Environment New Jersey Releases Full Slate of Legislative, Gubernatorial & Mayoral Race Endorsements

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Environment New Jersey today released its full slate of endorsements for the state legislative and mayoral elections and the gubernatorial race, as it prepares to launch a get out the vote and voter education push state-wide and in key legislative races leading up to Election Day on Tuesday, November 2.

Environment New Jersey, on behalf of their more than 20,000 dues-paying citizen members, released its full slate of legislative and mayoral endorsements, as well as its support for the re-election of Governor Phil Murphy. Receiving the group’s endorsements are 13 State Assembly and Senate legislative champions spanning 11 legislative districts across the state. The organization endorsed six State Senators and Senate candidates with a record of marked environmental leadership, including Senator Bob Smith (D-17), Senator Linda Greenstein (D-14) and Senator Vin Gopal (D-11). The organization also endorsed the Senate candidacy of Asm. Andrew Zwicker (D-16), Asm. Vince Mazzeo (D-2) and Christine Clarke, the Democratic challenger in the 26th District.

The organization endorsed 7 Assembly members and candidates with a record of marked environmental leadership or working in their communities to address environmental threats. They include Asm. Clinton Calabrese (D-35), Asm. John McKeon (D-27), Asw. Mila Jasey (D-27), Asm. Jim Kennedy (D-22), Chair of the Assembly Environment Committee, Asm. Dan Benson (D-14), Asm. Rob Clifton (R-12) and Karlito Almeda, a Democratic challenger in the 39th Legislative District. These legislators and candidates range in experience from freshman legislators to Trenton veterans. But they are united in their desire to protect the environment, protect their local communities from environmental hazards, including pipeline projects, and are willing to stand up for the environment in Trenton.

“These leaders are environmental champions in the Legislature,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “They have fought for the environment and worked to advocate for a green agenda. Although they face spirited challenges, they have not shied away from standing up for clean air and water, open spaces and clean energy. We need their continued leadership more than ever because we need legislators who put the environment first.”

The choice is clear for voters who care about environmental protection at the top of the ticket in the gubernatorial race. Environment New Jersey will be reaching out to the public, all of our more than 20,000 dues-paying members and more than 60,000 supporters to encourage voters to support Gov. Phil Murphy for a second term in New Jersey’s gubernatorial race.

“New Jersey needs a governor who will reflect the environmental values of our state, understands the urgency of climate change and make New Jersey a national environmental leader on climate and clean energy policy,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “Gov. Murphy’s environmental record makes him the clear choice for voters this fall. We need a governor who works to protect our air and water and fights to tackle climate change and builds a clean energy economy that doesn’t sacrifice our natural lands. We are proud to support Gov. Murphy to ensure we protect New Jersey’s natural treasures.”

We will need strong legislative leaders to advocate for stronger environmental protections. This legislative term, our endorsed legislative leaders have successfully advocated for bans on single-use plastics, including plastic bags and polystyrene, and establishing the largest network of electric vehicle charging stations on the East Coast to jumpstart electric vehicles in New Jersey, as well as legislation to expand testing, notification and replacement of lead service lines for schools and homes across the state suffering from lead contamination in their drinking water.

“We urge voters who care about the environment not to sit this election out,” said O’Malley. “Environmentally-minded voters state-wide and in key districts should know how critical their vote is this year and why these legislators should be re-elected to stand up for our air and water. This year, your vote will count – stand up for the environment inside the voting booth and on your ballot.”

Environment New Jersey also endorsed Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop for re-election based on their local advocacy for environmental protections and clean energy and his willingness to stand up for the permanent preservation of the entirety of Liberty State Park.

“Every election is important for the environment, but especially an election that will decide who sits in Drumthwacket and every seat in the New Jersey Legislature. This is an on-year election for the environment, and we’re going to work to ensure our supporters vote their environmental values,” said O’Malley. “We want to send a clear message to our supporters and the public that their vote matters on the environment and these environmental champions deserve your vote.”

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Environment New Jersey is a project of Environment America, Inc., a citizen-based environmental advocacy group with offices in New Brunswick and Trenton.  Environment New Jersey represents more than 20,000 dues-paying members and more than 60,000 activists across New Jersey.

