago. Perhaps, though it is because of something more.Read more
The words “tax abatement” often strikes a responsive chord depending on who reads or hears them. For some, especially those of a business mindset, there is the suggestion that some improvement or development in the area is under consideration. A good business move. For others, the gut reaction is that local or state government is participating in a “giveaway” to business interests who receive a soft landing for making an investment from which they expect to profit. An accommodation at taxpayers’ expense.Read more
I have been doing a lot of thinking about how to increase the financial security of New Jersey residents. The banking meltdown of 2008 rudely awoke everyone to the reality that it is in our self-interest (and our families) to take a more direct role in our financial future. This point is highlighted by a recent Harvard study that says it is no easier to climb up the income ladder today than 20 years ago. More frightening is the revelation that one out of five Americans have no savings when they retire. None.Read more
Tell me if this sounds familiar. A candidate for public office asks for your vote in broad general terms about what they support and what they have done or will do. They are however reluctant to get into specifics on those issues for whatever reason. And, some wonder why so many people are disenchanted with our current brand of politics. There you have it in a nutshell. People want candidates to interact with them in the same way we would want anyone else who comes across our path to act: direct...honest...without a lot of gobbledygook!Read more
It’s July 16, just about the midpoint of our unofficial three months of summer, and I have to remind myself and possibly many of you too, that despite the day-to-day obstacles we face, large and small, we need to take a moment to relax.
I’ve been reflecting over many of the topics that I have addressed in recent blogs and will admit that they are a heady and serious lot. We’ve covered topics ranging from racism and ineffectual education policies to contaminated drinking water. These are somber subjects that require our attention, and when I took my oath of office, I promised to serve you in the best possible way. I hope that I have been diligent in these responsibilities.Read more
It’s that sweltering summer day, when you come indoors and fill your glass from the water faucet after taking the dog out for its daily walk. As you drink the water, you can hear your pet slurping from its bowl in the background. The act is so commonplace that you never give it a second thought. What’s safer than your drinking water, right?
Well, for some that isn't such an easy question to answer. It's for that reason, and the concern raised by some of my neighbors from Moorestown, that Assemblyman Herb Conaway and I delved into answering that question.