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Dancer Bill Aims To Prevent Child Deaths In Hot Cars

Assemblyman Ron Dancer, R-Ocean, Burlington, Middlesex and Monmouth is protecting young children and preventing tragedies with legislation he introduced that increases penalties for adults who leave a child unattended in a car. 

“Every summer we hear of more unattended young children dying in overheated cars. These are preventable deaths and people need to be aware of the dangers and new criminal penalties. Even on a mild day, the temperature inside a car parked in the sun can increase by 20 degrees in an hour, every hour,” said Dancer.  

Dancer noted that in the last two years, almost 70 children died in hot cars, including 44 in 2013 alone. 

“My bill is intended to provide a deterrent to parents and care-providers who forget about the life-threatening dangers of leaving young children unsupervised in locked vehicles,” said Dancer. “Law Enforcement Officers will also be authorized to use whatever means are reasonably necessary to protect and remove the child from the vehicle and not be held liable in any civil action.” 

Under Dancer’s bill, A-3604, leaving a child under 6 years old unattended in a vehicle would be subject to a $500 fine, and if the child is injured as a result, the charge would be a third degree crime, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine. 

If the child was injured seriously or killed, the charge is a second degree crime, with a fine up to $150,000 and as long as 10 years behind bars. 


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Cho challenges Garrett to six debates

Calls on Incumbent to Agree to Four Debates in Bergen County, One Each in Sussex & Warren Between Now and Election Day

Ridgewood, NJ -- Roy Cho today called on Tea Party incumbent Scott Garrett to join him in committing to six debates across the 5th Congressional District to allow voters the opportunity to directly weigh the differences between them in an open forum.

“Voters deserve to hear from us directly in an open forum to weigh our positions and visions about about what’s important to them and their families, and to decide who they believe will best represent northern New Jersey in Congress,” said Cho. “Scott Garrett has been in Congress for nearly 12 years, yet many residents I meet on my door-to-door visits throughout the region have never heard him in person, let alone seen him in their community.”

In a letter sent to Garrett to both his campaign and home addresses, and via email, Cho called for four regional debates in Bergen County -- with one located in the northwestern portion of the county to be accessible to Passaic County residents in Ringwood and West Milford -- and one debate each in Sussex and Warren counties.

“There are stark differences between the way Scott Garrett and I view the issues and challenges facing both northern New Jersey and our country,” said Cho. “We need to be accessible to the people so they can make an informed choice in November, and the best way to do that is by debating and putting our positions out there side-by-side in a public forum.”

A copy of Cho’s letter to Garrett follows:

September 2, 2014

The Honorable Scott Garrett
Garrett for Congress
P.O. Box 905
Newton, New Jersey 07860

Dear Congressman Garrett:

Now that summer and Labor Day have passed, residents throughout the 5th Congressional District are returning to their day-to-day lives and refocusing on the issues and problems that affect them and their communities.

Given the very important issues facing our country and region, it is more important than ever  that the people we ask to vote for us have the opportunity to hear directly from us. As I have walked door-to-door in communities across northern New Jersey, I have met countless residents who are deeply concerned about the state of our nation and local area and are eager to hear the ideas we have about how to best move forward.

I hope you will join me in agreeing to six debates in different regions of the 5th Congressional District to provide voters with the opportunity to hear directly from us in an open forum to weigh our differing visions and positions.

Specifically, I am requesting one debate each in Sussex and Warren counties, with the other four debates to be held in Bergen County. One of the Bergen debates should be located in the northwest area of the county to be easily accessible for Passaic County residents who live in West Milford and Ringwood.

A representative of your campaign may reach out to my campaign manager, Rob Esposito, at their earliest convenience to begin discussions on suitable dates and locations and to agree on the rules that would govern these forums.

This is an election year like no other, and the residents of northern New Jersey we seek to represent deserve a level of exposure and accessibility that they have never had before if they are make an informed decision when they stand in the voting booths this November. I hope that you will agree to my proposal for six debates so that we can raise the level of discourse and provide voters with the opportunity to hear us directly.

I look forward to your timely response.


Roy Cho


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DeCroce Says She Cannot Support Amendment Using Corporate Business Tax For Open Space Purchases; Lawmaker Says Highlands Property Owners Deserve Compensation From State

“It is not the responsibility of business to pay a tax that will finance historic preservation, open space purchases and environmental remediation in perpetuity.The public is again being fooled into thinking that the corporate tax will be used primarily for open space preservation, when in fact,  that is not the case.” AssemblywomanBettyLou DeCroce

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Cho: This Labor Day, let's recommit to helping all families achieve their American Dreams

Calls for Increasing Minimum Wage, Hiring/Training Incentives for Certified Small Businesses, Ensuring Equal Pay for Equal Work

Ridgewood, NJ -- Roy Cho, candidate for Congress in the 5th District, today seized on the observation of Labor Day to call for the passage of policies that will benefit workers and help small businesses grow and attain success.

