Some county chairs let Christie know they're there for him

Former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie has not declared his gubernatorial candidacy yet, but without even personally pleading his case to anyone, he has already rolled up the support of several GOP chairmen -- some from heavily Republican counties.

George Gilmore, the Republican chairman of Ocean County, will personally endorse Christie if he decides to enter the race, as will his counterparts John Sette in Morris County and Doug Steinhardt in Warren County. Some other Republican chairs are circumspect about committing this early in the process, but say they lean towards Christie.

“Now this is my personal statement obviously, but I think Chris Christie, if he is desirous of running for governor, offers the best opportunity for the Republican Party to win a statewide election next year against Gov. Corzine,” said Gilmore.

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Christie says give him four to six weeks

Christie says give him four to six weeks
Chris Christie today in Newark.

NEWARK - Thirteen hours after he strode out of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the last time, a familiar Essex County scene unfolded here on another street in the Central Ward, where Chris Christie stood in front of a bank of microphones in a packed room at the Essex County Hall of Records.

After seven years of fingering corrupt politicians and putting them behind bars, Christie this afternoon allowed friends in that same, often troubled, public profession to shower him with some local love.

In a pull-out-all-the-stops event complete with Bruce Springsteen soundtrack and tears on cheeks as Christie struck a gratified and reflective mood, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo and his staff heaped gifts and kind words on the crimebuster - one day after his resignation from office.

Trying to break through the bear-hugging Christie and DiVincenzo after the ceremony, reporters crowded the likely GOP gubernatorial candidate and prodded him about whether he intends to run  against incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine.

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Codey picks Madden for labor committee chair

Codey picks Madden for labor committee chair
State Sen. Frederick Madden (D-Washington Twp.) will be the new Chairman of the Senate Labor Committee.

Senate President Dick Codey (D-West Orange) has tapped state Sen. Fred Madden (D-Washington Township) to chair the Labor Committee.

State Sen. Sandra B. Cunningham (D-Jersey City) has been named vice-chair.

The chairmanship opened up after former Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) was named to replace state Sen. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill) as chair of the judiciary committee. Adler was elected last month to the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Fred Madden is a natural fit to helm the Senate Labor Committee,” said Codey in a statement. “Clearly he has the experience, having already served as Vice Chair. He also has a demonstrated commitment to laws that protect workers’ rights and foster job growth, the bedrock of a healthy workforce.”

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Breaking a glass ceiling: will New Jersey get a Latino Secretary of Agriculture?

Breaking a glass ceiling: will New Jersey get a Latino Secretary of Agriculture?
The New Jersey Board of Agriculture -- seven men and one woman, all white -- will pick the state's new Secretary of Agriculture when Charles Kuperus retires at the end of the year.

The workers toiling in New Jersey's fields around Vineland are mostly Mexican, and because of that fact, Mayor Bob Romano acknowledges it might help to have a Latino serve as Secretary of Agriculture.

"I think it would be great idea," Romano said in response to the question, "as long as the person has the knowledge. You need somebody who's qualified. That's the main thing. We need someone who's going to be a strong advocate for keeping New Jersey farmers on their farms."

Acknowledging that many migrant workers in New Jersey come from Mexico and Central America, Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Essex) jumped at the suggestion of a Latino state Secretary of Agriculture to succeed Charles Kuperus, who retires at the end of this month.

"I think a Latino would be very good for that position," said the veteran Newark senator.  "I'm sure New Jersey farmers understand the need to bring balance to that position. Diversity is our greatest strength, coupled with a candidate who would bring objectivity to the job."

However, state Board of Agriculture Vice President Robert Matarazzo says the Department of Agriculture - salvaged from the budget chopping block last year - remains in precarious shape in bad economic times. He doesn't see the recruitment of a Latino secretary, or anything else short of industry survival - as a priority.

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Corzine expects to work with state board to pick new Agriculture Secretary

Corzine expects to work with state board to pick new Agriculture Secretary
New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles Kuperus is stepping down at the end of the year. The State Board of Agriculture picks the new Secretary, and then Gov. Jon Corzine will need to sign off on the choice.

As it examines who will succeed state Secretary of Agriculture Charles Kuperus, the New Jersey Board of Agriculture finds itself in the awkward position of trying to negotiate with a governor who last year considered scrapping the department in its current form.

