May Is Mental Health Awareness Month

tt-may-mental-health-2.jpgThe pain is the same even if it isn’t visible. This thought occurred to me as I watched a pedestrian hobbling across the street recently and felt that empathetic twinge when you realize the discomfort that person must encounter every day.

However, there is a pain that many deal with — young and old — that disguises itself, and we only “see” it occasionally through its effect on behavior. I’m referring to the pain people suffer because of mental health issues.

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My Quest For Clean Water And A Sensible Approach To Climate Change

tt-clean-water.jpgI realize that I have been treading on environmental issues in recent blogs, and that isn’t an accident. I keep remembering that World Earth Day was April 22 (the most significant ecological movement in the world) and recognize that for a safe environment to have real success it needs more than a single day or even a single approach.

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Environmental Justice: Adding The Freedom Of Choice

environment-tt.jpg“The color of your skin or the thickness of your wallet shouldn’t determine your ability to breathe clean air.” These are the withering words of the Times of Trenton's Editorial Board, and it perfectly captures the spirit of Senate Bill No. 1700, my environmental justice legislation. In formal parlance, my bill would “require a person seeking a permit for a new facility, or for purposes of the expansion of an existing facility, located in a burdened community, to meet certain additional requirements before they can obtain the permit.”

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Recycling: Getting It Right

Recycling_Getting_it_Right_R2.pngEarth Day is just a few weeks away. Many of us try to be environmentally aware all year round, particularly in our recycling efforts. But, if you’re conscientious about recycling, it can get complicated at times. For example, can you recycle bottles and leave the label? (You can.) Can you recycle pizza boxes? (Nope).

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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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