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The student organizers of March for Our Lives Morristown kept up the energy (and the tough questions on gun laws) at a Town Hall on Saturday, April 7, with candidates in the NJ 11 House of Representatives race. Planned and led by high-school students, the forum was co-sponsored by NJ 11th for Change.
The audience at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Morristown heard a thoughtful, spirited give-and-take on topics like banning assault rifles, the NRA's influence on legislation, and the particular threats posed by gun violence to people of color and targets of domestic abuse.
Moderated by Caitlyn Dempsey of Randolph High School, the student panel included:
- Brianna Arends (Randolph HS)
- Bella Bhimani (West Morris Mendham HS)
- Isabella Bosrock (West Morris Mendham HS)
- Natalie Gemici (Kent Place HS)
- Meghana Maddali (Morris Knolls HS)
- Evie Mason (Chatham HS)
Carina Pacheco (Academy of Saint Elizabeth)
Rodney Frelinghuysen’s retirement is the culmination of a year-long accountability campaign carried out by the constituents of NJ’s 11th District. It is a testament to the power of people, united in a goal, who refuse to give up. For over a year, we asked nothing more than an opportunity to meet with our Congressman. Instead, Frelinghuysen hid from us, refused all invitations, and actively avoided interactions with those in the 11th District — the very people he was supposed to represent in Washington. With vote after vote, we were betrayed. And yet, his constituents continued to call and rally at his offices, writing letters and asking to be heard.
Frelinghuysen’s retirement is an example of what can happen when engaged citizens challenge the status quo, raise their voices, and take action. This is exactly what democracy looks like.
Nothing like starting off the New Year with a large grain of salt, which is likely the best way to take Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s first 2018 newsletter.
First, he assures us he’s just as upset as we are that Donald Trump’s administration canned the Gateway Project so vital to our region’s commuter infrastructure. (He has even written a letter to the administration about it.) He then plunges into a laundry list of 2017 “achievements” by the GOP-led House of Representatives, which is pretty much a master class in spin cycling. Oh, and it carefully skirts mentioning the fallout from the GOP’s new, Trump-lauded tax code whose impact continues to look terrible for average taxpayers.
Looks like we’re in for a dizzyingly spinworthy year of newsletters, to judge by this edition. Here’s a quick sampling to give you an idea of what lies behind the pleasant phrases.
Funding the War Machine
Frelinghuysen lists among his biggest accomplishments the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act and the House's approval of his twelve appropriations bills, alleging that this legislation is necessary to ensure our national security. Indeed, these bills increase defense spending by a whopping $70 billion. It’s strange that amid all this concern for national security, Frelinghuysen remains quiet about Trump’s breathtakingly reckless twittering about nuclear buttons. He also fails to mention that the increase in defense spending comes at a steep cost to critical domestic programs, including cuts to the EPA, Pell Grants, the National Endowment for the Arts, and infrastructure programs. The Trump-Frelinghuysen budget means more money for tanks and bombs and less money for clean water and education.
Yet another betrayal: The vast majority of Rodney Frelinghuysen’s constituents strongly backs New Jersey’s strict controls on gun ownership. But Frelinghuysen once again put his party bosses first, voting yes on a measure that’s top-priority for the National Rifle Association.
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act dramatically lowers the bar for carrying concealed guns everywhere in the United States. In bowing to the NRA’s and his Party leaders’ agenda, Frelinghuysen runs roughshod over our own state’s robust gun-safety laws, putting his constituents in peril. The act requires all states to recognize concealed-carry permits valid in any other state. Even from one of the 12 states such as Alaska and Mississippi that require NO permits, NO training whatsoever, and even from states that allow convicted violent stalkers from carrying weapons.
This act compels us to roll out the welcome mat for whoever conceal-carries-- teenagers, people with no safety training, who may never have even fired their weapon, and people with dangerous violent histories from other states to carry hidden loaded guns around our kids, in our restaurants, our sporting events, and our churches.
This legislation ignores both constituents concerns and statistical analysis on effective ways to diminish the plague of gun violence in our country.
The NRA has successfully stifled government research on gun violence prevention, and Frelinghuysen has been consistently complicit in supporting that gag-order in each Appropriation bill for the past 20 years, hoping and praying that the data, analysis and facts will not interfere with gun policy at the federal level. Despite the difficulties, more long term studies into community gun safety have been completed recently, and their conclusions give the lie to the NRA’s fantasy-based refrain about “a good-guy with a gun.”
- Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas -- none of which requires a license, registration or permit to buy a gun -- rank within the top 10 for firearm mortalities.
