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A heartbroken family from New Jersey who recently said goodbye to a loved one is now grappling with even more emotional pain.
Paula Smith died from COVID-19 at just 60 years old, and her family turned her final farewell into a celebration of life.
On April 21, they watched her casket lowered into the ground at Evergreen Cemetery in Hillside. But over the weekend, they found it unearthed -- and open.
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Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-20th Dist.) have been working closely with the New Jersey Legislative Black and Latino Caucuses, as well as stakeholders within the municipalities of Elizabeth, Hillside, Roselle and Union Township, to identify how best New Jersey can be on a “Road to Recovery” during this lingering pandemic.
Over the past five years, Holley has been focused in the state Legislature promoting, economic growth, social justice issues, public education, transportation, pension reform and other key issues affecting his constituents. Through the urging of the Assemblyman, as well as other progressive state lawmakers, the fiscal ’22 state budget now invests heavily in programs and supports that directly benefit residents in the four towns comprising the 20th Legislative District.
Johnson, Mukherji & Holley Bill Providing Tax Exemption for Fuel Cell Devices, Systems & Related Products, Services Passes CommitteeContinue reading → 1 reaction Share
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.
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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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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 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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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.
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.
Jamel Holley's Road to Recovery for District 20 • Post Covid-19
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