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  • Featured post

    LD20 Flashpoint: Holley Announces Running Mates

    Holley and his team in LD20.

    A candidate for the state senate, Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-20) selected his two running mates for the June 8 primary election.

    “It was critical to hand-pick leading Democrats in their community who are beholden to the people, not outdated, machine party politics,” Holley said. “We have learned plenty over these past few years with the current State Senator: Kitchen tables issues, civil rights and social justice have no role in his partisan agenda that excludes so many of us. It is time to return the State Senate seat to the people.”

    Holley is challenging incumbent state Senator Joe Cryan (D-20) of Union, who is running in the Democratic Primary with Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-20) of Elizabeth and Reverend Reginald Atkins of Roselle.

    To bring state representation back to Elizabeth, Hillside, Roselle and Union Township, Holley said he and his Union County Democratic allies selected Christian Veliz and Diane Murray-Clements to serve as running mates for Holley, both of whom are seeking the Assembly seats in the upcoming primary election.

    Veliz, of Elizabeth, who earned a graduate degree from Harvard University, worked for the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, to ensure a fair count among people of color, minority groups and recent arrivals to the United States. As a bilingual, leadership-orientated professional, Veliz has unparalleled financial and business acumen, making him ideal as a state legislator, Holley said.

    Of his many professional accomplishments, Veliz worked with a team to implement an outreach strategy to ensure that Spanish-speaking people are engaged, now being implemented across the country, noted the assemblyman and state senate candidate. Through his social media outreach, there was a 32% increase in census goal participation through the greater Elizabeth area.

    Veliz is also heavily involved in his hometown of Elizabeth, where served as the mayor’s representative to the Elizabeth Public Library Board of Trustees. He also is a volunteer with the Archdiocese of Newark, serving for many years as a community services coordinator, among many other civic activities.

    “My family is committed to community service in Elizabeth and the other communities in the 20th Legislative District,” Veliz said. “I am proud to live here, and to be a public servant. My goal is to finally give a voice to so many of my neighbors and friends, who feel ignored under the current system. It is time for their issues to be addressed.”

    Team Holley also welcomes Diane Murray-Clements, born and raised in Hillside, where she served as an at-large councilwoman for three years. She is a small business owner, operating an insurance business for many Fortune 500 companies through her office in Union Township.

    Murray-Clements hosts a popular podcast with a national audience, titled “It’s a Sure Thing,” in which she highlights business owners and discusses their issues. Murray-Clements carries a strong faith as a lifelong member of Franklin-St. John’s United Methodist Church in Newark. Over the years, she has held membership in many ministries including Modern Gospel Choir, Girl Scouts as a Troop Leader, and as a trustee of her church.

    For more than 30 years, Murray-Clements has demonstrated her commitment and strong advocacy to the district, collecting coats for the needy and chairing several organizations focused on financial literacy education, health, and family.

    As an elected official she coordinated the first ever Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration and Senior Valentine’s Day dance. In addition, she partnered with a truck company to deliver collected nonperishables, clothes, and toiletries for victims in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

    “As a member of the state Legislature, my focus will be to engage with all people in the legislative district, no matter their social background or economic status,” Murray-Clements said. “I believe that type of representation is sorely lacking in the state Legislature. Through my work as an elected official, I will encourage people to invest in themselves and this legislative district that is so eager for fair and equitable leadership.”

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    Johnson, Mukherji & Holley Bill Providing Tax Exemption for Fuel Cell Devices, Systems & Related Products, Services Passes Committee

    Aiming to encourage the use of fuel cell devices that produce clean energy, three Assembly Democrats sponsor a bill that would exempt fuel cell devices and systems – as well as other related products and services – from sales and use taxes.

    Fuel cells are a source of energy that use fuel, such as hydrogen, and an oxidant to generate electricity without combustion – and therefore no harmful byproducts. As such, the electricity generated by these cells is considered clean energy and can be used as both primary and backup power sources for a variety of buildings and equipment.

