Saturday, September 13, 2014

20-year Anniversary of Violence Against Women Act

By District 4 Coalition for Change

Today marks the 20-year anniversary of the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) which changed how we view and respond to domestic and sexual assault.

Before VAWA, women who suffered from domestic violence suffered in silence, and law enforcement failed to give this issue the attention it desperately needed.

Congressman Smith Voted Against the Violence Against Women's Act of 2013 - Why Congressman?

STOP Chris Smith. Vote on November 4, 2014


Towns in District 4 NJ
Allentown, Bayhead, Belmar, Bradley Beach, Colts Neck, Eatontown, Englishtown, Fair Haven, Farmingdale, Freehold Township, Freehold Boro, Hamilton, Holmdel, Howell, Jackson, Lake Como, Lakehurst, Lakewood, Little Silver, Manalapan, Manasquan, Manchester, Middletown, Millstone, Neptune, Ocean, Pt. Pleasant, Pt. Pleasant Beach, Red Bank, Robbinsville, Roosevelt, Rumson, Seat Girt, Shrewsbury, Spring Lake, Tinton Falls, Upper Freehold, Wall, Neptune, Neptune City

President Obama's Weekly Address 9/13/14: We Will Degrade and Destroy ISIL

WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, the President reiterated his comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group ISIL. His plan brings together a campaign of targeted airstrikes, increased support for Iraqi and Kurdish forces already taking on terrorists, assistance from allies and partners, expanded efforts to train and equip the Syrian opposition, and ongoing humanitarian aid for those displaced by ISIL. The President expressed his immense appreciation for the military men and women who make these efforts possible, and reminded the world that America continues to lead and stand strong against terror.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

On Anniversary of 9/11, Pallone Announces Support for 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Legislation

Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) issued the following statement to declare his support for reauthorization legislation that provides health care and compensation for the more than 60,000 9/11 first responders and area residents and workers who continue to suffer from health conditions associated with the side effects caused by exposure to toxins at Ground Zero:

“Although more than a decade has passed since 9/11, the brave men and women who risked their lives to report for duty at Ground Zero on that fateful morning, as well as the weeks and months that followed, are still experiencing adverse health effects,” said Pallone. “I am proud to announce my intention to co-sponsor reauthorization legislation so that vital health care services and deserved compensation can be provided to our heroes who chose to run toward the fire and smoke that day, not away from it. Now, in their time of need, we must not run away from them. This critical program should be extended without delay.”

Without congressional action, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which passed Congress back in 2010, will expire in 2015. The legislation created a health program that provides monitoring and treatment for those suffering from adverse health effects, as well as a compensation fund for economic damages and loss for individuals and first responders who became ill from the toxins at Ground Zero.

Congressman Pallone served as the Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health in 2010 when the original law passed. He helped author and secure passage of the Zadroga Act after eight years of examination of the public health effects of 9/11.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pallone Bill on Sudden Unexpected Death in Early Life Passes House of Representatives

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 669, the “Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act,” which was introduced by Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), the senior Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee. The bill received bipartisan support and passed out of the Energy and Commerce Committee in July. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced a companion bill in the Senate, S. 2746, in July that is currently before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

“Stillbirth and sudden unexpected infant death affect tens of thousands of families every year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and sudden infant death syndrome is the leading cause of death for infants up to 12 months old,” said Congressman Pallone. “Too many families have struggled to find answers to these tragic events. This legislation will give researchers the information that they need to help us better understand these unbearable losses and provide parents with much needed answers.”

“I would also like to sincerely thank Laura Crandall who has worked with me on this issue for many years and who came to testify before the Health Subcommittee on this bill last November,” Pallone added. “Laura’s strength in the wake of the devastating and inexplicable loss of her young daughter, Maria, is inspiring, and her continued efforts to find answers for her own family as well as so many others have helped bring this bill to the House floor today.”

The “Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act,” would enhance awareness regarding unexpected sudden death in early life and improve the surveillance and collection of critical data when investigating these tragic deaths. Specifically, it would improve the development of standard protocols used by medical examiners in death scene investigations and autopsies surrounding these deaths, and it would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct training activities regarding these protocols.

APP LETTER: Gun background checks: Where is Smith’s support?

If you haven't seen it the following letter to the editor appeared yesterday in the Asbury Park Press. It raises a serious question about Middletown's other congressman, Chris Smith:

After hearing about the alarmingly high number of school shootings, 74 in 2014 alone, I decided to write a letter to my congressman, Chris Smith.

Smith has refused to co-sponsor a federal bill, H.R. 1565, for expanded background checks on firearms. This bill would help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, and I wanted to know why he hasn’t supported it publicly.

Smith’s office responded to my inquiry with an explanation, which included that he supported the Brady Handgun Bill in 1993. Thank you, Congressman, for supporting common sense in 1993, but what about now?