“We must always remember whose labor it was that literally built this country,” said Cho. “It is the hard work of men and women and the spirit of entrepreneurs that has made our economy the largest and most diverse in the world and built the middle class. We need to recommit to growing the middle class and helping all families achieve their American dreams.”

Cho said he would support an increase in the minimum wage, noting that even business leaders he has spoken to endorse the idea. He said raising the minimum wage would ensure workers have the income necessary to become consumers, which would accelerate economic growth, while lessening the burden on taxpayers to fund public assistance programs utilized by those currently in minimum wage jobs to make ends meet.

Cho noted that according to the Center for American Progress, current proposals in Congress to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 would save taxpayers an estimated $46 billion over the next decade just in funding for food stamps claimed by minimum wage workers. A 2013 study from the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Illinois put the total annual amount of taxpayer funding for public assistance programs for minimum wage workers at $7 billion.

“If we raise the minimum wage, we can not only allow families to have a better life, but we can spur local economies and take pressure off of taxpayers at the same time,” said Cho. “When we raise the wage, those workers are going to spend that extra income, which helps local businesses grow. We allow those workers to become independent and no longer reliant on taxpayer-subsidized programs to make ends meet. We must look at these issues with a very broad view, and realize the wide impact something like the minimum wage has on our entire economy. The Tea Party’s knee-jerk opposition to raising the minimum wage is yet another example of how their narrow view of the world doesn’t apply to reality.”

Cho also called for tax incentives to allow certified small businesses to take on new, young workers as paid interns or to extend job retraining and re-employment opportunities for returning veterans and individuals who had previously lost their jobs in the recession who have yet to find new work.

“We need to reopen the doors of opportunity not only to our young people just entering the workforce, but to those who lost their jobs and desperately want to work, but whose former jobs are not coming back,” said Cho. “At the same time, our economy is growing and being led by innovative small businesses. By helping business owners cover the cost of taking on a new worker, we can allow both our young people to get the on-the-job training they need to start their careers and get people, especially veterans, the job training they need in a new field so they can get back to work.”

He also reiterated his support for strong anti-wage discrimination laws to ensure women are paid the same as men -- according to the American Association of University Women, women in the 5th Congressional District earn roughly 73% of their male counterparts in equal positions. And, he said he would sign to be a co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, to strengthen job protections for LGBT residents.

“As we work to rebuild our economy and strengthen it for the future, we must make sure that every American is able to participate in the recovery,” said Cho. “That women still make less than men in equal jobs is a fact more suited for the 1950’s than the 21st Century. And no one should be dismissed for employment based on sexual orientation or identity. We need to have a single standard: If you can do job you can get the job.”

Cho said issues relating to labor and workplace can no longer be broken down into simplistic silos, but must be looked at in terms of their broad impacts on the economy as a whole, both nationally and globally.

“We need to remember that businesses would not have grown without the hard work of the labor force, at that all businesses started out as small businesses,” said Cho. “The Tea Party’s view of ‘us versus them’ and ‘this versus that’ doesn’t apply. We need to get Congress to recognize that everything is connected, and only by working together can we rebuild our economy and give all families a better future.”

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Senator Shirley K. Turner (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) released the following statement today in response to the report that the State Police graduated fewer minorities in the 154th graduating class.  According to recent news articles, the 154th graduating class saw a 20 percent drop in minority graduates.

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Allen Announces Legislation, Photo Contest to Save Animals in Need of a Home

Senator Diane Allen, joined by her colleagues Senators Jennifer Beck, Joe Kyrillos, Anthony Bucco, Robert Singer, Dawn Addiego, Joe Pennacchio, Steven Oroho and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr., announced legislation and a photo contest to save animals in need of a home.

In an effort to encourage more residents to consider adopting a sheltered or rescued animal, Senator Allen and her colleagues are sponsoring legislation to recognize the month of September each year as “New Jersey Adopt a Shelter Pet Month.” To coincide with the legislation, Senator Allen (R-7) and Senators Beck (R-11), Kyrillos (R-13), Bucco (R-25), Singer (R-30), Addiego (R-8) and Pennacchio (R-26) are holding a photo competition (details below), highlighting local shelter or rescue animals.

“Shelters and rescue agencies have too many animals without homes and not enough resources to support them,” said Allen. “I hope by designating September as Adopt a Shelter Pet Month it can become a time each year filled with events promoting local shelters and a time where more and more animals find a loving, permanent home.”

