Assemblyman Jamel Holley fired back at Assemblyman Herb Conaway after the latter suggested Holley’s vocal opposition to a leadership-backed bill eliminating a religious vaccination exemption could be losing him some support in the chamber.
“This legislation stripping the rights of human beings is indicative of the virus that has infected our politics in New Jersey and this country,” Holley said. “When elected officials support legislation that segregates our citizens for the benefit of special interest, you can trust and believe that I’ll be on the side of the people, always. If this is a threat to silence my voice, I have one simple message: Bring it on.”
Holley has been the vaccine bill’s chief opponent in the Assembly. He lobbied members of the Legislative Black Caucus against an amended version of the bill that would have created a carveout for private schools and day cares.
Last week, prominent anti-vaccine activist Robert Kennedy held a fundraiser for Holley and met with members of the LBC to discuss anti-vaxx arguments.
It’s not yet clear whether Holley’s opposition to the vaccine bill will affect his chances at re-election, but a dissatisfied leadership team could complicate the contest.
“I have every right just as well as every other member of the Legislature to support or oppose any legislation that comes before me,” Holley said “When it came to a segregated piece of legislation and an attack on removing religious exemptions and the right to parental choice to make medical decisions for their children by class, wealth, and zip code, I chose to stand with the people.”