Tales from the (booze-free) Chamber Train

Gusciora and Sayegh

There’s a train full of lawmakers and business elites hurtling towards DC and I’m on it.

(On board) — As the train pulled out of 30th St Station, InsiderNJ ran into Trenton mayor Reed Gusciora who was making the trip for the 20-something time.

“I’ve been coming since ‘96, how many years is that?” Reed said doing the math in his head. The mayor was hoarse and it was hard to hear him over the cacophony on board.

It’s less cacophony than usual because this train is a lot less packed that years past. It was easy to find my seat and easier still to find a place to set up and type. That never happened before. Two years ago I was uploading files in the bathroom it was so crazy.

So it’s quieter than usual but still, I feel bad for Reed because we’re not even in DC yet and he sounds like it hurts to talk.

“It’s a great place to network,” Guscuira said.  “It’s a real opportunity to socialize with their fellow mayor and legislators. I get a lot of business done, especially talking to others mayors. I ran into the president of TCNJ and it’s a reminder to get together.”

Ben Dworkin, who runs Rowan’s PolySci department, appeared out of  nowhere.

I also witnessed Reed discussing labor stuff with union folks and commiserating with Professor Dworkin about some nasty anti Semitic remarks from members of Trenton City Council.

Later, Assemblyman Bill Spearman (D-Camden) dropped by to discuss his bill to regulate ATVs in a smarter way. I live in the ‘burbs where the dangers of ATVs are less of a thing. Sounds to me like Spearman’s ATV bill would be a good thing for Trenton’s streets where gangs of ATVs terrorize residents with mostly impunity.

Reed said that in the old days, lawmakers hung out more often which makes it harder for things to get so toxic.

“There was the camaraderie  and the ability to pitch you legislative ideas and local concerns. In years past I enjoyed the face time with leadership. These various receptions are a change to continue the conversation in a collegial setting,” Reed said.

”You managing that council, mayor?” Dworkin ribbed, alluding to Trenton’s restive city council which makes easy stuff hard and hard stuff impossible.

No wonder Mayor Gusciora was hoarse.

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