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TRENTON – Senate President Steve Sweeney issued the following statement today as New Jersey heads into the Labor Day holiday weekend:

“As we enjoy time with our families during this holiday weekend, it is also important to remember what Labor Day represents. It’s about the struggle of people in this country to have safe working conditions and good wages. It’s about fighting for things in New Jersey like Paid Family Leave and an increase in the minimum wage.

“Organized labor has made significant strides in the last century, which we will proudly recognize during Peter J. McGuire Day.  And we also recognize the contributions of Paterson’s own Matthew Maguire. But there is always more that can be done.  We can ensure equal work for equal pay, raise the minimum wage across the nation - not just in New Jersey - and, we can keep the promise we made to workers that their pensions will be there for them when they retire.  All of these things are not only fair, but will continue to build on the progress already made by working people in this country.

“In the meantime, the barbeques will soon commence and folks will be heading to the shore, so I want to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday weekend. Summer went too fast, but the rest of the year holds great promise for New Jersey.”

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Fiocchi, Business Leaders Tackle Red Tape Issues

Fiocchi, Business Leaders Tackle Red Tape Issues

In Vineland today, Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi met with 40 area business owners to discuss way to improve the state’s regulatory environment. Fiocchi was joined by Assembly Republican Whip Scott Rumana, a member of Gov. Christie’s Red Tape Review Commission (RTRC).

The event, which took place at Cumberland County College, featured several business owners concerned about the burdensome red tape and government mandates that hamper job creation and investment.

“Instead of more bureaucracy and more red tape, we need to create an environment that nurtures businesses to grow and thrive,” said Fiocchi, R-Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic. “We don’t want to wait for industries to come to us. We want to go to them and stay connected. Our main goal is to create more jobs and grow South Jersey’s economy.”

Fiocchi said he asked Rumana to join him for today’s meeting because as a RTRC member, he will be able to directly share the business owners’ input with the commission. Rumana has had several bills signed into law that eliminate unnecessary red tape and encourages entrepreneurs to create jobs.

“New Jersey’s regulatory culture is changing,” said Rumana, R-Passaic, Bergen, Essex and Morris. “We continue to make substantial progress in reducing onerous and burdensome red tape. By streamlining business-to-government interaction, we are creating a more hospitable climate for business. We still have more work to do, but as a small business owner, I know Sam understands the business community’s frustrations. They couldn’t ask for a better advocate in Trenton.”

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NJ State PBA and NJFMBA Back Pennacchio’s Plan to Allow Slots at Racetracks

Two of the states largest public sector unions have come out and endorsed SCR-134, a resolution sponsored by New Jersey State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris/Essex/Passaic). SCR-134 is a proposed Constitutional amendment giving the Legislature the authority to establish slot machine gambling at New Jersey’s four racetracks.

The racinos would be run by a consortium of Atlantic City’s existing casinos. Fifty percent of those proceeds would be constitutionally dedicated to New Jersey’s public worker pension system, 40 percent would go to the consortium of Atlantic City casinos running the video slot machines and 10 percent would be provided for infrastructure and entertainment enhancements in Atlantic City.

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Cho: Rutgers study shows need to make Washington work


Ridgewood, NJ -- Roy Cho, candidate for Congress in the 5th District, today pointed to a new study from Rutgers University as proof that Congress's narrow tunnel vision of gridlock and dysfunction has failed to improve the lives of Americans hurt by the recession. Instead, Washington needs to put partisan differences aside and get working to create good paying jobs and help hard working middle class families achieve long-term economic security.

The report from Rutgers’ Heldrich Center for Workforce Development -- "Unhappy, Worried and Pessimistic: Americans in the Aftermath of the Great Recession” -- surveyed more than 1,150 Americans and found an increasing skepticism in the economy, as most respondents said they continue to be behind where they were before the 2008 meltdown.

Cho pointed to the finding that 78 percent of respondents said they had little to no confidence in the ability of Washington to improve things as proof that Tea Party gridlock and dysfunction itself was imperiling the economic recovery and the American Dream.

“We know that Congress has gone off the rails when Americans see Washington as so detached from reality that it can no longer function to improve the lives of people,” said Cho. “We need a new way of economic thinking in the Capitol, and it has to be a view that neither party holds all the answers, and that our entire economy is interconnected. We need to finally realize that it will take private and public sector reinvestment working together to get things done.”

Cho pointed to long-term investments in public infrastructure as a move that would create good paying jobs, allow businesses to thrive and strengthen networks that commuters and businesses rely on as a strategy that can make a real positive impact on the lives of American families.

