Durkin on Durkin

Durkin on Durkin
Ray Durkin, right, with Assemblyman Tom Giblin (D-Montclair): both former State Democratic Party chairmen.

The following text is reprinted courtesy of Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin, who delivered these remarks Saturday to introduce his father, Ray Durkin, at the Annual Christmas Award Luncheon by the St. Patrick's Guard of Honor of New Jersey. A former State Democratic Party Chairman, Ray Durkin received the Guard of Honor's "Irishman of the Year" award.

It is an honor to have this opportunity to introduce my father...my best friend. 

My father was born and raised in Vailsburg. The "Burg" as he would call it. And growing up I would hear stories of this fantasy neigborhood come to life.

When I was a little boy my father took me to the funeral of a legendary Irish politician. The funeral was at Sacred Heart Church in Vailsburg on South Orange Avenue. As we were sitting in the pew the priest rose to eulogize this man. He pointed down and said there lies a great politician and an honest man. I tugged on my father's suit jacket looked up at him and said, "how can they fit two people in such a small coffin?"

I don't want to talk about Ray Durkin as Politician. I would like to talk about Ray Durkin as father. My father has 5 children who idolize and love him. And growing up in our household my parents had different jobs around the house.

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Obama picks Jackson as EPA Administrator

Obama picks Jackson as EPA Administrator
Credit: Getty Images
President-elect Barack Obama today picked Lisa Jackson, the Chief of Staff to Gov. Jon Corzine, as the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

President-elect Barack Obama this afternoon formally introduced his environmental team, which includes New Jerseyan Lisa Jackson as director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

 

In front of a press corps eager to talk about the phone call flubs of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who’s facing federal corruption charges for trying to sell Obama’s U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder, Obama celebrated Jackson’s “lifetime in public service.”

 

“She helped make her state a leader in fighting global warming and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said the president-elect. “She shares my commitment to protecting our air, water and abundant natural resources.”

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Levine issues bullet points for his economic recovery plan

Already registered with the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) to run for governor, Franklin Township Mayor Brian D. Levine today unveiled a portion of his economic plan, essentially a macro model based on some of the things he’s done at the local level.  

The Republican’s plan focuses on growing a manufacturing economy, eliminating the 2.5 percent tax on new business construction, incentivizing jobs growth through loan guarantees and tax credits to build business and give priorities to New Jersey college graduates, and using federal assistance to obtain and develop foreclosed properties as affordable housing.

“The U.S. and New Jersey have been losing manufacturing jobs but the town in which I am mayor, Franklin, has been growing manufacturing and warehouse jobs,” said Levine.

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The Irish honor one of their own: former Democratic Party Chairman Ray Durkin

The Irish honor one of their own: former Democratic Party Chairman Ray Durkin
Fomer New Jersey and Essex County Democratic Party Chairman Ray Durkin, and his son, Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin

At Mayfair Farms Restaurant in West Orange on Saturday, the St. Patrick’s Guard of Honor of New Jersey hailed Ray Durkin, or the chairman, as they call him here in a nod of respect to his many years of service to the Democratic Party. 

Full-blooded and hybrid and old and new country Irish fathers and their sons - Giblin, Byrne, Stack, Barrett, McCarthy, Baroni, Mac Donald, O’Toole and Codey – for one afternoon absorbed any and all of New Jersey’s other ethnic groups into the arms of Durkin’s Irish-America.  

Durkin, who led the Essex County Democratic Organization from 1980 to 1992 in addition to serving as chair of the state party from 1985 to 1989, was the 68th St. Patrick’s Guard of Honor on a list going back to 1940 that includes President John F. Kennedy, Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., and governors Richard J. Hughes, Brendan Byrne and Richard Codey.  

In accepting the award, the former Newark City Firefighter and head of the West Ward Young Democrats who has been lowkey politically over the course of the past 12 years, said he was most proud of his wife and five sons, including Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin, who introduced his father on Saturday.

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As Dems seek changes, Merkt wants to abolish Council on Affordable Housing

As Dems seek changes, Merkt wants to abolish Council on Affordable Housing
Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham)

In the state Senate today, Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) plans to introduce a bill that would suspend for 12 months a 2.5 percent tax on commercial development designed to create funds for affordable housing development. 

But the two Republican candidates officially in the race for governor both believe the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) shouldn’t be tweaked so such as simply scrapped. 

To that end, Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham) intends to introduce his own bill on the floor that would do just that, even as the Legislature with Lesniak’s proposal will consider fine-tuning COAH, the State agency responsible for establishing and monitoring municipal affordable housing obligations in New Jersey. 

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Crowley won't run for governor in 2009

Crowley won't run for governor in 2009
John Crowley, right, with Gov. Jon Corzine

Biotech Republican millionaire John Crowley of Princeton will not run for governor in 2009, according to his spokesman, Bill Spadea.

“What happened in the last few weeks is speculation that has gone beyond reality,” said Spadea. “It is certainly an honor for John to be considered a top-tier candidate but he does not intend to run at this time. Both John and myself will be focused on Building the New Majority (a grassroots organization Crowley and Spadea founded) and working to elect local and Assembly candidates in 2009.”

Crowley almost ran for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate earlier this year, even fielding a phone call from U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to get in the race, but he decided against it, citing the demands of his biotech business in Cranbury. 

Over the summer, Crowley and Spadea formed Building the New Majority and stepped up their outreach to party members, an effort that for Crowley included playing the host of a Mississippi boat ride at the Republican National Convention. 

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District 11 lawmakers endorse Christie for governor

As former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie tries to make up his mind about whether or not to run for governor, state Sen. Sean Kean (R-Monmouth) and Assembly members Dave Rible (R-Wall) and Mary Pat Angelini (R-Ocean) are trying to nudge him into the race against incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine.

“Having served in the Legislature for six years, I have seen firsthand the urgent need for reform in New Jersey government,” said Kean in a release. “Chris Christie has demonstrated that he will not hesitate to take on the system that has made New Jersey increasingly unaffordable.”  Kean and his running mates pledged their support for Christie. 

“New Jersey is clearly headed in the wrong direction and that is why tens of thousands of people move out every year,” said Rible. “We need someone like Chris Christie in Trenton to lead the fight to make New Jersey more affordable and less corrupt.”

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 29th

Belmar mayor's race: a wave of post-Sandy project politics stirs up seaside Monmouth borough BELMAR - When Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty rolled out his re-election campaign in February, he did so still basking in the glow of what many residents of the 6,000-person Monmouth County seaside borough saw...

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White House’s Tuition Challenge Being Met in NJ

By MICHAEL W. KLEIN In his weekly radio address on August 16, President Obama challenged colleges “to do their part to bring down costs” and lighten the tuition burden on students.  The state colleges and universities in New Jersey have... Read More >

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Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Christie’s method for coping with scandal has been more complicated. In January, the seemingly-local issue of lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, which created a massive traffic jam in the Hudson River town of Fort Lee, became one of national interest when it was revealed that one of Christie’s closest staffers had ordered them—for what looked like political retribution against a Democratic mayor. The scandal was quickly dubbed 'Bridgegate,' and unfortunately for Christie, it played into his reputation as a bully. Christie's response was to act unlike himself: humble." - Olivia Nuzzi

- The Daily Beast

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