Political Winds Leave New Jersey Lawmaker Caught Between Party and Home

It was the scribbled footnote that did it, rippling across social media networks from northern New Jersey to Washington, revealing a pugnacious side of a low-key lawmaker.

In a fund-raising letter to a board member at a New Jersey bank, Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen, Republican of New Jersey, said he wanted to combat well-organized opponents who had mobilized after the election of President Trump.

“P.S. — One of the ringleaders works in your bank!” Mr. Frelinghuysen, the chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, wrote in blue ink. The person to whom he was referring, a senior vice president, resigned after being confronted with the letter by her boss.

The episode has drawn an ethics complaint against Mr. Frelinghuysen, who worked behind the scenes in Washington for 22 years before rising to a key post that places him at the center of the battle over Mr. Trump’s budget.

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Jim Johnson Delves Into His Personal History as Candidate for Governor

NEWARK — The journey that led Jim Johnson to a candidate forum here on a recent weeknight sponsored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People began months ago inside a church in Montgomery, Ala.

It was the same church that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. attended and it was part of a tour of civil rights monuments across the South that Mr. Johnson, 56, embarked on with his eldest daughter. As the son of a church organist, Mr. Johnson feels at home in a church, and he struck up a conversation with one congregation member.

“He said to me, ‘You know, I’m listening to you talk, I’m seeing how you are, you made your money, you’ve got your house, your car, your kids are taken care of, you have the nice clothes, but there’s something burning in your heart,’” Mr. Johnson said. He said the man paused before offering his advice: “‘Do that.’”

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NJ Gov Race: Guadagno Rises, Murphy Protects His Lead

By Salvador Rizzo • 05/25/17

Observer

Kim Guadagno.

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Kim Guadagno and Phil Murphy have double-digit leads over their rivals with less than two weeks to go before the June 6 primaries in the governor’s race, according to a Stockton University poll released Thursday.

Murphy, the former U.S. ambassador to Germany who has spent millions on his campaign, led the Democratic field with 34 percent support from likely voters, the poll found. His closest rival was former U.S. Treasury undersecretary Jim Johnson, who got 10 percent.

Both men are first-time candidates for public office who made their names outside New Jersey, but the poll showed them ahead of Assemblyman John Wisniewski and state Sen. Ray Lesniak, two former chairmen of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee. Wisniewski, however, got 9 percent support and is in a statistical tie with Johnson.

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Newark Parents’ LIFO Challenge Back in Court on Appeal

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Meatloaf again: Christie meekly accepts Trump's Medicaid cuts | Editorial

For all his professed concern over President Trump's $800 billion savaging of Medicaid, which would cripple drug treatment programs and especially hurt New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie admits he hasn't actually brought this up with, you know, Trump.
 
"The President's a little busy right now," Christie said yesterday. "The last time I saw him he was over at the Western Wall. So I haven't expressed that yet to the President."
 
Of course, that's a dodge, because these cuts have been in the works for months. And when a reporter pointed out that the President is still Tweeting, and has a phone, Christie said: "I'm trying to encourage him not to Tweet."

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How Democratic, Republican Candidates Say They'd Ease NJ’s Fiscal Crisis

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Trump's budget slams N.J. more than most states on Medicaid

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's proposed federal budget embraces the House Republicans' already-approved reductions to Medicaid, a cut that hurts New Jersey more than any other state.

Trump's $4.1 trillion spending plan for the 12 months beginning Oct. 1, to be released Tuesday, broke a campaign promise and included $839 billion in reductions that House Republicans made to the federal-state program for the poor, those with disabilities, and the elderly.

The Senate has yet to act on the House GOP's health care measure, which the Congressional Budget Office said would leave 24 million more Americans without insurance than under the Affordable Care Act it would repeal and replace.

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Democrats in New Jersey Governor’s Race Court Progressive Vote

NEWARK — With the heart of his campaign platform coming under repeated attack from Democratic opponents, Philip D. Murphy tried to claim a potent ally.

Bernie Sanders does like the idea!” he said emphatically, recalling Mr. Sanders’s similar support for a public bank in Vermont, the state he represents in the Senate.

It seemed an odd name to drop since Mr. Murphy, a Democrat running for New Jersey governor, has locked up every county endorsement in the state, earning him at least the facade of representing the party’s establishment.

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Booker: It's un-American for full-time workers to live in poverty

NEWARK -- Flanked by U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and leading state Democrats, airport workers on Friday continued their fight for higher pay demanding the right to a living wage. 

"I can't survive on poverty wages," said Daquan Allen, a cabin cleaner at Newark International Airport, who makes $10.20 an hour. 

"It's difficult to afford the basics, like food, rent," added Zakiyy Medina, a security guard at the airport.

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NJ Gov Race: Taxes, Taxes, Taxes at GOP Debate

By Alyana Alfaro • 05/18/17

Observer

Kim Guadagno and Jack Ciattarelli.

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NEWARK — The dreaded tax man loomed over the final Republican primary debate between Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno on Thursday night, with both candidates vowing dramatic restructurings of the state’s finances while distancing themselves from Gov. Chris Christie.

In the home stretch before the June 6 gubernatorial primaries, Ciattarelli and Guadagno have been trading increasingly tougher attacks over their records and platforms. And the debate hosted by NJTV and NJ Spotlight was a fiery, wonky continuation in which Ciattarelli threw around words like “lies” and “hypocrisy” while Guadagno scolded and jabbed the assemblyman.

At the heart of the debate was a long colloquy about the best way to lower the state’s highest-in-the-nation property taxes, consistently the top issue for New Jersey voters. And even after moderator Michael Aron changed the subject, the Republicans kept coming back to taxes on question after question.

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