Bill Baroni

Egea Hearing: What did she know, Weinberg wants to know

Egea Hearing: What did she know, Weinberg wants to know

TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37), co-chair of the Select Committee on Investigations, tried to ascertain from Regina Egea what, if anything, Gov. Chris Christie’s  director of the authorities unit knew about the infamous traffic snarl at the George Washington Bridge that infamously jammed up her boss.

“Once you saw those clips did you think there was anything further - I know hindsight, I know all the proverbs - but there was at least one clip that came to your attention and there were huge traffic jams,” Weinberg said. “Folks couldn’t get through. …It was beginning to become a story.”

Did Egea get involved on any level?

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Source: Kanka gearing up for legislature run

Source: Kanka gearing up for legislature run
Credit: source: Getty Images Photo
Richard Kanka

Richard Kanka, the father of Megan Kanka, the little girl whose murder 17 years ago by a twice convicted pedophile became the impetus for Megan’s law, is gearing up for a run at the state legislature, a Mercer County Republican source told PolitickerNJ.

Kanka, who is a school board member in Hamilton, has the blessing of the county and state party, the source said. 

Kanka’s name has been mentioned for both the state assembly and the state senate, but Mercer Republicans would like to see him headline the ticket as the senate candidate.

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Port Authority opens in Shanghai and London; Baroni credited on bridge

Port Authority opens in Shanghai and London; Baroni credited on bridge
Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni

BAYONNE - Having just committed $1 billion to raise the Bayonne Bridge, “The Port Authority was created for this,” said Anthony Coscia, chairman of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. Before, “The ships were virtually fighting with each other in the harbor.”

He credited the agency for port stabilization, river dredging, and a $600 million rail system. And today, the Bayonne Bridge.

“People around the world are watching what we do,” Coscia said of the project, which should preserve jobs and reincarnate “the premier port on the east coast of the United States.”

The Panama Canal widening that precipitated the raising was approved by Panamanian voters in 2006, so this wasn’t news. “We knew it,” said Coscia. “So why is it that we waited until today? Because we needed leadership,” Coscia said. “I’m glad that this governor understands that.”

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Legislative specials

There will be two special elections for State Senate in November: in district 5, where Democrat Dana Redd resigned in January to become the mayor of Camden, and in district 14, where Republican Bill Baroni left to become the Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  Both races will be to fill the remaining fourteen months of the current terms.

Redd was replaced by Donald Norcross , a South Jersey labor leader who had been elected to the State Assembly in November.  Norcross will face Republican Harry Trout, who works as a wine consultant.  Norcross is the overwhelming favorite to win the special election.

Baroni’s replacement is Republican Thomas Goodwin, who gave up his Hamilton Township Council seat to serve in the Senate last month.  Goodwin faces six-term Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein in what might be one of the premier campaigns of the year in a politically competitive district.

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Goodwin picks up Baroni ethics reform bills

Goodwin picks up Baroni ethics reform bills
State Sen. Thomas Goodwin (R-Hamilton)

State Sen. Thomas Goodwin (R-Hamilton) says he’ll take over the sponsorship of several ethics reforms bills that had been introduced by his predecessor, Bill Baroni, including a prohibition on campaign contributions by public contract holders.

Goodwin was elected to the Senate last month after Baroni left to become Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  The new Senator says he has also become the sponsor of a bill that would stop campaign contributions from anyone involved in eminent domain proceedings.

“Although New Jersey has a long history of political corruption, it’s something that we can prevent from continuing,” said Goodwin. “Most importantly, these reforms will help eliminate the ‘corruption tax’ that adds to the cost of government and every resident’s tax bill.”

Goodwin’s legislative portfolio also includes Baroni’s proposals to increase the statute of limitations on political corruption crimes from five to seven years, and a constitutional amendment to suspend elected officials under indictment.

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North Ward vaudeville: Adubato event features D's and more than a few R's in Christie era

North Ward vaudeville: Adubato event features D's and more than a few R's in Christie era
From left at the North Ward Center on Friday evening: Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford), State Democratic Chair John Wisniewski, and State Republican Chair Jay Webber

NEWARK - That fragile world of political decorum - sustained by public egos keeping one another in check, rituals of politeness and restraint suppressing everyone's underworld of agony and envy - crashed inexorably Friday night at the North Ward Center as it does annually.

"I've been speaker for 73 days, and it feels like it's been 73 years," admitted Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange). "I'm only dealing with a Republican governor, a senate president who thinks he's a Republican governor, a majority leader who thinks he's the speaker, a minority leader who insists on calling me dear, an out-of-control deficit, and unions who want to run me out of town." 

Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) doubled over with laughter in a crowd crammed alike with the aging and cherubic faces of older operatives and political crumbums, and those connected to the new axis of power, including Sweeney, Oliver, DCA Commissioner Lori Grifa, and state Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-Red Bank).

