The NJ #ChamberTrain, the ride home.

Osmond, left, and Schaffer

The past three years I boarded the #ChamberTrain ride back home with ambitious plans to interview everyone and get lots of video and tons of dishy, newsy prose. But what usually happens is I run into a friendly face and spend the whole ride home reconnecting.

Last year, after a long-time social media courtship I finally met Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez (D- Middlesex) on the train and that was all she wrote. I decamped then and there and spent the whole time getting to know Ms Lopez.

Somewhere between Baltimore and Wilmington, we made the connection that my father was stationed at the same Marine base in Beaufort SC as Yvonne’s husband Sam Delgado back in 1983. There were actual shrieks of delight and familiarity when the made that connection and I’m smiling as I type just thinking about.

So what will this ride home bring? Lots of content or lots of chit chat?  The train hasn’t left the station yet and I’m already up to 200 words so that’s a good sign that some dishy content is coming.

And then, as if on cue, the long #ChamberTrain  began creaking into motion.


Last night, VictoryPAC and LPAC, two PACs devoted to electing LGBTs  sponsored a fundraiser for two  prominent gay Jersey politicians, Mayor Reed Gusciora of Trenton and Lambertville Mayor Julia Fahl.

“It was a packed house,” Mayor Gusciora told InsiderNJ.

The #ChamberTrain’s annual LGBT soirée is the hottest ticket every year and last night was no exception which is good because we need more LGBTs in NJ politics. There are, for example, 120 lawmakers in Trenton and none are LGBT.

Does that sound like progress to you?

”I think (LGBT people) are more  conscientious and we study the issues with more empathy,” Gusciora told InsiderNJ referring to his own tribe. “We (gays) bring angles and perspectives that others don’t think about. When our brash ex-Gov CC vetoed marriage equality he said it’s better settled at the ballot box and I told him that was very George Wallace of him.”

And then?

”And then he called me numb nuts,” Gusciora said, chuckling at the memory.

Peggy Schaffer of Somerset County is the Vice Chair of the NJ Democratic State Committee. She was among the VIPs at Reed and Julia’s party (see pic of Ms Schaffer with Kari Osmond the 1st Lady of Lambertville NJ. ) She’s eager to brag about her LGBT caucus.

“We actually have an LGBT caucus, the first in the state, Is headed by Charles Eager. We don’t ask their sexuality but we’ve screened LGBT candidates who have ran and won including South Bound Brook Mayor Chris Schoffner.”

Ms. Schaffer:

”Reed’s event was fun and the train trip was sedate. We were able to talk to more people more meaningfully and share ideas about legislation. I have more meaningful conversations when the train was less crowed.”

Assemblyman Joe Danielsen echoed the sentiment.

“The value of the trip is directly related to the company you keep,”  Danielsen told InsiderNJ which is good advice for life in general.

Shanel Robinson is Freeholder Director for Somerset County making her 1st trip.

“This reminds me of the League in Atlantic City,” Ms Robinson told InsiderNJ. “I have heard the stories of how crowded and chaotic it’s been in the past but I was able to network and talk to colleagues and meet new ones. ‘

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