“The Tea Party view of any government spending as wasteful is as outdated as the view of some on the left that government has all the answers,” said Cho. “There are critical investments that government must make with the cooperation of the private sector that can create good paying jobs and strengthen the economic security of middle class families.

A total of 59 percent of respondents said they struggle under economic stress. Cho pointed to college loan debt as part of that finding, and the need for Congress to allow students to refinance their loans at lower interest rates and maintaining the federal grant programs that help offset the increasing cost of higher education.

“When we are graduating students from college with debt loads so monstrous that they cannot save and cannot become consumers, we stifle our economy,” said Cho. “We’re very close to having an entire generation of Americans being stuck in a Debtor Class, unable to make headway even in increasingly favorable economic conditions.”

Cho also noted that only 14 percent of those surveyed said they had been positively impacted by recent gains in the stock market, and only 7 percent said they are better off than before the recession hit, despite the fact that employers have been adding jobs at a pace not seen since the 1990s.

“During the last economic expansion, we had Congressional leaders who were able to put partisanship aside to work together to further that momentum and create the only balanced budgets we have seen in our lifetimes,” said Cho. “Today, we see a Congressional leadership has become seemingly content to do nothing and have a recovery that only improves the lives of a few while casting millions aside. That’s a failed way of governing, and I am committed to bringing us back to the political center that ensures everyone can realize their American Dream.”

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AFP: Pinelands Commission’s Position on Youth Soccer Games “Absurd”

MONMOUTH JUNCTION—Americans for Prosperity-New Jersey state director Daryn Iwicki took aim today at the Pinelands Commission for contending that youth soccer games violate the land’s deed restriction.

“The Pinelands Commission claiming that kids playing soccer violates the land’s deed restriction and would constitute more than ‘low-intensity recreational use’ is absurd beyond belief,” criticized AFP state director Daryn Iwicki.


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Fiocchi Says Soccer on Green Grass is Natural, Even in the Pinelands

Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi today voiced his support for continuing youth soccer tournaments at farms in the Pinelands. 

“What possibly could be more natural than kids playing on lush fields of dense Kentucky bluegrass? I can’t think of anything better and more in keeping with preservation than recreational sports,” said Fiocchi, R-Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland. “Teams will come here and play soccer a couple weekends a year.” 

At a farm in Hammonton, soccer tournaments were recently hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Soccer Showcase League. The Pinelands Commission contends that soccer games violate the farm’s deed restriction, which allows for “low intensity recreational use.” 

“Occasional soccer games have low-impact, or no impact, on the environment,” said Fiocchi, the sponsor of legislation that would classify soccer as one of the recreational activities permitted on agriculture land in the Pinelands. “There’s no reason at all to prohibit these games.” 


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TRENTON – Senate President Steve Sweeney issued the following statement today in support of the effort by Underwood Hospital nurses in Woodbury to join the Health Professionals and Allied Employees, the state’s largest healthcare union:

“A nurse’s life is not easy.  Usually the doctor runs away with all the glory, but it’s the nurses who tend to us everyday when we need care. They pull the all nighters.  So to me, you stand with those trying to create better working conditions and better services for patients.

“The nurses at Underwood are simply trying to make their working situation better – that in turn means better care for patients. I can’t see any legitimate reason to argue against that. As I have done with the nurses from Memorial Hospital in Salem, Underwood nurses will have my full support in their efforts.”

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Rible Lauds PSE&G’s Capital Project Creating Jobs

Rible Lauds PSE&G’s Capital Project Creating Jobs

Assembly Republican Conference Leader David Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean, issued the following statement regarding the results of a Rutgers Study released today that shows PSE&G’s 10-year, $8.1 billion transmission investment program is an economic engine for New Jersey:

“PSE&G’s commitment to upgrading its infrastructure will result in better service and reliability for its customers. At the same time, it’s creating thousands of quality jobs from construction to manufacturing to retail and transportation. The many and varied benefits derived from this program will help to continue to drive economic growth for our state for years to come. I commend PSE&G for its role in helping build a better New Jersey.”

The report concludes that the transmission upgrades are responsible for creating 6,000 jobs annually, resulting in more than $4.3 billion in salary and benefits and more than $640 million in state and local government revenue.

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Dancer Bipartisan Bill Brings Common Sense to Gun Ownership

The legislation was prompted by the case of Shaneen Allen, a singe mother from Pennsylvania facing a possible 3 ½-year prison sentence

When a law-abiding citizen from another state visits New Jersey and that individual is in total compliance with their home state gun laws, under current New Jersey law, that individual faces a mandatory prison term of no less than 3 ½ years if he or she is not in compliance with N.J. law during the time of their visit. 

