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The 2020 Insider 100: Policymakers
When someone says “I’m going to go Jersey” on someone, you don’t think of policy. In fact, you usually don’t think of New Jersey and policy in the same sentence. Or the same state.
Maybe that’s why the state’s a wreck.
But each year we like to recognize those (mostly) lonely souls actually trying to do something for the state, and so here, humbly, is our 2020 Policymakers List.
If you’re looking for a narrative in these pages (and won’t the world be a better place when we dispense with narratives and actually reacquaint ourselves with reality?), obviously COVID-19 stands in stark relief, and we’d imagine at least one of those key people on that battlefront doesn’t need an introduction. But we considered other areas as well, paying particular heed in these times to legislative reforms targeting law enforcement, the Garden State economy, and marijuana.
In the words of one source:
“Where have you gone, Fred Caraballo? West State Street turns its lonely eyes to you. Gone are the days of Lance, Watson Coleman, MacInnes, Bagger, Bob Gordon, Roberts and Doria. That said, I’ll nominate the entire Black Caucus for seizing the moment and making sure NJ’s all Irish white male power structure is advancing racial justice issues. Credit IMO mostly to Singleton, Timberlake, & McKnight.”
We agree with that assessment, and credit state Senator Ronald L. Rice (D-28) – chairman of the caucus – as a key policy driver. Rice’s work touches nearly every key area of concern, as he leads New Jersey as the state’s prime advocate for marijuana decriminalization and police reforms to minimize or eliminate instances of police brutality.
There are others out there diligently doing substantive work, and if their names don’t appear here, hopefully we can double back and identify them next year. God willing, too, we’ll be in a better position than we are now, no doubt defined by crisis, because nothing ever changes that in New Jersey, but not additionally beset by a pandemic.
If this list gets you, even for just one day, to reassess the meaning of “going Jersey” and perhaps prompts a consideration of those residents among us who actually resist the easy, thoughtless tweet of anger or the emotional explosion and instead prioritize policy, then it will have served some useful purpose.
Herein find some of those fine New Jerseyans who have distinguished themselves in the midst of this dreadful scourge, reflect on the purpose of their work, mask up, dammit, wash your hands, and we’ll see you on the other side of no man’s land!