In an effort to save cash, Gov. Jon Corzine wanted to subordinate Agriculture to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), a move universally condemned by stewards of New Jersey's 9,600 working farms, some of whom rumbled down West State Street in tractors of defiance.

The Secretary of Agriculture is the only cabinet appointment not made by the Governor.  The State Constitution gives the appointment power to the Board of Agriculture.  The Governor can that approve or veto their choice.

Having weathered the Highlands Act political war earlier in his career, and lately in a cliffhanger with his off-again, on-again department, Kuperus announced his resignation from overseeing the department's $9.3 million budget, effective at the end of this year.

He says he's not bitter at all, and points out in defense of Corzine that from the beginning he made the budgetary suggestion at the Statehouse, the governor was clear that he was only initiating a public conversation.

"Like anything with respect to public service, you have to be looking ahead," said Kuperus, a farmer, a former Sussex County freeholder and a Republican who was named to the post by Gov. James E. McGreevey after the 2001 election.   "The state has very significant issues. We happen to be a small agency, but one that touches every New Jerseyan's life. Even the Hudson County Board of Freeholders declared that they wanted the Department of Agriculture preserved, in part because we helped them when they had a longhorn beetle outbreak."

In the lead-up to his departure, the eight-member Board of Agriculture - made up of farmers and other agricultural industry reps - is set in the middle of this month to review between 12 and 20 applications from those who wish to be the new secretary, a job that pays $141,000 a year.

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Amid economic downturn, mayoral backlash, Lesniak anticipates COAH finetuning

Unlike Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan, Marlboro Mayor Jonathan Hornik doesn’t want Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) obligations scrapped.

But like a lot of other mayors who found it hard to generate a party mood at the League of Municipalities conference in the face of a deadline at the end of this month to submit finished plans in concert with the new rules, the mayor does want lawmakers to review COAH – and at the very least make some exceptions.

Specifically, Hornik wants Gov. Jon Corzine and the Legislature to consider amending the new regs so years-long, painstaking work Marlboro officials undertook to transfer some of the Monmouth County town’s affordable housing stock to Trenton won’t be rendered invalid.  

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Marra will be Acting U.S. Attorney

Marra will be Acting U.S. Attorney
Ralph Marra, Jr., a career federal prosecutor, will become the Acting U.S. Attorney for New Jersey.

Ralph Marra, Jr., a career federal prosecutor who has been with the Department of Justice since 1985, will become Acting U.S. Attorney for New Jersey at midnight, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office.  U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey approved Christie's recommendation of Marra last week.  Christie will leave office at midnight and is expected to seek the Republican nomination for Governor.

Marra will serve for 210 days -- until June 29, 2009 -- unless a new U.S. Attorney is nominated and confirmed before then.

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The Back Room

Conservative group slams Christie in TV ad

As Gov. Chris Christie's heads to New Hampshire tomorrow, a conservative group wants to welcome him with a television commercial critical of his record on judicial nominations.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: July 30th

  With looming deadline on bail reform, Christie calls Legislature into special session TRENTON - Gov. Chris Christie is calling the legislature into special session Thursday to address recent bail reform legislation before a looming deadline next week, according to a letter from the governor’s office today. (Brush/PolitickerNJ)...

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The health of New Jersey's women is not Chris Christie's priority

By Linda Stender At his most recent town hall, Gov. Chris Christie accused his predecessors of "monkeying with the math" when it comes to their handling of our state's economy. But as the old saying goes, when the governor points a finger, he... Read More >


(7-30-14) Who Is Best Equipped to Decide the Fate of the Common Core? - The latest Christie controversy surrounds his Executive Order to revamp the state’s academic... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »
The Perry-Paul Debate is Healthy for the GOP – and for America  The foreign policy debate in the media between prospective GOP Presidential candidates Texas Governor Rick Perry and... more »
(Washington DC)-- Two recent votes on Capitol Hill suggest an overdue and radical departure from our nation's Draconian and costly War on Drugs.  It's a long-overdue discussion (and not just... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a Hudson County Democrat, is balking. He claimed Tuesday that members of his caucus are divided over the measure and that his house is in no real rush – besides, even if enacted this year, the reforms would not take effect until 2017, he said. And with the growing belief that Christie could skip town to run for president, some Democrats are not eager to give him another talking point for his résumé. Christie’s plans to stump for Republican candidates in New Hampshire later Thursday only fuel that suspicion." - columnist Charles Stile

- The Bergen Record


Who's right on the bail reform special session?:


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