    Under the bill (A-733), fuel cell devices/systems as well as the hydrogen or propane used in these devices would be exempt from sales and use taxes. The electricity generated by fuel cells and any natural gas and utility service used to co-generate power alongside fuel cells in a facility would also be exempt.

    Any tangible, personal property such as electronics and vehicles that are powered solely by a fuel cell device/system could also be sold tax-free under the measure.

    Upon the legislation passing the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee on Monday, Assembly sponsors Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen), Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson) and Jamel Holley (D-Union) issued the following joint statement:

    “Any opportunity we have to encourage the use of clean energy throughout our state is an opportunity we must take as climate change continues to accelerate. Not only do fuel cells provide clean energy, but energy that is also safe and reliable for a wide variety of applications. Exempting fuel cells and their related products and services from taxation will help incentivize their use throughout our state, benefitting every one of us in the long run.”

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    Holley Outraged over Party Decision to Abandon Ally Staten in Union Bust-up

    Andrea Staten

    In anticipation of his Roselle ally, Union County Commissioner Andrea Staten, losing the Democratic Party line, Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-20) criticized Democratic Party leadership, specifically Union County Democratic Committee Chairman Nick Scutari, for going in another direction.

    Holley was livid when he received the news.

    “On March 1st, we are going to exclude a black woman,” said the assemblyman, who’s running for the state senate seat off the line against Senator Joe Cryan (D-20).

    Staten is apparently a casualty of that collision in the first significant sign of the district senate contest spilling into another corner of the county.

    “It’s disgusting,” said Holley. “Nick Scutari should be ashamed of himself, and this will not end well. He should reconsider it because there will be a long-term price to pay. Every woman on that freeholder board should stand up for their sister and the women of this state stand up for this lady, who has a heart of gold and served in local office and on the planning board in Roselle before getting elected to the [commissioners’] board three years ago.

    “This is what you get with good ol’ boys in the backroom,” he added. “These are the types of things that take place. This is one more reason why I’m ruing – to take away these barriers and these plantation politics from Union County.” Holley said the organization has also denied positions of influence on the commissioner board.

    A source with knowledge of the deal to get rid of Staten said the organization is giving Rahway Councilman James Baker a hard look. A second source said it’s a done deal for Baker.

    A local ally of Holley, Staten in June of 2014 was appointed to serve as Third Ward Councilwoman of the Borough of Roselle, filling the unexpired term of the late Councilman Randy T. Sandifer. She was later elected to serve a full three-year term on the Borough Council. Staten served as committee member for the Human Resources and Finance Department, Committee Chair of the Department of Recreation, and a Class Ill Commissioner on the Roselle Planning Board.

    She is currently a member of the Union County Democratic Women’s Club. In November 2018, Andrea was elected to the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders (now the Commissioners) to serve a three-year term.

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    Jamel Lauds Legalization of Marijuana in New Jersey

    Holley

    New Jersey lawmakers finalized the legalization of marijuana this morning, which will end the countless arrests each year in our most struggling communities.

    This bill signing followed the will of the voters of New Jersey, who have resoundingly voiced their support for recreational marijuana, projected to generate millions of dollars in new revenue for state coffers each year. 

    I am pleased that my colleagues have recognized the critical component of social justice in adopting legalization bills, ensuring that juveniles in our poorest communities are no longer unfairly targeted with arrest and prosecution. I look forward to the swift enactment of this legislation that New Jersey has been waiting months to see happen.

    Today’s landmark bill signing finally puts an end to antiquated, ineffective, broken anti-drug law.  It is being replaced with a new business stream for New Jerseyans, based on a smart, sustainable and scalable cannabis market.

    Yours, for the 20th Legislative District,

     

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    Jamel Leads the Charge for Fairer Auto Insurance Rates in New Jersey

    Jamel is a prime sponsor on a bill designed to finally put an end to auto insurance rates hinging on a driver’s level of education, credit score and employment.

    “I have been saying it for years: it is unfair that auto insurers are discriminating against lower-income drivers in New Jersey,” Jamel said. “There is now support in both houses of the Legislature to finally put a stop to it.”

