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Holley Calls for Ban on Sale of Supplemental Baby Mattresses

Assemblyman: Mattresses Are Proven Fatal, Must Be Removed from Shelves

Assemblyman Jamel Holley has introduced legislation calling for a ban on the sale of supplemental baby mattresses in New Jersey, calling them an “undisputed health hazard” for infants, and pressed for their immediate removal from shelves.

“There is this perception that if a product is sold by a major retailer, it must unequivocally be safe,” said Holley (D-Union). “But we continually hear stories of babies being injured or killed when a supplemental mattress is used in a soft-sided play yard. Manufacturers of this product are quick to deny the obvious harm, while retailers are focused on selling product. As a state lawmaker, my focus is protecting the public.”

Holley noted he crafted legislation (A-4909) consistent with a petition now before the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that calls for a ban on the sale of supplemental baby mattresses nationally. The CPSC is expected to rule on the petition in late 2016, after receiving public comment this fall that overwhelmingly supported the ban.

“But we can’t wait until the federal decision is made,” Holley said. “We know these products are dangerous. We know they are being sold by the likes of Amazon, Walmart and Target. And we know they need to be removed. So, I am doing what I can to stop this sale. I hope my fellow lawmakers and Gov. Chris Christie share my urgency.”

Holley’s legislation, introduced Thursday, has received the strong support of Keeping Babies Safe (KBS), a Warren-based non-profit organization that has been aggressively advocating for the removal of supplemental mattresses from stores. KBS has been instrumental in successfully encouraging Toys R Us, Kmart, Sears, buy buy Baby and Wayfair to stop selling the product.

“Assemblyman Holley joins a number of lawmakers and safety experts across the country who are joining this campaign to ban supplemental mattresses,” said Joyce Davis, founder of KBS, whose son suffocated when sleeping on a supplemental mattress. “The fight continues, as we are dealing with manufacturers who make their living by selling a product that can kill infants and don’t seem to care about the consequences of their actions. Only through legislative action – such as the efforts of lawmakers like Assemblyman Holley – we can finally protect families.”

Davis noted the use of supplemental mattresses is heightened during the holiday season, when families are travelling and using play yards and portable cribs. A supplemental mattress is often placed in a soft-sided play yard because it is perceived to be more comfortable; however, a baby can easily fall through the gap on the side of the crib that the supplemental mattress creates and suffocate.

“We are pleading with families to not use supplemental mattresses in soft-sided play yards,” Davis said. “Families should just use the pad that the manufacturer provides. It is the only way to ensure the baby sleeps safely.”

Learn more about the issue at

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Green & Holley Bill to Help Residents Participating in Homeowner Assistance and Recovery Programs Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Jerry Green and Jamel Holley to make it easier for not-for-profits to help families facing home foreclosure was recently approved by an Assembly Panel.

“The process can be streamlined for homeowners who have help from a church or another not-for-profit organization to save their homes from foreclosure,” said Green (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union). “In these cases, the transfer of ownership is temporary. The home will return to the ownership of someone who lives in the home.”

The intention of the bill is to exempt certain sales of residential property to a purchaser operating as a housing assistance and recovery program (HARP) form the payment of realty transfer fees. Under a HARP, a not-for-profit entity, such as a church organization, partners with a back to rescue homeowners in danger of foreclosure eviction. The not-for-profit entity works with the mortgage holder to purchase the property and then leases the property back to the original homeowner at an affordable rent.

“Too many New Jersey residents are seeking help to save their homes from foreclosure and more time to climb out of financial difficulty,” said Holley (D-Union). “If not-for-profit organizations are able to help homeowners facing foreclosure then they should be allowed to help. The state can help by easing a bit of the red tape involved in the process.”

The bill states the goal of HARP is to help financially strengthen the homeowner within a seven-year period, and then resell the property back to that homeowner, or member of the family living with the homeowner. The purpose of the sale or transfer to the HARP is to stop foreclosure or eviction proceedings; therefore, it does not make sense to charge a realty transfer fee because the property will be returned to the seller.

To discourage fraud, if the property is sold to someone other than the original seller, or a person residing with the seller, then an amount equal to twice the realty transfer fee would be collected at the time of that subsequent sale.

The bill was released by the Assembly Housing Committee, of which Assemblyman Green is chair. Identical legislation was approved by the Senate in June.