Due to NRA-influenced politicians, much of the Brady Bill has become irrelevant. So, by stating two decades-old support of the Brady bill, Smith’s response is also irrelevant.

What is relevant is that America leads developed nations in homicide by gun, suicide by gun, mass shootings, accidental death of children by gun, school shootings, and women shot by domestic abusers. Where is Smith’s current support for gun sense?

New Jersey gun laws are strong, but our neighboring states have weak laws and criminals go to those states to acquire weapons. New Jersey is the No. 1 importer of illegal guns in the nation.

These illegal guns ravage our cities, endanger our police, and are used to kill our civilians, as evidenced in recent events, including in Jersey City and West Orange this summer, as well as the Short Hills Mall shooting last holiday season. Federal law is important for New Jersey.

Smith should stop hiding behind what he did in 1993 because it has no impact on today.

Congressman Smith’s constituents overwhelmingly support expanded background checks on firearms. He should too.

Francee Tendler


Saturday, September 6, 2014

NFOIC: State Open Government Activist is 2014 Freedom of Information Hall of Famer

For Immediate Release:

Well known for his public advocacy and a frequent panelist and speaker throughout New Jersey, John Paff this year becomes the 15th inductee into the State Open Government Hall of Fame. Known as the "Heroes of the Fifty States," the joint initiative of the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) and the Society of Professional Journalists recognizes the recipient's "long and steady effort to preserve and protect the free flow of information about state and local government that is vital to the public in a democracy." Formal induction takes place on October 24 at the 2014 NFOIC Freedom of Information Summit in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Paff has been dubbed "New Jersey's busiest open government activist" by reporter Colleen O'Dea, who featured him this February in her New Jersey Spotlight article "Profile: The Man Who Makes Sure Government Works - Right Out in the Open."

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John Paff
Paff's interest in government transparency began in 2002 shortly after the New Jersey Open Public Records Act was passed. Since then, he has taken a lead role in the work of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project and has served as Project Chairman since 2003. He has also served for the past five years on the board of trustees for the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government, a non-profit organization devoted to improving compliance with the state's Open Public Records Act and Open Public Meetings Act. Paff is also is a gifted writer and blogs about noteworthy issues at NJ Open Government Notes.

Having earned a reputation as a government watchdog, Paff typically juggles five public records requests at any one time. He has filed and won numerous lawsuits against non-compliant public agencies and, in doing so, has made a significant contribution to the body of case law giving teeth to the statutes. "The award judges had a wealth of riches this year in choosing its 'hero,' but John Paff stood above the crowd," said Sarah Nordgren, Director of Content Development for the Associated Press and one of the NFOIC judges who reviewed the nominees. "John is tireless not only in his support of open government, but also in imparting the deep knowledge he has to others, so that they, too, can work to ensure transparency."

NFOIC's president, Hyde Post said "John joins a distinguish group of 14 deserving men and women: outstanding individuals who selflessly volunteer their time to ensure open, transparent government, and freedom of information in their states and for their communities."

The FOI Summit, which also serves as the national coalition's annual conference, brings together state and regional FOI coalitions and advocates of open government. Tom Blanton, Director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, is this year's keynote speaker. Visit NFOIC online or call NOW to register for this year's FOIA Summit. Travel scholarships are available to early registrants.

Middletown Day Coming September 27th Sponsors, Volunteers Needed

From Middletown Alerts:

This year Middletown Day returns to the Great Lawn at Croydon Hall on Saturday, September 27 to mark the end of a year-long celebration of the township’s founding 350 years ago The fall festival will be held from noon to 6pm, followed by an anniversary concert and fireworks. The festival will feature a Middletown 350 anniversary cake created by the legendary Cake Boss Buddy Valastro, the Business and Community Showcase, bouncy houses, a food court and more. An outdoor concert begins at 6pm followed by fireworks at dark.

Sponsors are needed to help celebrate all that makes Middletown special. Sponsorships begin at $100. The benefits of sponsorship increase with the sponsorship. They include a place in the Business and Community Showcase, recognition in promotional materials and more. Donations are tax-deductible. Call the Recreation Department at 732-615-2260 or visit for more information.

Volunteers are also needed at Middletown Day. Civic, fraternal, community and school groups are welcome and encouraged to participate. Youth volunteers must be in the 7th grade or higher. Letters documenting community service are provided. Send an email to with volunteer’s name, phone number and email address. Please include grade level if volunteer is a youth. Call 732-615-2260 for details.

Shadow Lake Herbicide Application 9/8/14

From Middletown Alerts:

In an effort to control excessive growth of waterborne plant life, aquatic
herbicidal treatments will be performed at Shadow Lake. The approximate treatment area includes the inlet section of the lake near Stevenson Park and extends eastwardly to portions downstream and along the shoreline of Shadow Lake. A follow-up herbicide application will be applied on or about September 8, 2014 weather permitting. The purpose of this second application is to treat plants that were washed free of herbicide by incidental boat traffic. This application will be completed in one day. The first application was applied in June.

