Jamel Holley: Real Social Justice Was Coming Before Political War Among Democrats Broke Out

Assemblyman Jamel Holley says that real social justice accomplishments in NJ were imminent before Gov. Phil Murphy went to war with leaders in the NJ legislature. He says that if the full marijuana legalization bill had passed, the social justice effects would have been much greater than with the current expungement effort.

Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-20) said he has a great deal of admiration for the individuals that attended the press conference for social justice today.

“However, it’s just not my style to continue to portray to the people of New Jersey that social justice issues are a reality at this point,” the Roselle-based Democratic lawmaker told InsiderNJ. “We were at the one yard line with real social justice accomplishments and the Governor and his front office decided to provoke a miscalculated political civil war with our legislative leadership.

“Am I disappointed — absolutely.  But I am not upset with the Senate President,” he added. “He’s playing chess while the front office is playing checkers.”

Holley said an unnecessary attack could have been handled in a more gentlemanly way.

“Unfortunately, people are hurting and it’s not going to get any better,” Holley said. “The EDA spat could have easily been handled if the Governor, the Speaker and the Senate President get into a room and figure how we fix some of the loopholes. It doesn’t have to be this divisive fight or these costly criminal investigations.  Nothing gets accomplished that way. There is success around the state with these incentives. Just look how far Camden has come.

“The Governor right now has a first step expungement bill on his desk,” he added. “It’s a start. Had we passed full legalization then it would have maximize the relief that minorities and others were looking for. Their emotions of relief were played upon and now its currently dead. As it relates to monies to build youth prisons, the Governor sat as a National Board Member of the NAACP — he knows better.

“I’ve always said why can’t we attribute monies to our youth for rehabilitation instead of building youth jails.  Just like the $100 million plus we allocated for opioid assistance — why can’t we allocate some to saving our youth. But it falls on deaf ears,” Holley said. “The Assembly is ready and has continually displayed we have the votes to move real social justice issues forward.  I’m not speaking for the Speaker but his house is in order and he’s proven time and time again we have the votes to move forward.”

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