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Holley Blasts Christie Comments Supporting Ineffective, Wasteful, Insulting Drug Testing Of Welfare Recipients


Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-Roselle) strongly disagrees with a statement made recently by Governor Chris Christie that New Jersey should force recipients of welfare and other state assistance programs to submit to costly and demeaning drug testing in order to receive benefits.

 Holley was raised by a single grandparent along with two brothers and his family benefitted from several state assistance programs including Welfare, Food Stamps and educational scholarships. These programs enabled him to survive as a child and to thrive as an adult, with him eventually becoming the youngest mayor in the history of the Borough of Roselle before being appointed earlier this year as the first African-American to represent the 20th Legislative District.


"Governor Christie's comments are political pandering at its absolute worst and a slap in the face to the thousands of working families in New Jersey who are being crushed under the stagnant state economy that his agenda has produced," said Assemblyman Holley, who won a contested Primary Election in June and is now running for a full two-year term in the upcoming General Election. "People like my grandmother who needed public assistance are looking for a helping hand and a chance to build a better life for their families. What they don't need is the Governor of our state reinforcing damaging, negative stereotypes about poor people just to score points in his hopeless campaign for President."

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RSVP for Jamel Holley's First Annual Legislative Ball!

HolleyLegBallSM.JPGPlease join me in celebration of our collective success and continued progress in Elizabeth, Hillside, Roselle and Union. Event includes open bar, passed hors d'oeuvres, full dinner, music, dancing and the best views of New York City!

RSVP to the Legislative Ball, see more info and purchase tickets here.

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Holley sworn-in to Assembly

By   02/23/15 2:48pm


TRENTON — Legislative district 20’s newest representative was sworn-in on the Assembly floor today amid cheers and jeers of approval.

Friends and family nearby, Roselle Mayor Jamel Holley took the oath of office during the body’s session. Holley replaces former Assemblyman Joe Cryan in the legislature’s lower chamber, who left his seat beginning this year to replace the late Ralph Froelich as Union County sheriff.

“This is a remarkable place,” Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-6) said. “Out of thousands of residents, only 128 of us get to serve the the New Jersey state legislature.”

Read more at Roselle’s Holley sworn-in to Assembly | New Jersey News, Politics, Opinion, and Analysis 


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Former Roselle mayor sworn in as N.J. assemblyman


Assemblyman Jamel Holley (left) being sworn in by Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (right) (Matt Friedman/NJ Advance Media)

Matt Friedman | NJ Advance Media for By Matt Friedman | NJ Advance Media for
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Jamel Holley, the youngest mayor ever elected in Roselle, has left that job to become a member of the state Assembly.

Holley, a 35-year-old Democrat, was sworn in as the Assembly's newest member today, replacing longtime Assemblyman Joe Cryan (D-Union) in the 22nd District.

Cryan is now the Union County sheriff.

"It wasn't supposed to happen to me," Holley said shortly after being sworn in. "They said the child born to a teenage unwed mom was less likely to graduate high school. Mom, thank you."

Holley, who became mayor in 2012, was selected by 20th District Democratic committee members to fill out the remainder of Cryan's term. Holley will face election in November.

Holley said he's the first African-American to represent the district.

One of Holley's two brothers, Jesse, is a former wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys.

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LD20 Democrats unanimously back Holley for Assembly seat

By    |  01/21/15 8:18pm


Union County Democrats tonight formally appointed Roselle Mayor Jamel Holley to fill an open seat in the New Jersey General Assembly representing the 20th Legislative District.

Members of the Union County Democratic Committee from the 20th Legislative District municipalities of Elizabeth, Hillside, Roselle and Union unanimously selected Holley to assume the seat left vacant by Sheriff Joe Cryan, who nominated Holley. Elizabeth Councilman At-Large and Municial Democratic Chairman Frank Cuesta seconded the nomination.

Holley will be sworn-in the coming office and will run for the full two-year term in the June 2015 Primary Election.

“I am eternally grateful for the opportunity that has been given to me by the members of the Union County Democratic Committee and I pledge to work tirelessly to represent the people of Elizabeth, Hillside, Union and Roselle in the legislature,” said Holley. “I would like to thank everyone that has made this moment possible, from my family and friends to the amazing Democratic leaders who have supported me and made it possible for me to give back to the community that has given me so much.”

The committee meeting was held at L’Affaire Catering Hall in Mountainside and overseen by Union County Democratic Chairman and Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-22) and Vice-Chair Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr.

