NJ Political Potpourri. Bongs, Wombs +whatnot.

Jay Lassiter with Bernie Sanders

I hope you like your NJ political dish served up in three digestible courses. Because that’s what’s about to happen!

Middlesex

For the past 20 years, the percentage of women in NJ’s General Assembly has hovered between 25-30%. With Nancy Pinkin departing the Assembly to become Middlesex County clerk, that paltry ratio (currently 29%) may soon take another hit. I don’t know who’s on Middlesex Democratic chairman Kevin McCabe’s shortlist to replace Nancy Pinkin, but I’m pretty sure plenty of ambitious men are clamoring for that gig as we speak. Just an educated guess.

Pinkin’s departures means Middlesex County’s delegation in Trenton presently includes 17 men and only 3 women, an 85%-15% ratio if you’re wondering about the math. The choice to replace Pinkin determines if the 18th district joins 3 of Middlesex’s 7 legislative districts (12, 16, 17) with all-male representation.

Sausage’y ain’t it?

Chairman McCabe probably doesn’t want “diminished representation of women in politics” to be part of his legacy. But it might be too late to avoid that. Because even if he helps replace Pinkin with another woman, Middlesex is already a reliable and massive contributor to Trenton’s enduring gender imbalance.

Union

Back in 2016, I resigned as a delegate for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign because Bernie’s NJ chairman wasn’t Bernie enough for me. So I know what it feels like to be inspired by Bernie Sanders. (see pic)

Union County’s Jason Krychiw checks all Bernie’s boxes: Green New Deal, free college tuition, and expungements for low-level pot crimes to mention a few. (I’ve been working on expungements for 15+ years, and never encountered, met, or even heard of Mr. Krychiw before reading about him on these pages.)

According to Mr Krychiw, he’s challenging incumbent NJ Senator Joe Cyran in this spring’s democratic primary because “it’s time for new leadership in Union County to put science first, beat this pandemic together, and end corrupt machine politics that leaves working families behind.”

Laudable goals, all.

It’s notable he mentioned putting science first because Krychiw’s presence in this race likely boosts the prospects of Trenton’s most strident anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist, Assemblyman Jamel Holley.

I’m guessing Holley won’t receive the coveted party line this year based on feedback from multiple Union County insiders sharing their views off the record. It’s hardly a secret that Union County Democratic Chairman Nick Scutari was weighing his options.

Enter Jason Krychiw, an unknown progressive with no money snd virtually zero name recognition, even among the state’s hardcore lefties who support the things Mr. Krychiw claims to stand for. Like, for example, reforming the the party line system that allows machines to concentrate power into the hands of a single gatekeeper, in this case Chairman Scutari.

He’s right about that and it takes courage to say so. But as fate would have it, Scutari banishing Holley from the party line might be the only chance we get in our lifetime to use “the line” for virtuous purposes!

“This (expletive) Bernie bro running against Cryan is really f***ing up possibilities to take line away from Jamel,” one Trenton potentate fumed. “So you’d have a 3-way primary between Cryan, Bernie bro, and Jamel with the two white dudes splitting that vote considerably with Jamel actually having a possibility of cleaning up.”

It’s an unsavory prospect for someone like myself who actually believes vaccines are the greatest public health advancement in human history.

“So un-strategic IMHO,” is how one progressive leader described the timing of Mr. Krychiw’s tilt at Cryan.

Assemblyman Holley is a formidable campaigner.  And thanks to a torrent of campaign contributions from anti-vaxx cohorts Holley will be tough to beat on or off the line.

Jason Krychiw’s upstart challenge can only help Jamel Holley, a man increasingly prone to parroting Donald Trump on COVID-19. That’s an ironic outcome considering Krychiw’s vow to “end this pandemic together.”

More Middlesex

Earlier this year I dragged NJ Assembly speaker Craig Coughlin for slow-footing multiple pieces of time-sensitive LGBTQ legislation. One bill would restore state benefits to LGBTQ Veterans discharged for being gay. The 2nd bill protects LGBTQ seniors in long-term care setting like nursing homes. Although he’s since posted the seniors bill in the new year, Assembly speaker Craig Coughlin is the singular reason why not a single piece of LGBTQ legislation made it to Governor Murphy’s desk last year.

“We are facing the same issue with Coughlin on the RFA, the abortion bill,” a pro-choice stalwart told InsiderNJ. “He is not letting it move in the Assembly and will not even take a meeting.”

The so-called Reproductive Freedom Act is the biggest legislative priority of Planned Parenthood’s NJ political action wing, and we’ve got a democratic Assembly speaker de-prioritizing LGBTQ liberty and a woman’s right to choose.

Can someone please remind Speaker Coughlin that gay rights and abortion access are pillars of his own party’s platform?

Because he clearly doesn’t get it.

Jay Lassiter is the self-appointed court jester of NJ politics. He’s working hard to keep the government out of your bong. He’s on Twitter @Jay_Lass. 

 

 

 

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