    The proposed legislation (A-1657), co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-20th Dist), would finally force insurance companies to establish rates based solely on a driver’s driving habits and not his or her socioeconomic status.

    According to NJ.com, Consumer Reports reports that credit score can play a bigger role in determining insurance premiums than almost any other single factor. A New Jersey driver with a clean driving record but poor credit may be forced to pay as much as $1,700 a year more for insurance than a driver with a similar driving history but excellent credit.

    “That is like having a couple of tickets on your record,” Jamel said. “It is punishment for being less fortunate than others. Why are the people who are most struggling in New Jersey subsidizing the rich people who live in the right zip codes? When are we putting an end to it? To me, the time is now.”

    Jamel introduced the bill with other primary sponsors on January 14. It is now awaiting a hearing in the state Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.

    Other prime sponsors: Sen. Nia Gill, Sen. Teresa Ruiz, Sen. Nilsa Cruz-Perez, Sen. Nellie Pou, Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo and Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson.

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    Jamel Urges Residents to Support Make Our Schools Safe

    Three years ago, 14 students and three educators were senselessly and brutally murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas School in Parkland, Florida.

    Lori Alhadeff, who has become a very personal friend of mine, lost her daughter Aylissa. Aylissa grew up in NJ and later moved to Florida.

    As we all witnessed this tragic Valentine's Day story, Lori never stopped advocating for our children's school safety.

    As a result of Lori's efforts, we now have a law named after Aylissa. Aylissa's Law provides schools across the state with the necessary dollars to secure and keep our schools safe to help prevent these incidents from happening again.

    As the primary sponsor of the law, it was one of the best pieces of legislation I've worked on because I admired the tenacity and drive of Lori and others that had the continued willingness to protect other children.

    I humbly ask that you support Make Our Schools Safe and purchase merchandise to help Lori and others to pass similar laws across the United States. To learn more or purchase, click here.

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    Jamel Holley Announces run for Senate

    The statistics show that children growing up in single-parent households are less likely to succeed or even obtain a high school diploma.

    I am grateful my story is one of both perseverance and hard work. I am your example of the incredible return that comes from strong Democratic programs designed to help those who are less unfortunate get a fighting chance to succeed.

    As children who were raised by our grandmother in Roselle, my two brothers and I were able to live and grow with the support of state benefits like welfare and food stamps.

    Our medical needs were met through Medicaid. I received a solid public education and was able to obtain my undergraduate degree from New Jersey City University and Masters in Public Administration from Kean University through New Jersey's Educational Opportunity Fund. All of these programs were created based upon the Democratic values that say all children—regardless of the communities from which they come—deserve to be cared for and are worthy of opportunities to achieve the American dream.

    Over the last 15 years, I have worked diligently to pursue a career in public service aimed at giving back to the community that has given so much to me. In the Assembly, I have fought tirelessly to ensure the needs of Roselle, Elizabeth, Union and Hillside residents.

    With a goal of making government efficient and effective, I’ve spurred economic redevelopment projects that have helped stabilize your property taxes. I’ve created resources for statewide workforce development programs to ensure residents are prepared to be competitive in their employment endeavors.

    I’ve ensured that our public safety departments have the tools to keep our neighborhoods safe and I’ve secured state funding for our public parks, infrastructure, recreation, youth and senior services throughout the district.

    This has all been done with a spirit of optimism and togetherness that has permeated through this legislative district, from the local governments to the local businesses to the community itself.

    As I reflect on the successes that have been achieved, I can see a blueprint for success that can be shared in the State Senate. Our accomplishments have been the direct result of collaborative efforts on multiple levels of government, with local officials who share my vision of this district’s potential to continually achieve progress.

    Although the results of my efforts are tangible, there is much more that can be done—especially in the State Senate, where the scale of change is much greater. New Jersey’s property taxes are among the highest in the nation and direly require restructuring. Our public schools need continuous funding so that children can graduate with greater opportunities to succeed. Pervasive unemployment and underemployment hurts families and drives up foreclosure rates, forcing people to exit New Jersey at a faster rate than any other state, year after year.