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Roselle Mayor Jamel Holley tapped for Assembly seat; Dems call for change in Trenton

Screenshot_2015-03-24_16.34.18.pngBy Tom Haydon | NJ Advance Media for 
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on January 22, 2015 at 12:09 PM, updated January 22, 2015 at 12:11 PM

MOUNTAINSIDE — In a much expected move, Union County Democrats on Wednesday tapped Roselle Mayor Jamel Holley to fill the Assembly seat left vacant when longtime Assemblyman Joseph Cryan stepped down to become Union County Sheriff.

“I have big shoes to fill,” Holley said after Democratic Committee members selected him in a meeting the L'Affaire banquet hall in Mountainside.

“I was not supposed to be here. I didn’t have the traditional household that others did," Holley said, telling of how he was born to an unwed young mother. 

Holley told of his family receiving public assistance and using public programs that provided financial assistance and loans for his college education. He received a bachelor's degree from New Jersey City University in Jersey City and a master's degree from Kean University in Union. Holley said he will work to strengthen those opportunities for others.

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Roselle mayor Jamel Holley formally announces run for Assembly

Roselle Mayor Jamel Holley announced he will run for the state Assembly. he has been considered the leading candidate for the post.

Tom Haydon | NJ Advance Media for By Tom Haydon | NJ Advance Media for
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on January 13, 2015 at 8:52 AM, updated January 13, 2015 at 8:53 AM

ROSELLE — Taking a much expected step, Mayor Jamel Holley yesterday announced he will seek the Assembly seat recently vacated when Joseph Cryan became the Union County Sheriff.

Democratic Committee members will meet Jan. 21 at the L’Affaire banquet hall in Mountainside to pick a person for the seat.

Holley has been the leading candidate, having stated his interest in the legislative post shortly after Cryan was elected sheriff in November. Cryan formally resigned the Assembly earlier this month, before be sworn in as sheriff on Jan. 4.

Yesterday, both state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), a local powerbroker, and Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, head of the largest city in the county and in the legislative district, both announced their support of Holley.

The district also includes Roselle, Union and Hillside.

“I am humbled and excited to begin this journey toward providing them the voice they (district voters) need,” Holley said.

The 35-year-old Holley was elected to the Roselle Borough council in 2005 and 2009, and elected mayor in 2011. He currently is the Irvington public works director.

Holley said he will file a petition to run in the spring primary election for the Assembly seat. 

The Democrats will pick somebody to fill Cryan's seat, but all persons interested in the seat must run in the primary and then in the general election in the fall.

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Roselle Mayor Holley officially announces LD 20 Assembly bid


ROSELLE – Roselle Mayor Jamel Holley officially announced his intention to run in 2015 for the State Assembly in the 20th Legislative District on Monday.

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Roselle Mayor Jamel Holley officially announced his intention to run in 2015 for the State Assembly in the 20th Legislative District on Monday.

“The communities that make up the 20th Legislative District need continued strong representation in Trenton. I am humbled and excited to begin this journey toward providing them with the voice they need,” said Holley, 35, a Democrat who is currently in his first term as mayor of the Union County borough after serving two terms on the Borough Council, in a written statement. “This is a challenging time for our state with our economy lagging behind and many people still out of work. I am ready to bring the same spirit of collaborative leadership and energy that have been our keys to success in Roselle to the State Assembly, and will work to protect the interests of the people in Elizabeth, Union, Hillside and Roselle.”

Holley is running for the seat that was vacated by Union County Sheriff and former Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-20). He will be considered by the members of the Union County Democratic Committee for appointment to finish the current Assembly term at a convention on January 21, and has also begun circulating nominating petitions for the June 2015 Primary Election.

Holley works as the Director of the Department of Public Works for the Township of Irvington. He previously worked as a Principal at Front Porch Strategies, a governmental and community relations firm. He holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Kean University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from New Jersey City University.

State Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-20) and Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage both endorsed Holley hours after the Roselle mayor announced his LD 20 Assembly candidacy.

“I have known Jamel Holley for many years and he is one of the brightest, most dynamic young leaders in our Democratic Party,” said Lesniak in a written statement. “Jamel displays a real passion for helping people and supporting our state’s working families, and he has all the skills and experience necessary to be an outstanding legislator.”

“When you look at Roselle you see a borough on the rise with a great future, and that is directly attributable to Jamel Holley and the policies his administration has put into place,” said Bollwage in a written statement. “Now Jamel is bringing his energy and commitment to progress to the state legislature and I am excited to work with him for the benefit of Elizabeth and our entire area.”

The 20th Legislative District includes the municipalities of Elizabeth, Hillside, Roselle and Union.

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