- Violent crime increased year over year in states with Right to Carry Laws rising 14% after 10 years of the new legislation.
- States with the strongest laws had 6.64 fewer deaths per 100,000 residents than the states with the weakest.
- A meta-analysis of 16 studies examined the relationship between firearms and gun deaths. Gun ownership doubled the risk of homicide and tripled the risk of suicide.
The GOP’s actions are a direct assault on the safety of our community, and Frelinghuysen’s support is a complete betrayal of our communities. We at NJ 11th For Change demand leadership that puts our communities' well-being ahead of lobbyists and party. We need our Representatives to be strong and stand up for us.
NJ 11th for Change
UPDATE 11/13/2017: According to The Hill, House Republicans say they have the votes they need to pass their tax package; a floor vote is expected in the House this week. Now is the time to tell Rodney Frelinghuysen what you think.
- D.C. office: (202) 225-5034
- Morristown office: (973) 984-0711
- Morristown fax: (973) 292-1569
This week, the Republicans unveiled the House and Senate versions of competing tax bills. They share the same vision of what’s good for America: a fat, juicy tax cut for corporations and the biggest investors, while waving away a loss of revenue so big it will rip a gaping hole in the budget and inevitably lead to cuts in programs, services, and institutions that benefit the rest of us. Rewards in the tax code for “good behavior” -- like going to college or getting a graduate degree, buying a house, taking care of your health, or giving your money away, are all eliminated as if these no longer interest the majority party.
In fact, a look at the tax cuts proposed across the next decade shows that they aren’t cuts at all for many Americans. By Year Ten, the evaluation of the House bill by the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank, shows the bill for what it is: a $900 billion corporate cut, a $400 billion break for non-corporate business owners, a $127 billion estate tax break. What little is left over falls squarely in the pockets of the richest 1%.
THERE’S NO 2018 WITHOUT 2017!
If you’re feeling fed-up with the state of things, think LOCAL! All across the district there are great local candidates looking to CHANGE the status quo. And they are all working up the ticket as well, including a tight local district 25 race. A sad fact is that turnout for midterms and off-year elections is very low. Want to change that? Want to get out and support some great candidates including some fellow NJ 11th For Change members? Here’s your chance.
From today through election day VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED. As a service for anyone looking to do some last-minute GOTV efforts, we’re allowing any candidate’s organization to post their contact info in this post. These are not NJ11th For Change sponsored events.
- Supremacy Over Partnership: What Reconciliation Rules Mean
- The Cold Hard Vagaries
- Tax cuts for the rich, tax increases for 35% of NJ taxpayers: Effects of the proposed tax cuts on NJ
- A Moment for Dickey
Readers of this week’s e-newsletter from the office of Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen may well have wished for a piece of paper to flip over in search of the real news. Absent from the litany of achievements was any mention of the massacre in Las Vegas that gripped so many of his constituents, let alone any fruitful conversation on how the federal government might work to reduce the frequency and death toll of such horror. He was able to discuss some policies protecting children on the internet but didn’t mention that he’d allowed ChIP, the federal health insurance program for children, to lapse, or say when he might get around to covering the 9 million current recipients.
Most telling, the newsletter also failed to mention that Rep. Frelinghuysen was one of only two New Jersey lawmakers to vote “yes” with a slim partisan majority on a budget resolution, a bill not only devastating in itself, but designed explicitly to soften the passage of a GOP tax plan that promises to cost more than a quarter of household in New Jersey an average of over $2,400. One wonders how he could stay silent on such a move.
Supremacy Over Partnership: What Reconciliation Rules Mean
Last week Congressional Republicans displayed an ironclad determination to pass the tax reform they want without a smidge of Democratic help (or even opinions). The cornerstone of this effort is a parliamentary maneuver called reconciliation.
What does that mean, exactly?
- Ending The Dream
- An Ounce Of Prevention …
- Labor Day And Labor Issues
Ending The Dream
On Tuesday, it appears that President Trump will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Despite Trump’s pledge to treat DACA recipients with “great heart,” this move will place the future of 800,000 recipients in jeopardy, including 22,000 in New Jersey. Commonly referred to as “Dreamers,” DACA recipients were brought to the U.S. as young children and have proven themselves to be productive members of our community.
The program provided protection from deportation for immigrant youth brought to the U.S. as young children. Many DACA recipients have graduated at the top of their class to become doctors, lawyers, and teachers. Given the essential role Dreamers play in our economy, the Center for American Progress estimates that ending DACA would result in a loss of $460.3 billion from the national GDP over the next decade, with a $1.6 billion loss annually in New Jersey alone.