Sunday is Mother’s Day, and it is most recently a bittersweet day for me. My mom played an important role in my life, giving me unquestioned love, offering a steady hand for direction and helping instill confidence in me. She passed away two years ago this month, and sometimes I can’t believe she’s really gone. In my quiet moments, I still feel like I’m having conversations with her....(usually one-sided) with an emphasis on finding ways to give back to my community.
Though she’s no longer here, she left me with a particularly poignant and lasting legacy that is appropriate to recall on Mother’s Day: the impact I could have as a legislator on issues that would affect the lives of women in New Jersey.
I promote and continue to champion proposals that are important to the well being of women throughout the state. Whether it’s protecting women in domestic violence cases, through my advocacy for Lisa’s Law or supporting the new regulations for mammogram reporting, my stance on “women’s issues” has been greatly affected by my mother’s influence.
Lisa’s Law, for example, examines technology we can implement to track and monitor individuals who have been convicted of violating domestic violence restraining orders and require notification to the victim when that offender is within a certain proximity. While a modified version of the bill was ultimately signed into law, I and my colleagues will continue to press for a more comprehensive law.
Continuing to protect women from past and future abuses and creating more survivors and less victims of this violence is critically important because the stakes are to high if we do not.
Also, the new mammogram law that just went into effect last week in New Jersey, which requires health insurers to cover comprehensive ultrasound breast screening if a mammogram demonstrates dense breast tissue, and also requires mammogram reports to contain information on breast density. This is important because dense breasts make it harder to spot a tumor. And, cancer is five times more likely in women with extremely dense breasts.
Sometimes we hear about legislation and wonder: “How does it affect me?” Everyone has a mom. We also have wives and daughters who are also moms or will be one day. What we do today will reflect on how we care for and protect them in the future.
Politics has always been a magnet for me. I noted in a previous blog post that when I took my oath of office, my mother, the best supporter a son could have, whispered “Step 1” in my ear. She saw the present but was already looking toward the future. It is that kind of support that so many moms, from every conceivable background and economic strata, give their children.
This Sunday, no matter what the conditions of your relationship with your mom, just say these simple words: “Mom, I love you.” And if your mom has passed, like mine, then whisper the words in a private moment. I’m sure she’ll hear and understand.