Towering side by side in the crowd stood State Republican Chairman Jay Webber and State Democratic Chairman John Wisniewski, studiously paralyzed, grinning like gunfighters glad they don't have to draw as the barbs flew all around them.

"This event always gives us a chance to see Republicans no one's ever heard of, like, uh, what's his name...? - Goodwin - Tom Goodwin," said staccato Steve Adubato, Jr., to which Goodwin gave a sheepish wave.

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With Mercer victory, Greenstein seals Dems' backing for Dist. 14 run against Goodwin

With Mercer victory, Greenstein seals Dems' backing for Dist. 14 run against Goodwin

The Mercer County Democratic Committee on Saturday unanimously endorsed Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) as their candidate for senate in the 14th District. 

Last week, the veteran assemblywoman received the backing of the other half of her party in her home county as the Middlesex County Democratic Committee endorsed her by acclimation.

With both counties formally locked up now, Greenstein is the Democrats' official candidate to run against state Sen. Tom Goodwin (R-Hamilton) in a November special election.

Goodwin last Monday assumed the oath of office to fill the seat vacated by former Sen. Bill Baroni, Christie's choice to serve as deputy director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. 

In her speech yesterday, Greenstein went directly at Gov. Chris Christie's Fiscal Year 2011 budget proposal.

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Greenstein wins Dem Party backing in Middlesex

Greenstein wins Dem Party backing in Middlesex
Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) with her husband, Michael.

EDISON - Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) tonight won the unanimous backing of the Middlesex County Democratic Committee for the 14th District Senate seat occupied yesterday by Tom Goodwin of Hamilton.

Sen. Goodwin assumed the seat with the departure of former state Sen. Bill Baroni, Gov. Chris Christie's choice to serve as deputy director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

On a single line shout-out from County Chairman Joe Spicuzzo that included U.S. Rep, Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch), U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-Hopewell Twp.), and U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York), Greenstein won the support of the party to face Goodwin in a November special election to succeed Baroni.

Greenstein next will go before the Mercer County Democratic Committee, where she is expected to receive her party's full support in the other participating county in the 14th Legislative District. 

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Goodwin elected to State Senate

Goodwin elected to State Senate

HAMILTON -- Hamilton Council President Tom Goodwin was elected the interim state senator for the 14th Legislative District tonight, beating out former assemblywoman Barbara Wright for the seat of Bill Baroni (R-Hamilton).

Goodwin got 75 votes to Wright’s 31 among Republican county committee members from the distirct’s seven towns in Mercer and Middlesex County.  State Sen. Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield), who was on hand to give Goodwin his official state senator pin, said Goodwin will be sworn in on Monday.  He will have toseek reelection in the June primary and November general election, most likely against Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro).  That race is expected to be one of this year’s most competitive and expensive.

The two Republicans made their pitch at a catering hall where the Mercer GOP regularly holds events. Both describing themselves as conservative and pro-life.Voter turnout was about 53%, with 106 of 199 Republican County Committee members voting.   As of last week, Mercer had 136 of 168 seats filled, and Middlesex had 63 of 172. 

Goodwin told the crowd that Hamilton faced a similar fiscal bind that the state is in now two years ago.

“Our former mayor took our municipal to the brink of economic collapse. But just like Governor Christie is doing right now, we took action,” he said, adding that under Republican leadership they transformed a budget deficit into a surplus.

Wright played down her defeat by Greenstein in 1999, arguing that the Republican Party is better positioned than it was a decade ago.  She also argued that it was important to run another woman against Greenstein, and that she has stayed involved on the policy front, most recently managing the state Nurses Association.

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New Senator to be elected tonight

Today is Election Day in the 14th district, where Republican County Committee members from seven towns in Mercer and Middlesex counties will hold a special election convention for State Senator.  Hamilton Councilman Thomas Goodwin and former Assemblywoman Barbara Wright (D-Plainsboro) will compete to fill the seat of Bill Baroni (R-Hamilton), who resigned earlier this month to take a post at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  The winner is expected to take office next week, in time for Gov. Christopher Christie’s budget address before a joint session of the Legislature.

The Mercer portion of the district (Hamilton and West Windsor) has a substantial edge in the number of filled County Committee seats, making Goodwin the front runner for tonight’s vote.  Goodwin has also won endorsements from key Middlesex Republicans, including the GOP County Chairman.  The 76-year-old Wright, who represented the district from 1992 to 2000, has been going door-to-door in Mercer in an attempt to pick off Goodwin votes.

The likely Democratic nominee, Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) has beaten both Wright and Goodwin.  Greenstein unseated Wright by 1,238 votes in 1999, and beat her by 5,075 votes in a 2001 rematch.  In 2007, Greenstein defeated Goodwin by 3,968 votes; Goodwin lost to Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton) by 821 votes.

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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...

Op-Ed

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 >

Contributors

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

"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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