Assemblyman Ron Dancer wants to give courts sentencing discretion when a resident of another state has a legal gun permit in their home state with no known criminal record, behavior or intent and is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm while visiting in New Jersey, provided certain conditions are met .  

Dancer believes it is unreasonable to expect citizens to know and be aware of all the various nuances of 50 different States' gun laws. Dancer introduced bipartisan legislation, A-3608 on August 4 that permits a judge to consider whether there are mitigating circumstances in such cases before deciding on the appropriate punishment, rather than a mandatory, minimum prison term of no less than 42 months with no possibility of parole or even pre-trial intervention, especially for state visitors with no criminal record. 

“Each case of an illegal gun possession charge should be judged on the particular facts surrounding that case,” said Dancer, R-Ocean, Burlington , Monmouth and Middlesex. “The court should be able to consider if an out-of-state resident has a valid legal permit where they live. States have their own firearm laws and a person visiting N.J. may not be totally familiar with every aspect of New Jersey’s law. Judges should be allowed to use their discretion if there was no criminal record or intent.” 

The bipartisan legislation addresses instances such as the New Jersey man who moved back to the state from Colorado in 2009. After being stopped by law enforcement, the search of his car revealed two locked and unloaded handguns in the trunk, both of which were purchased legally in Colorado. He was sentenced to a seven-year prison term which was eventually commuted by Gov. Chris Christie. 

Also, according to National media accounts, a Pennsylvania woman, Shaneen Allen, was recently stopped by New Jersey police and voluntarily told them she had a handgun in her car which was legally purchased and registered in Pennsylvania. Shaneen Allen was quoted as saying she was not aware that her Pennsylvania home state permit was not valid in New Jersey and is now charged with unlawful possession of a weapon. Her trial date is October 6. 

Dancer’s bill applies to residents from other states who are visiting N.J. and have a legal permit in their home state to possess the firearm, if required. The legislation applies only to handguns, rifles and shotguns. Under current law, New Jersey courts have no options and must impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 42 months in prison with no discretion or consideration of the facts. 

This proposed bipartisan legislation A-3608 gives the court flexibility, depending upon the facts of the case, whether to impose a mandatory sentence or have the defendant enter into a pretrial intervention program if the defendant has no prior criminal record, no association with a criminal street gang and is in compliance with the handgun laws of their home state.


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Abuse of the ADA Part of a Larger Problem

To attorneys who use the ADA and disabled plaintiffs as pawns in a get rich quick scheme, litigation has become the goal rather than the means to a greater end.

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TRENTON – Senate President Steve Sweeney issued the following statement today regarding Women’s Equality Day, a day which celebrates certification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in the United States:

“Today is a day to celebrate the numerous achievements of women in our country and especially New Jersey. I would particularly like to acknowledge our Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, as well as Senators Allen, Addiego, Beck, Greenstein, Turner, Ruiz, Cunningham, Gill, and Pou for their continued contributions to our great state.

“The day also serves as a reminder, however, that true equality continues to elude woman in the United States, as they continue to make less than men for doing the exact same work.  So while we celebrate and reflect, let today also serve as a catalyst for pushing us towards wage equality, both here in New Jersey and across the country.”

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 2nd

Campaign season now under way in Bergen County Politics is practiced year-round in Bergen County, and street-level campaigning has been going on quietly all summer. But both Republicans and Democrats say the Rutherford Street Fair on Labor Day signals a more intense phase of electioneering. (Ensslin/The Bergen Record) http://www.northjersey.com/news/campaign-season-now-under-way-in-bergen-county-1.1079080  ...


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 >


My Republican Hillary Clinton Experience    There is a veritable plethora of reportage in print, internet, television and radio media speculating as to whether Hillary Clinton will seek the Democratic... more »
(8-27-14) All Americans Should Support Gov. Perry - Political prosecutions have no place in American life. Those who use the justice system as they are using it in Texas... more »
(Asbury Park, NJ) -- There's a word for someone who says one thing and does another: hypocrite.  There's no shortage of 'em in Trenton -- from ... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Governor Christie ripped President Obama this summer for failing to carve out some time during a Texas fundraising swing to visit the Mexican border, where the unprecedented flood of immigrant children from Central America had reached a crisis point. ...Yet Christie is not squeezing in a tour of the troubled border during his own three-day trade and diplomatic mission to Mexico, which is set to begin on Wednesday. The governor is planning a series of meetings with Mexican officials, including President Enrique Peña Nieto and the finance and energy ministers." - columnist Charles Stile

- The Bergen Record


Governor Chris Christie's trip to Mexico...:


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