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National Fair Housing Month: Seeking Fairness In Search Of The American Dream

tt-fair-housing.jpgApril is National Fair Housing Month. As Chairman of the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee which oversees housing policy in the Senate, I am passionate about ensuring that all NJ residents have a safe and affordable place to live out their version of the American Dream.

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National Nutrition Month: A Lifelong Impact

This is National Nutrition Month, which the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics created to focus on the “importance of informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical acidity habits."

While we are closing out National Nutrition Month, the subject of food — having enough food that offers nutritional value and access to it —should be on everyone’s mind, not just during this month but throughout the year.

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Poverty, Income Equality and a Legislative Roadmap

One of the persistent and pertinent questions of modern economic theory in our society these days is confronting income inequality. Many hold the prevailing view that income for people at the bottom and midlevel earning range has decreased, while income for the upper 20 percent of earners has increased. This is true but there is also some nuance to this issue. While some demographic subgroups have seen average incomes rise, what is occurring and has contributed to the income gap is that the rate of increase favors those with higher incomes. This leaves us with a dreadful wage disparity that exacerbates the gap between the haves and have nots in our country.

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Women’s History Month: Heroines Yesterday and Today

In recent decades, we have made much about gender equality in the home, the workplace and even our culture, from entertainment to sports. This has been a positive trend and an appropriate one. However, I can’t help but believe that our perception of women’s role in history is marked as much by their absence as it is celebrated for their achievements.

Women’s History Month helps to set the record straight. It is the perfect time to reflect, honor and learn about women in the past who were the proverbial “voice in the wilderness,” who accomplished so much, yet which history often neglected or ignored. Until now, of course.

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Read Across America: The Magic of Reading and Children

tt-read-across-america.jpgThe first week in March should be a happy time for parents and children because it’s Read Across America, a national celebration to promote reading to our children. We celebrate it March 1 to coincide with the birthday of the famous and beloved author Dr. Seuss. But one should consider it a privilege to participate for the entire month (and even longer).

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The Tipping Point of the Foreclosure Crisis

A crisis can be defined as a critical point in history, a time when difficult and challenging decisions must be made. This is the point at which New Jersey’s ever growing foreclosure problem had reached – the critical juncture of a crisis.

The foreclosure crisis affects all of us in one way or another, directly and indirectly – whether we are the homeowner losing our home and years of hard-earned equity, or the neighbor who lives next door to an abandoned property or someone whose home value has decreased because of a foreclosure nearby - its consequences are far reaching. Foreclosures have uprooted families, caused boarded-up homes, and contributed to neighborhood blight throughout our state.

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Lifting Working Families: Overtime Pay & Tax Credits

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Economic fairness and equity for workers is an important concern if we are to close the income inequality gap in New Jersey and beyond. There are multiple ways in which this can be addressed. One such way relates to the need to update the salary thresholds for what qualifies as overtime pay, and the other relates to utilizing our tax code to assist workers who will face continued and increasingly complicated challenges for future job opportunities.

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Why The “Heart” Matters

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The month of February is a matter of the Heart. I’m not referring to Valentine’s Day, for the moment, which symbolizes a worthy sentiment to those we care about, but rather a matter of the heart. Literally. Do you have a healthy heart, and are you following habits that promote it?

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Burlington County: The Cradle Of Emancipation

tt-cradle-of-emancipation-v3.jpgThere is always something special when you have a celebratory month — Black History Month, as an example — and it has a direct connection to where you live, what you do, or someone that you knew. And to me, that special connection is Burlington County, which some have referred to as the cradle of emancipation. It earned this reputation, in part, because it offers more historical connections to Black History Month than any other New Jersey county, with 16 sites in nine municipalities, many that focus on the Underground Railroad that had such prominence in Burlington County before the Civil War.

I’d like to offer two local examples that are fascinating because of the contributions they made to African American history.

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Sharing Your Heart With The Homeless

tt-sharing-hearts-with-homeless.gifThe signs of the homeless have become so common and prevalent that I worry we don’t see them. Whether it’s a disheveled person standing on the street corner with a sign or someone wearing tattered clothing pushing a shopping cart uphill with belongings they deem important, we no longer see the human tragedy. Sometimes, we just avert our gaze. Other times, they look like us, yet they are homeless.

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