 

State Senate Endorsed Candidates Background

Senator Bob Smith (D-17) is the long-standing chair of the Senate Environment Committee. Throughout his tenure in the Senate, he has developed a well-earned reputation for proceeding over the most interesting committee in the Legislature and his legislative record, dating to his prime sponsorship of the Highlands Act to the more recent achievements of the passage of the electric vehicle omnibus bill, the ban on single-use plastic waste and legislation to increase the recycled content of plastics to expanding energy efficiency investments for businesses and increasing appliance efficiency standards. Senator Smith has a sterling environmental legacy.

Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-16) is the Chair of the Science, Innovation and Technology Committee and is the proud heir to the environmental tradition of Mercer County Congressman Rush Holt – an environmental and scientific leader. Donning a lab coat for his quirky TV ad, he touts the split benefits of being a physicist and legislator. He has supported a broad set of legislative initiatives to reduce dangerous climate pollutants like methane and supporting electrification of our transportation sector. Asm. Zwicker has been a huge supporter of guiding state environmental decisions based on science – whether it be supporting legislation to tackle climate change, expand clean energy, drinking water standards or the ecological impact of the now-defeated PennEast pipeline. He has quickly become of the Legislature’s top environmental leaders.

Senator Linda Greenstein (D-14) is a long-time vice-chair of the Senate Environment Committee. She was a prime sponsor of the omnibus electric vehicle bill and the ban on single-use plastics and is a instrumental voice in bills that appear before the committee. She has a 20-year record of advocating for more clean, renewable energy, opposing fossil fuel projects and support preservation of New Jersey’s natural resources. Sen. Greenstein has consistently opposed bills that would weaken environmental standards and has one of the most consistent pro-environmental voting records in the Legislature.

Sen. Vin Gopal (D-11) has represented his Shore district well, putting environmental and public health concerns high on his legislative list of priorities. He has been a strong supporter of offshore wind and opposing offshore oil drilling, and directly advocated for an end of the annual raiding of the New Jersey Clean Energy Fund during this year’s budget process. He was a sponsor of legislation to eliminate lead service lines across the state and he supported electric vehicle legislation, including the omnibus bill. He has served the Shore well in his first term and deserve re-election.

Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-2) has been a consistent vote to protect the environment, who has made his mark during his four terms on green initiatives, specifically his championing of off-shore wind projects off the Jersey Shore. Over the last two years, he has been an incredibly strong advocate for offshore wind and the proposed Orsted Ocean Wind project off Atlantic City and has introduced multiple bills to jumpstart offshore wind to fight climate change. He also has advocated against offshore drilling off the Atlantic seaboard, and supported clean, renewable energy and preservation measures.

Christine Clarke is an environmental activist and a Democratic candidate in the 26th Legislative District. She is a member of the Jersey Renews Steering Committee, the New Jersey March for Science and a former Environmental Director for Action Together New Jersey and a proud mother of four who has forcefully campaigned for a 100% clean, renewable energy future to stave off the climate crisis. The incumbent in the district, Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R-26), has a clear anti-environmental voting record and is often one of the few votes against environmental protections in the Senate.

State Assembly Endorsed Candidates Background

Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese (D-36) is in his second term representing portions of Bergen and Passaic Counties. A Cliffside Park native, the Assemblyman made an early environmental mark with his support for a clean energy economy and public health by opposing the proposed Meadowlands Gas Plant. His legislative record in Trenton has backed up his local environmental advocacy, most notably with his prime sponsorship of legislation to restrict the use of bee-killing neonic pesticides, which is still waiting for final passage in the Assembly. He has already established a strong environmental record in the Assembly since he took office in 2018.

 

Assemblyman John McKeon (D-27) is a long-time environmental champion and Assembly Environment Committee member. He was a prime sponsor for the successful legislation to ban single use plastic bags, polystyrene containers and single-use plastic straws. He has been a long-time advocate to protect Barnegat Bay and a lead sponsor of successful legislative efforts to give towns and counties the authority to create stormwater utilities to tackle run-off water pollution. He was a prime sponsor of a groundbreaking bill that establishes financing for offshore wind energy off the Jersey Shore and supports a mandatory state policy that would cut energy demand by 20%. The Assemblyman has consistently worked against and voted against bills that would weaken environmental protections, including previous efforts to weaken the Highlands Act, flood plains protections and our waterways, as well as legislation to allow NJDEP to make substantial changes without taking public comment and efforts to expedite development projects without environmental reviews. He has been one of the most consistent and reliable voices for environmental protection in the Assembly.

Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-27) has been a consistent environmental voice, both to support preservation and to oppose environmental deregulation bills and efforts to weaken protections for the Highland and buffer areas around our waterways. She was a prime sponsor along with Assemblyman McKeon of a bill to set strict pollution limits to clean up Barnegat Bay. She is also a prime sponsor of legislation to increase recycled plastic content and a sponsor of the legislation to ban single-use plastic bags, and a sponsor of legislation to ban bee-killing pesticides for residential use. She has been a staunch environmental and public health ally through her years in the Legislature.

Assemblyman James Kennedy (D-22), as Chair of the Assembly Environment Committee, has been a long-time environmental ally beginning years before he entered the Legislature. He was a prime sponsor of the omnibus electric vehicle bill and is passionate about public health and reducing air pollution, especially reducing its impacts on urban residents. He has supported bills this session to more strongly regulate climate pollutants and to ban single use plastics and cares deeply about moving towards a clean energy economy to fight the impacts of climate change.

Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-14), as Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee, has been a critical leader in advocating for the expansion of electric vehicles and EV charging infrastructure across the state as the prime sponsor of the omnibus electric vehicle bill. Asm. Benson has a sterling environmental record, especially on clean, renewable energy because of his professional background in energy efficiency, and has been a consistent advocate for NJ Transit straphangers, as well as advocating for stronger protections for our drinking water, including stricter oversight of Trenton Waterworks. He has consistently been a powerful and thoughtful voice for environmental protection in the Assembly.

Assemblyman Rob Clifton (R-12) is a seasoned legislator who works to represent the environment with his voting record, has been willing to buck the party line on key environmental votes and he has worked to try to fix the clear deficiencies with the environmental and public safety impacts of gas pipelines in the state, most notably the Southern Reliability Link (SRL) in his district by working on legislation focused on pipeline safety and siting, adequate notice and reduced takings. The Assemblyman has supported clean, renewable energy initiatives, open space preservation and efforts to fight climate change by reducing carbon pollution, as well as legislation to eliminate lead service lines and the omnibus electric vehicle bill.

Karlito Almeda, Democratic challenger, 39th Legislative District. Karlito brings a combination of political policy acumen and grassroots environmental energy to his home district in northern Bergen County. A Mahwah resident who was personally impacted by the flooding from Hurricane Ida, he has cut his policy teeth as a top legislative aide for Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, who has championed environmental and transit legislation. Karlito got his start as a high school volunteer for a local Mahwah environmental organization and served as an organizer for Environment New Jersey in Bergen County, talking to thousands of residents across the county. His environmental platform and energy would be an immediate improvement over the current representation, which has been lackluster on environmental issues.

Endorsed Municipal Candidates Background

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop (D) is the second-term mayor in Jersey City, who has positioned himself as an environmental leader running the state’s second largest city. Fulop has established himself a climate leader and he was the first mayor in the state to sign a pledge to drastically cut the city’s energy produced from fossil fuels and undertook a greenhouse gas audit. This spring, he released a Climate Action Plan, which commits to city community solar projects and to meet a 80% reduction in climate pollutants by 2050.  Fulop has been willing to stand up for transit riders, including challenging decisions by the Port Authority to impact PATH service and to advocate for the extension of light rail to the western neighborhoods of Jersey City. Mayor Fulop supported the closing of the Hudson Generating Station coal plant (located along the Hackensack River) and the redevelopment of its property. He has vigorously challenged efforts to privatize any portion of Liberty State Park, one of the most popular state parks in the state with gorgeous views of the Statue of Liberty, including efforts to develop the ecological jewel of Caven Point. Mayor Fulop has supported state-wide vehicle electrification and local efforts to install more electric vehicle charging stations in the city, transition municipal vehicles over to an electric fleet and debut Via, a local transit van service to reach more commuters. We are proud to endorse Mayor Fulop for re-election as Jersey City Mayor.

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Paid for by Environment New Jersey, a project of Environment America, Inc., 104 Bayard Street, 6th Floor, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. This expenditure was not made with the cooperation or prior consent of, or in consultation with, or at the request or suggestion of, any candidate, or person or committee acting on behalf of the candidate.

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