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.
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,
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.
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.
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,
Click here for the Jamel Holley for Senate video
ADL and NJ NAACP Sign Joint Agreement to Collaborate in the Fight Against Extremism, White Supremacy, and Antisemitism
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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.
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,
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:
Todd Bowles, a football standout at Elizabeth High School, who went on to a career as a NFL safety and then head coach of the New York Jets, is heading to the Super Bowl in Tampa as the defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Bowles, from the Class of 1981, famously returned to Elizabeth in 2016 as the city’s waterfront football field has been renamed in his honor.
“Todd Bowles, an Elizabeth native-turned-Super Bowl champion for the Redskins in 1988, has come to symbolize hope for Elizabeth’s future,” Jamel said, noting that Bowles presented the city schools with a $25,000 check, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd.
“We could not be more proud of a native son of Elizabeth heading back to the big game,” Jamel said. “While we may not all be Buccaneer fans, we are all certainly Todd Bowles fans.”
Karabinchak, Holley ‘Safe Stop’ Bill to Educate Drivers on Rights, Responsibilities When Stopped by Police Now Law
Many new drivers are unaware of their rights and proper protocol when being pulled over by a police officer. To help educate residents to that extent, a bill encouraged by national dialogue on incidents occurring during routine law enforcement stops was signed into law on Monday.
“Teaching drivers their rights as wells as how to safely interact with police during a stop must be a part of the driver curriculum. Surprisingly, the New Jersey Driver’s Manual currently does not include any language referencing what to do if stopped for a traffic violation,” said Karabinchak (D-Middlesex). “We are a diverse state comprised of many cultural backgrounds. Many new drivers may have their own perceptions of the police and do not know what a police stop entails. This new law aims to correct that discrepancy with a visual aid and tutorial of a standard police stop. An equally prepared driver and officer will make for more ‘safe stops’.”
The new law (formerly bill A-3871) — sponsored by Assembly Democrats Robert Karabinchak and Jamel Holley—would require a potential driver to watch a video, created by the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) and the Attorney General, before they take a written examination for a validated permit. The video will explain the rights and responsibilities of a driver stopped by a law enforcement officer.
“Over the years, police-involved shootings of unarmed people of color have made national news time and time again. These particular incidents have fueled conversations on how we can better prepare our communities for interactions with police,” said Holley (D-Union). “The one way we can, in conjunction with the policies many police departments have already put into place, is to help drivers understand their rights and what to expect as the driver of the vehicle if they are ever pulled over. At the end of the day, we want to make sure the members of our community and our police officers get home safely.”
The State Troopers Fraternal Association applauds the bill sponsors on taking the initiative in improving police and community relations and public safety with this new law.
“Assuming control of a motor vehicle is a tremendous responsibility for all drivers but especially new and young drivers. Police officers in the State of New Jersey are among the most highly trained and professional in the nation and continually practice fair enforcement of the State’s traffic laws while ensuring the safety of the public and the police,” said Wayne Blanchard, President of the New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association. “The new law underscores and the importance of educating new and young drivers on the importance of knowing their Rights on a motor vehicle stop but more importantly their safe and respectful interaction with police officers during the course of the motor vehicle stop. This will ensure that the motor vehicle stop ends in a safe and positive manner. Unfortunately, new and young drivers are susceptible to extreme misguidance by the media and other outlets with incorrect information as to what they are entitled to during an encounter with police officers which ultimately results in a breakdown in police and community relations.”
The new law also requires the MVC to expand the written examination to include a question, developed in conjunction with the Attorney General, testing the applicant’s knowledge of the rights and responsibilities of a driver stopped by a law enforcement officer.