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Women’s Rights at Stake! NJ Elections Start October 16th

Women’s Rights at Stake! NJ Elections Start October 16th

 This Fall’s elections provide New Jersey women with an unprecedented opportunity to vote in their own (and their families’) self-interest, and to send a message to the nation.While most of the rest of the country awaits the 2014 mid-terms and looks on, New Jersey will hold elections for both US Senator (10/16/2013) & Governor (11/5/2013). In both races we have a clear-cut choice between supporting women & their families – or of endorsing the current right-wing agenda that is trying to turn back the clock on gender equality and to sabotage our children’s education and further inhibit economic opportunity for the middle class.

In the NJ Senate race to fill Frank Lautenberg’s seat, we have Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) vs. Steve Lonegan (R), former mayor of Bogata, NJ and former State Director of the New Jersey chapter of Americans for Prosperity (the Koch Brothers Super PAC). Lautenberg, by the way, was a champion for women’s rights and the middle class.

The race for Governor is between incumbent Chris Christie (R) and NJ State Senator, Barbara Buono (D).

  • Christie is an avowed Conservative who is mistakenly perceived as somewhat moderate because he worked with Obama to get Federal aid for NJ after Sandy.
  • Buono is a Progressive who has worked for her constituents’ interests, even when it has meant not being in lockstep with the NJ Good Old Boys Democrats or organized labor leadership.


What may be even more of a concern is that if Christie retains his Governorship and, as is expected, chooses to run for President in 2016 – he is bound to woo the Tea Party Right for the primaries. Can NJ afford 3 years of a Governor in the mold of Scott Walker, Rick Scott, Rick Snyder, Tom Corbett, John Kasich and Bob McDonnell? Consider the repercussions for women, mothers, children, Dreamers, Labor, infrastructure and the environment!

Let’s take a look at the issues most at stake for NJ women:

Healthcare – Women have higher medical expenses than men and insurers often practice gender rating to charge women more than men. Preventative care (like contraception & screenings) are particularly important for women. Then, of course, our children’s healthcare is paramount.  The Affordable Care Act addresses all of these issues, plus no one can be denied for pre-existing conditions & parents can keep their children on their health plans to age 26.

  • Booker supports the Affordable Care Act
  • Lonegan supports its repeal.
  • Buono is one of  Obamacare’s  strongest supporters
  • Christie (who passes as a moderate in today’s GOP), twice vetoed (NJ legislator passed) state exchanges (which are getting rave reviews in the states that developed their own, and Christie also turned down millions in Federal funds to inform the public about Obamacare. Because of this NJ residents are among the least informed about Obamacare.

Planned Parenthood – This organization provides affordable medical services for women who couldn’t otherwise afford them or have access to them: screenings, counselling and contraception (which averts far more abortions than the organization performs).

  • In Planned Parenthood’s own words; “Cory Booker will fight to protect women’s access to preventive health services, make sure women have access to birth control with no co-pay, and support a woman’s right to make her own personal and private medical decisions—without interference from politicians.
  • His opponent, Steve Lonegan, has a long record of opposing common-sense women’s health.”
  • Buono has promised to restore funding for family planning centers and to take full advantage of Federal funds offered for those services.
  • Governor Christie has cut $7.5 million in this funding causing over 30 thousand New Jerseyans to lase access to birth control, HIV testing, cancer screening and more.

Protecting a women’s Right to Choose

  • Booker supports it while Lonegan opposes pro-choice laws & decisions like Roe vs. Wade.
  • Buono is a champion of women’s rights, while Christie is proudly anti-choice

Equal Pay: NJ women earn about 78 cents on the dollar for doing the same works as men.

  • Buono & Booker endorse legislation to ensure protection for workers who file  pay discrimination claims
  • Christie & Lonegan have taken their cues from the far right & Christie vetoed equal pay legislation, calling it “senseless bureaucracy”. Equal pay is senseless?

Violence Against Women

  • Booker: “Make preventing violence against women in any form, place, or institution a priority, including supporting efforts to address the ongoing crisis in our armed forces”
  • Buono is an active member of the V Council, an organization committed to stopping violence against women.
  • Lonegan supports a GOP that voted against the Violence Against Women Act multiple times
  • Christie has cut funding for programs to address violence against women

Economic Opportunity & Minimum Wage

  • Booker wants to help pass the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour over two years
  • Buono wants to ensure Jerseyans will earn a decent living by raising the minimum wage & tying it to cost of living increases
  • Lonegan came out against any minimum wage laws
  • Christie actually vetoed a bill passed by the NJ legislature to raise the Minimum Wage, BUT WE CAN VOTE FOR IT ON Nov 5th

Marriage Equality – The NJ Legislature passed a Marriage Equality Bill for our LGBT sisters & brothers

  • Christie vetoed the Bill but the NJ Courts ruled laws barring Marriage Equality unconstitutional
  • Lonegan says “”The issue here is not gay marriage.  The issue is an activist judge who is legislating from the bench, using her judicial power to advance her own agenda.” What’s his point? The legislature already passed it.
  • Booker is a strong supporter of marriage equality and makes the point that civil rights should not be put subject to a popular state vote or some states would still have segregation
  • Buono sponsored Marriage Equality legislation in 2008, before it was even popular

Sane Gun Legislation

  • Booker & Buono both support background checks, limiting magazine size and closing loopholes on gun & ammo sales
  • Christie (under NRA pressure) actually vetoed a law banning .50-caliber rifle sales that he, himself proposed
  • Lonegan, held a campaign fundraiser at a Camden County gun range to give supporters the opportunity to “exercise their Second Amendment Rights all in one shot.”

Public Education & Student Loans

  • Booker supports more kids in preschool, tackling illiteracy, rewarding good teachers and holding accountable ineffective teachers who are failing our kids.
  • Buono promises to restore & fund all NJ schools according to law, expanding preschool, restoring Before+After care facilities, increasing college & career readiness and addressing increasing student debt & college tuitions.
  • Christie has cut Before+After school programs, cut funds for higher education, opposed tuition equality for Dreamers, stalled efforts to repair schools and prioritized charter schools (often non-secular & wealthy) over public schools. He has also vilified teachers (not to mention organized labor – The foundation of a strong middle class).
  • Lonegan would also “support the federal government ceasing involvement in public education” – something most states are already underfunding

So, the moral to this article is that it is essential that Jersey Women get out and vote in both elections – and encourage others to do the same. The Women’s Vote in NJ can change these elections and set the tone for the rest of the nation in 2014 & 2016.

This is just my view of the elections (but I’m guessing most of you will agree).  UniteWomen.org ACTION also encourages its members to research the candidates and the issues for yourselves. Go to the candidates’ websites and keep up with the News, but don’t let name recognition, Special Interest SuperPAC ads, campaign $s or media slant keep you from voting in your and your family’s best interests!


Candidate websites:
Barbara Buono: http://www.buonoforgovernor.com
Chris Christie: https://www.christiefornj.com
Cory Booker: http://www.corybooker.com
Steve Lonegan: http://www.loneganforsenate.com

Bob Weil is an optimistic, liberal, pragmatic secular humanist.

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