Rice Says Scutari Needs to Apologize to the People of New Jersey

Senator Ronald L. Rice (D-28) nixed 'Freeholder.'

Senator Ronald L. Rice (D-28) offered a response today to recent reporting that Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Nicholas Scutari seeks to apologize privately to him for having “personally disparaged him or his commitment to his community” during a senate voting session.

It is as follows:

“Having requested repeatedly over the last several months – in letters, texts, emails, and phone calls – to meet with Senator Scutari and Senate President Sweeney, I welcome the chance for the three of us to smooth some of the feathers ruffled in our fervor to legislate to our best capability.

“Honesty, transparency and openness, however upsetting or uncomfortable, are the cornerstones of good lawmaking on behalf of the people we represent.  In my constant fight for justice and equal opportunity, and my pursuit of ending closed-door politics and informing the public without constraints, I will always speak up and speak out—in the Senate Caucus, on the floor of the Senate Chambers and in the media.

“Focused on sharing perspectives unimagined by the privileged,  I mean no harm to my colleagues.  But my priority is always the women and minorities in New Jersey who have every right to know which legislators and special interest groups are barriers to our goals.  As a Black senator and a Marine Corp veteran, I do not run from adversaries who delay and deny justice, I engage them.

“Senator Scutari need not apologize to me.  Instead, I suggest he apologize to the thousands of people, Black, Latino, white and others, whose lives have been harmed over the past ten years through his abuse of power as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  By holding bills crafted to establish criminal justice reform with the sealing of unfair drug arrest records and decriminalization of recreational marijuana, lives have been ruined and families torn apart.  The predicable result has been joblessness, poverty, homelessness, desperation and relapse into criminal behavior.

“Until social and economic justice are established in our state, the overt fight will continue.  The voices of the disadvantaged and disenfranchised will not be silenced by legislature leadership. The sooner Senator Scutari and Senate President Sweeney accept that reality, the less need there will be for apologies.”

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