I have throughout my blogs expressed how I develop the legislative initiatives I undertake as an elected official. I typically ask myself three simple questions: (1) Does it benefit my constituents and other New Jersey residents? (2) Will it work? and (3) Can we afford it? These are straight-forward, reasonable tenets that serve as a guidepost for me when proposing any legislation.
Which is why I’m dumbfounded, yes, even a bit angry, over Governor Christie’s recent veto of bipartisan legislation (A3806) I introduced with my friend and Republican colleague, Assemblyman Ron Dancer. This proposal, known more commonly as Lisa's Law, would establish a four-year pilot program in Ocean County which would electronically monitor domestic violence offenders and allow for notification of victims. We call this initiative “Lisa’s Law” to honor the memory of Letizia "Lisa" Zindell of Toms River, a domestic violence victim murdered by her former fiancée. The bill would set aside $2.5 million to fund this legislation.Read more
The clock is ticking (whether you hear it or see the hours slip by digitally), and the deadline is upon us.
I’m concerned about the health of my constituents and other New Jersey residents who do not have health care coverage. This unease increases daily as the deadline for enrollment in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without paying a penalty ends Jan. 31, which is 10 days away.Read more
Next Monday is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Like many holidays, we might revere the person or the event, but eventually its full meaning slides from our grasp. We oftentimes tend to allow it to enter into the category of a “day off” from work or school. While for some this may be the case, I hope this never happens to one of the greatest champions of human rights in the past century.Read more
If we have heard any mantra in recent decades related to education, it’s the message that you MUST go to college if you hope to earn more and learn more in your lifetime. It’s a worthy ideal and one that I hope has had a positive influence on parents and students alike.Read more
As December folds into January, the media begins writing about New Year’s resolutions. These news reports offer a variety of possible resolutions and also how to keep those annual promises. We’re familiar with popular pledges usually related to diet, fitness and getting organized. Then, in about a month, we can anticipate that more than one-fourth of those promises will have wilted, according to StatisticBrain.com.Read more
This past weekend I was able to host a bowling/pizza party to culminate my first “Jump into Reading Contest”. The contest took place from October 1st to November 23rd, and was geared towards igniting the love of reading in children from grades 1st – 4th grades. When I was a kid, my parents instilled the joy and passion of reading into me that still stays with me to this day. Falling into a book, no matter the subject, opens new doors of education and fulfillment. For our youth, it helps to expand their educational experience and crystallize the lessons learned on a daily basis in the classroom.Read more
I was recently asked to speak at a community gathering about some of the challenges facing families today. This engaging conversation was punctuated by many in the audience who commented about the growing cost of child care and how it was placing a significant burden on their families. While this particular dialogue played out at this one gathering, I am sure it could be replicated in communities all across New Jersey. Access to affordable and high quality child care is proving to be a stumbling block as working families try to climb the ladder of success.Read more
When Pfizer announced it was buying Dublin, Ireland-based Allergan in a move that would create the largest pharmaceutical firm in the world, we felt the ill-effects throughout New Jersey. It didn’t take long for sharp-eyed citizens and the media to suggest that this was a bad deal for American taxpayers.
Pfizer, which maintains a major campus in Peapack, N.J., also known as Peapack-Gladstone, a borough in Somerset County, made it clear that this acquisition of Allergan would make Dublin its new tax home. Reducing this move to its simplest terms, often referred to as a tax inversion, would allow Pfizer to renounce its U.S. citizenship (as a company) and become an Irish business citizen. This would greatly reduce its tax liability.Read more
Thanksgiving Day is approaching and I’m sitting in my writer’s chair thinking about this year’s message to you. Allow me to allude to two comments I have brought up before.
First, what makes this holiday so special is that no person can find offense in participating, and we exclude no one. We give thanks for the blessings in our lives and we do this regardless of one’s color, faith or place of origin. The simple goal of Thanksgiving and its non-exclusionary openness make it the perfect holiday.
The other aspect of Thanksgiving that I’ve mentioned before is the importance of sharing it. I’ve noted in the past that inviting someone into your home on Thanksgiving Day, especially when you sense or know that they have nowhere to go, is the right thing to do. The simple act of asking goes a long way, and it allows the invitee to make the decision.Read more
This issue may be one of the most pressing concerns that our world faces. Its impact reverberates across economic, environmental and social lines. While some may disagree on the solutions, science has proven that the problem is real, and we need to find a collaborative way to address it.Read more