One of the earliest life lessons that my parents taught me was in the importance of the language we use in our interactions with others. So often, a word or a phrase can reshape a relationship or re-frame a moment if we are not careful in how we employ their usage. I was reminded of that lesson as I sat down to write this week and thought about the word “feminism”.
Having been exposed to many powerful strong woman over the course of my 43 years on this Earth, I believed I knew what the word meant. However, I don’t think I have fully considered what “feminism” means to me or as my parents taught me the importance of this word. I wonder if it’s the “ism” that becomes a jarring note. In some circles, it’s a proverbial red flag, used with the intention of conjuring up negative images of a stereotypical man-hating women bent on a tirade of anti-male criticism directed at men.
It would be difficult to volunteer a word that has more potential for raising a reflexive concern than the term nuclear.
While we know the benefits it provides — plenty of affordable, reliable energy to the world — we allow, privately at least, to fall into the valley of doubt, skepticism and fear.
For that reason, the role of energy and the environment both now and for future generations is an unending discussion. And if we are to offer our intelligence, creativity and problem-solving skills, then every possible answer is something we must carefully analyze. When it comes to solving the growing need for energy, while reducing carbon emissions to deal with climate change, then honest debate on the pros and cons of nuclear energy should be on our collective agenda.Read more
Over the course of my two-year term in office, I like to update my bosses on the issues in Trenton that I am working on. I typically look at the term in four six-month intervals and seek to try and move initiatives forward along that timeline. That said, my main focus as it’s been since being afforded the honor and privilege of representing the Seventh Legislative District in 2011, is to seek to make our state a better place to live, work and raise a family. So, here are a couple of highlights that I wanted to share with you.Read more
I was 17 years old and sat down at my family’s kitchen table with my father to have “The Talk”. Now this talk wasn’t about the birds and the bees but rather something more important. He said to me that now that I was driving he wanted to talk to me about my potential interactions with law enforcement. He never tried to scare me about what could happen if I get stopped, but rather how I should behave when I did. I remember this story because I recall having the same conversation with my oldest son when he turned the same age. The conversation centered around not making sudden movements or being combative on these occasions. No matter whether I thought I was in the right or not, the idea was to leave the encounter without it escalating into something far worse.Read more
I had a conversation recently with a friend about mental health and the continuing need for funding to help those that require assistance. He felt that funding for mental health seems to lack the emotional attachment linked to physical health issues. If you see a person on crutches who walks with some visible disability, you take notice and often feel some degree of empathy. If you have a heart and you witness something similar, it tugs at your emotions because it is compelling. But you could pass 100 people on the street, many of whom might seem friendly or preoccupied, and not know that 20 of them are suffering. They ache emotionally inside, yet there is often no tell-tale sign of mental illness unless a degree of unusual behavior emerges.Read more
Whether you like him, hate him or are indifferent, Donald’s Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again,” is one of those catchy phrases that seems to grow in power if you keep repeating it. Certainly for the Trump campaign, that sound bite has become a successful mantra.
The Trump slogan and the Democratic response to it got me thinking a great deal about the war of words to which we’ve been exposed and, more importantly, what it says about each political party and those who support them.
Most bloggers understand an unwritten law about blogging: Don’t start off with a statement, proclamation or diatribe from a “higher authority” to promote a point of view. The reasoning is that it’s the author’s viewpoint that matters.
However, since I’m not a blogger I’m going to break that rule. This is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, and I happened to read President Barack Obama’s recent proclamation highlighting the importance of this special period. I found it to be dead on and wanted to share a portion of it.Read more
"Remember, guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” This maxim was said to me when I got my firearms ID and has been recanted numerous times by proponents of the 2nd Amendment when faced with the conversation on our country’s passion for firearms. And, the truth is that they’re right! Guns in the hands of those bent on destruction and malice towards their fellow members of humanity or themselves are a recipe for disaster. Additionally, guns in untrained hands have also been shown to have the same unfortunate and disastrous outcome. But, the gun itself is simply an object or a tool for that destruction. I think that is important that we attempt to understand the science behind why and how firearm violence occurs. This understanding is critical towards removing the emotion from the gun debate. Hopefully, this will allow us to move towards a position where gun-control and gun-rights advocates can agree on some common sense approaches to reduce its impact on our society.Read more
The current plight of Atlantic City has ripple effects that go far beyond the shores of the Southern New Jersey coastal community. Its economic collapse has slowly damaged a region and created an environment where added investment into New Jersey’s gaming market has been chilled. As an elected official and a construction tradesman, I see firsthand every day how the lack of a comprehensive plan to rebuild and reinvent Atlantic City affects the lives of thousands of New Jersey families. This inexplicable lack of a plan also will limit what many of us believe to be a potential lifesaver for Atlantic City, the expansion of gaming and the ensuing resources that will be sent back to the community to hasten that reinvention.Read more
One of the great privileges that I have been afforded during my current term in the Legislature is the honor of being the Chairman of the Assembly State & Local Government Committee. This committee has wide jurisdiction over various aspects of government services. The area that I have tried to make a particular focus of the committee is with regards to property taxes. No singular issue causes as much frustration and oftentimes anger for New Jersey residents then the seemingly endless struggle for our government to bring this issue under control.Read more