Pintor Marin takes the oath of office in the Assembly

By Max Pizarro | November 18th, 2013


TRENTON - Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver this afternoon swore in Eliana Pintor Marin of Newark's Ironbound section to the New Jersey General Assembly.

Pintor Marin represents the 29th District along with state Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29) and Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer (D-29).

“I’m happy to welcome Eliana to the New Jersey Legislature,” said Oliver. “She has been an advocate for children in Newark and has made education a priority through her work in the district. I’m certain her advocacy in the community will translate well to the Legislature, which will benefit not just Essex County residents, but all New Jersey residents.”

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Is Political Squabble Behind Essex County's Double-Digit Judicial Vacancies?

Caren Chesler | November 18, 2013


Essex County Courthouse.


Earlier this year, Gov. Chris Christie was having breakfast at McLoone’s Boathouse in West Orange with Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, the same place at which the Essex County Bar Association was having a meeting. With a record number of judicial vacancies in Essex County at the time, a member of the bar association asked the governor to stop by and comment on why the positions weren’t being filled.

"The reason nothing’s happening, the reason we’re not appointing 12, 15 judges tomorrow in Essex County is because of Sen. Codey," Christie told bar association members, referring to Essex County Democrat Richard Codey.

That was in April, when there were 15 vacancies. Since then, the problem has only gotten worse. The number of vacancies is now 21.

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The power of power: Rice grouses about DiVincenzo but backs Jones for chair in Essex

By Max Pizarro | November 16th, 2013


WEST ORANGE – State Sen. Ronald Rice (D-28) paced in the wings of the West Orange High School cafeteria with pen in hand, jotting 11th hour words on a scrap of paper, amid rumors of a coming Joe DiVincenzo-dress down.

He was a few speakers removed from his moment at the microphone.

The most memorable political productions attributed to Steve Adubato, Sr. over the years have a ring of grandeur and symbolic suggestion somewhere on the order of the best Broadway renditions of Titus Andronicus.

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Joe D. backlash? Don’t bet on it, sources say

By Matthew Arco | November 14th, 2013


2013 statewide elections all but over, one of the few remaining questions within Democratic circles is how the party will respond to their own who crossed the political line by endorsing Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

The governor sailed to re-election last week helped in part by the backing of more than 60 elected Democrats in the state who announced their support for the popular incumbent during the campaign. Among the list of Democratic supporters was Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, who faces his own re-election in the coming year where there’s discontent among some party insiders over the level of support the Democratic powerbroker gave Christie.

“What he did was over the line,” said Lionel Leach, president of the Communications Workers of America Local 1039, the union which put significant capital behind the mayoral campaign of Orange’s Dwayne Warren, who ousted the incumbent mayor more than a year ago.

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N.J. Looks into Implementing Full-Day Kindergarten Statewide

Thursday, 14 November 2013


TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate Education Chair M. Teresa Ruiz that would create a task force to study issues related to full-day kindergarten, including the feasibility of implementing full-day programs in schools statewide, was approved today by the committee.

“We know that early education is critically important to preparing children for success. A quality full-day kindergarten program provides students with extraordinary benefits, including stronger academic skills, improved socialization and a better educational foundation as they begin their schooling,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “This task force will examine all of the factors related to implementing full-day kindergarten and recommend how best to move our state toward providing a day-long program for all students in the state.”

Currently, students in the state’s 31 highest poverty districts attend full-day kindergarten. The implementation of the program stems from the requirement of the Abbott v. Burke school funding decision that all children in the districts receive a high-quality education. The full-day kindergarten program, however, does not extend to all of the state’s school districts.

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Rice keynote speaker at National Black Caucus event

By PolitickerNJ Staff | November 12th, 2013  

Sen. Ronald L. Rice, chairman of the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus, will be the keynote speaker at the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials luncheon and awards ceremony Thursday at the Congress of Cities in Seattle.

“I am honored to have been invited to be the keynote speaker at the NBC-LEO Luncheon in Seattle,”   Rice, (D-28), Newark. “As a former board member of NBC-LEO and chairman of the National League of Cities’ subcommittee on energy during my tenure as a Newark City Council member, this is like a homecoming to me.”

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Interactive Map: Christie’s ‘Landslide’ Deceptive Due to Record-Low Turnout

Colleen O'Dea | November 8, 2013



Much has been said and written since Tuesday’s election about Gov. Chris Christie being re-elected in a “landslide” and voters giving him a “mandate” to govern.

But fewer than four out of 10 registered adults voted and not quite 38 percent cast a ballot in the governor’s race – some even skipped it, and voted only for other offices or ballot questions. Of the state’s total adult population of more than 6.8 million, little more than three in 10 chose a candidate for governor.

The estimated turnout of 38.8 percent was the lowest turnout for any November general election in which a statewide office – governor or U.S. senator – topped the ballot, according to Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

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Higher Wage Is Approved in New Jersey

The New York Times

Some employers in New Jersey, like Joseph Olivo, did not wait for the results of the vote on Tuesday to start preparing for the state’s minimum wage to rise by $1 an hour next year.

For months, polls had signaled that voters would most likely approve an amendment to the State Constitution that would take the minimum hourly wage to $8.25 on Jan. 1 and then step it up annually to keep pace with inflation. Indeed, the measure passed easily on Tuesday: With 99 percent of precincts reporting, voters approved it by a margin of 61 percent to 39 percent, an outcome that pleased labor leaders and dismayed representatives of the business community.

Business leaders and Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, argued that the measure would harm the state’s fragile economy and could cause the loss of jobs. The proposal was put forth by Democrats after the governor blocked legislation that would have brought about a similar increase in the minimum wage.


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Democrats Stand Fast in Senate, Lose Two Seats in Lower Chamber

Colleen O'Dea | November 5, 2013


The Christie tidal wave, as one Democratic leader called it, did not wash away the Democrats’ legislative majorities.

As of midnight, it appeared the party lost only two seats in the Assembly -- one in the 1st district in South Jersey and the other in the 38th in the North -- and none in the Senate. That’s a far cry from the 14-seat gain the Republicans made in 1985, when Gov. Thomas H. Kean won re-election in what remains the largest landslide in modern state history.

Last night’s results still leave the Democrats with majorities of 24-16 in the Senate and 46-34 in the Assembly. But as with the past four years, that does not mean gridlock, since this same Democratic majority passed much of Gov. Chris Christie’s political program, such as pension and health benefit reforms. But despite Christie’s commanding win, the Democrats also pushed through this year’s ballot measure, a hike of the minimum wage.

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Bloomfield elects first new mayor in 12 years, East Orange mayoral candidate formally seals win

By Eunice Lee/The Star-Ledger
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on November 05, 2013

ESSEX COUNTY — A heated mayoral race in Bloomfield ended tonight with a Democratic at-large councilman beating his Republican challenger. Michael Venezia won a three-year term and will be the township’s first new mayor in 12 years.

The fierce mayoral battle drew big-name support. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) backed 31-year-old Venezia. Russell Mollica, 53, gained support from a local appearance last week with Gov. Chris Christie.

Bloomfield’s election was a focal point among more than 30 municipal and school board races across Essex County. Roughly one-third of the local races were uncontested.

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