    Not only is the unemployment rate in New Jersey above the national average, it is double the national average in urban communities. Change must be made with a keen focus on rebuilding communities in a way where all residents and stakeholders can live, learn, work and play peacefully. We need continued strong leadership on the state level to make these changes happen – as we recover from this lingering pandemic.

    It is for these reasons that I am seeking the Democratic nomination for the State Senate.

    As I embark on this journey, I will be committed and focused on establishing an agenda designed to create solutions that will bring maximum benefits to residents of Elizabeth, Hillside, Roselle and Union. I will work with my colleagues in the state Legislature to establish the groundwork necessary to deepen our reach into all communities in our state, especially into our towns where the needs are so great.

    This candidacy for State Senate is not about me.

    It's about the boy in Elizabeth whose parents came to this country to seek a better life and many of the same services and support I received when I was young.

    It's about the young woman in Union who is trying to become the first member of her family to attend college, similar to my path in life.

    It's about the family in Hillside who is trying to afford a home where they can raise their children, something my grandmother was fortunate to provide for my brothers and me.

    It's about the senior citizen in Roselle who has worked hard their whole life and now deserves respect and support. It's about all working collectively to improve the communities we love and fight for the opportunities we deserve.

    With your continued support, I will take up that fight in the State Senate.

    On June 8, 2021, I will ask for your support for my candidacy for State Senate in the 20th Legislative District. I am humbled and grateful for this honor. I promise you that I will work tirelessly to maximize this chance to continue serving the people.

    Yours, for the 20th Legislative District,

    Jamel Holley

    Click here for the Jamel Holley for Senate video

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    ADL and NJ NAACP Sign Joint Agreement to Collaborate in the Fight Against Extremism, White Supremacy, and Antisemitism

     

    ATTN: ASSIGNMENT EDITOR / REPORTER

    PRESS RELEASE | COVERAGE INVITED

    Contact:  Alana Burman ([email protected])

                    Marcus Sibley ([email protected])

    Click Here for the Full Release

     

    ADL and NJ NAACP Sign Joint Agreement to Collaborate in the Fight Against Extremism, White Supremacy, and Antisemitism

     

    New Jersey, February 3, 2021 …ADL NY/NJ Region (the Anti-Defamation League) and the New Jersey Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NJ NAACP) today signed an agreement to expand efforts to collectively combat discrimination, bigotry, bullying and hate crimes in New Jersey.

    The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ADL NY/NJ and NJ NAACP commences the second phase of a multi-year partnership working to fight back against the rising tide of hate crimes and discrimination facing marginalized communities in this state.

    The agreement was signed today by Richard Smith, President of NJ NAACP, and Scott Richman, ADL’s NY/NJ Regional Director.

    “We will fight racism wherever it rears its ugly head and we will call out anti-Semitism where we see it. We will not allow anyone or anything to drive a wedge between our communities. Over the long haul of the years, we both have proven that we are too strong for that,” NJ NAACP President Richard Smith stated. “Today we re-embrace the spirit of oneness and leave here committed, like never before, to walk, march and fight arm-in-arm as one. We agree that coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success.”

    The partnership is rooted in shared values between ADL and the NJ NAACP: opposing hate and discrimination; promoting safe and inclusive communities, and protecting people’s civil rights.

    “For over a century, ADL and the NAACP have been united in a shared mission to ensure equal rights and dignity under the law,” noted ADL NY/NJ Regional Director Scott Richman.  “We know that the communities we represent face a common enemy in white supremacy and hate, and that we must face this threat by working together.”

    As part of the partnership, ADL and NJ NAACP will launch a series of town halls and listening sessions throughout the state to raise awareness among different New Jersey communities about the two organizations’ collaboration and the importance of identifying and reporting incidents of bias and hate. The campaign also aims to build bridges of acceptance and understanding among ADL and NAACP constituents, and to respond with a united voice to racism, antisemitism, and all forms of hate in New Jersey.

    To mark this momentous occasion, Senator Cory Booker had a message for the signing to show his support for two civil rights groups.

    “This pledge by the ADL and NAACP to build a stronger and more just society together speaks not only to the history of collaboration between the Black and Jewish communities, but also this moment in history,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker. “We are facing trying times, but by joining together we can fight the scourge of white nationalism and intolerance in our nation as we march towards equality and justice for all.”

    New Jersey Assemblyman Jamel Holley also attended and was called on by President Smith to speak.

    "The African American and Jewish communities can only build stronger bridges through ongoing communication. That is why I have been one of the leading proponents of this partnership and look forward to playing a leading role in town halls and listening sessions that are being planned," said Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-20th Dist.) "Through collaboration, debate and discussion, we can truly mend our fences and sow the seeds for a future where bigotry, hate and anti-Semitism are no longer rooted in our communities. That is why this partnership between the ADL and the NJ NAACP is so critical and why I pray it is everlasting. Together, we are the united voice against the bias that has historically torn so many of our communities apart."

    In 2019, ADL tracked 2,107 antisemitic incidents, more than recorded at any other point in the last 40 years. According to recent FBI hate crime data, 2019 was the deadliest year on record with 51 hate crime murders – a 113-percent increase over the previous record of 24 set in 2018. Race-based hate crimes remained the most common type of hate crime (54%), as has been the case every year since the FBI began reporting hate crime data.

     

    ADL is a leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education and fighting hate online, ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.

     

     

     

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  • Featured post

    Black History Month

    Greetings from Your Assemblyman

    On Feb. 1, we will begin celebrating Black History Month.

    Since 1976, every American president has endorsed a specific theme. This year, it is “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity,” exploring the African diaspora and the spread of Black families across the United States.

    To begin celebrating the positive impact of the Black community across the country, I think it is important to take a moment to explain the importance of this month and its rich history. I can still recall my teachers at Abraham Clark High School in Roselle educating us that Black History Month began in 1915, marking a half-century since the 13th Amendment was passed to abolish slavery.

    That September, the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by Black Americans and other peoples of African descent.

    The group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures.

    And that has continued today in the towns of Elizabeth, Hillside, Roselle and Union Township, where a number of exciting events are being planned in the coming weeks.

    President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

    This issue of Jamel’s Journal honors some of those great Black Americans and our fellow ethnic leader partners in this legislative district whose drive toward community service has made our home a better plan to live and raise a family.

    It is incumbent upon all of us to learn about Black history and our struggle, as we take these important lessons to improve our society. Let us reaffirm those efforts as we come together, again, to mark another Black History Month.

    Yours, for the 20th Legislative District,

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    With Scarce Vaccine, There Are Options to Find Appointments

    Vaccines are to be available to anyone who lives, works or studies in New Jersey, and the state is working to vaccinate as many eligible people as possible with the very limited doses available to the state.

    The limited vaccine impacts appointment availability and has prompted questions among those eligible for the vaccine on how to get one.

    Who can schedule an appointment:

    Vaccine eligibility currently includes healthcare workers in Phase 1A; sworn law enforcement and fire professionals who are the first group in Phase 1B to be included; individuals age 65 and over, and those age 16-64 with certain medical conditions.

    While people are encouraged to pre-register, there are currently many more people seeking vaccination than appointments available. State health officials continue to work to improve information on sites and accessibility.

    How to pre-register and schedule an appointment:

    Option 1: Individuals can pre-register for a vaccination appointment using the New Jersey Vaccine Scheduling System (NJVSS) at covid19.nj.gov/vaccine.

    As appointments become available, the system will send emails prompting pre-registrants to schedule their first dose. Email notifications will be sent in batches based on recipient eligibility and availability of appointments. The email will contain a link to schedule an appointment with sites using NJVSS, as well as a link to a list of community-based sites that use their own scheduling system.

    Option 2: Individuals can make appointments online or by phone at open sites listed by county. There are megasites and other community-based sites serving as vaccination points of dispensing that have their own registration systems. Additional sites continue to be added.

    Please see below the link to make online appointments:

    covid19.nj.gov/vaccine

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