Shadow Lake Notice

Saturday Morning Cartoon: A Guide To American Football

In honor of the start of the 2014 NFL season, here's a primer for those who have absolutely no idea what football is or what it's all about.

Legacy Of Service

The following is from Congressman Rush Holt's newsletter

When reports surfaced in March that dozens of veterans had died while awaiting medical attention in other states, I wanted to know what kind of experience veterans in New Jersey were having. I sent surveys to more than 2,500 veterans in my District, asking them very straightforward questions about the scheduling process, wait times, and the quality of care they have been receiving at NJ VA medical facilities. Of the 140 responses I received, 95 said that they were happy with the care they had received, and 45 reported dissatisfaction with delays and with the state of facilities. While the positive response reaffirms that the VA system in New Jersey often provides excellent, compassionate, and skilled care, the negative responses demonstrate that there is still work to be done.

I am happy to report that with my support, Congress passed – and the President signed into law – a bipartisan bill to grant veterans greater access to medical care outside of the VA under certain circumstances, and provide monetary support to improve VA facilities and alleviate the physician shortage.

My Mailbag

Recently, I joined Robert Ahr on his postal route in Manville. The U.S. Postal Service is a unique feature in our society that helps build our communities.

As your voice in the U.S. House of Representatives, I always strive to represent you and the nearly 744,000 other residents in New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District. Each day, I receive hundreds of letters on dozens of topics. I thought I would share with you some of the letters I recently received, as well as my replies.

A resident of Lawrence Township wrote encouraging me to right the wrongs of unequal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare by investing $1 billion annually in international family planning. I wrote to let her know that I am a cosponsor of the Global Democracy Promotion Act, which would codify President Obama’s Executive Order lifting the global “gag rule” on U.S. funding for international family planning services.

Georgia from Princeton wrote to thank me for cosponsoring the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act. I let Georgia know I was a cosponsor of the bill because protecting our environment and the animals we share it with is one of my top legislative priorities, and that humane treatment of animals is a mark of a civilized society. In fact, I have earned a lifetime 100 percent rating from the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Marion from South River emailed me to urge passage of the Stop Corporate Inversions Act, which would prevent U.S. companies from declaring themselves as foreign entities to avoid millions in taxes. I wrote to let her know that I am a cosponsor of the bill because U.S. companies engaging in these activities and deriving benefits from operating in the U.S. should not cheat the system by avoiding the costs of maintaining our society.

Rush Holt
Member of Congress

President Obama's Weekly Address 9/6/14: Time to Give the Middle Class a Chance

WASHINGTON, DC —In this week’s address, the Vice President discusses our continued economic recovery, with 10 million private sector jobs created over the past 54 months. Yet even with this good news, too many Americans are still not seeing the effects of our recovery. As the Vice President explains, there’s more that can be done to continue to bolster our economy and ensure that middle class families benefit from the growth they helped create, including closing tax loopholes, expanding education opportunities, and raising the minimum wage.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Pallone to Hold U.S. Service Academy Day at Naval Weapons Station Earle on September 20th

LONG BRANCH, NJ – On Saturday, September 20th at 10:00 a.m., Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ-06) will be hosting a U.S. Service Academy Day at Naval Weapons Station Earle, Leonardo Pier Complex. The event will provide a forum for students who are interested in attending one of our nation’s prestigious U.S. Service Academies to learn more about the process for admission.

The event will focus on the admissions process, steps to obtaining a congressional nomination, and lifestyles as Cadets or Midshipmen at the academies. Interested students will have the opportunity to personally meet and speak with representatives from the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

“Our nation’s service academies are some of the highest caliber institutions committed to graduating leaders of character, honor and integrity,” said Congressman Pallone. “Graduates are selflessly prepared to assume some of the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government. By hosting this U.S. Service Academy Day, it is my hope that we will inspire young people of the 6th Congressional District to come out and explore the many opportunities that our academies have to offer.”

Doors will open at 10:00 a.m., and presentations from the Academies will begin promptly at 10:30. Interested students and parents can RSVP to Dawn Rebscher at (732) 571-1140.

Democrats For Public Education Op-Ed: It's All About the Children

Time and again, we hear this refrain from everyone who ever talks about education, from every angle. It's been the purported basis of speeches, documentaries and now lawsuits. But how can it be all about the children when you have some - under the guise of "education reform" - undermining America's public schools?

As kids across the country go back to school, it's time to get back to the basic values that bind us together. As one of the chairs of a new organization called Democrats for Public Education, I'm part of a group focused on just that - supporting public education. We believe in instilling critical thinking skills needed for 21st-century jobs and the new economy. We support superior standards and finding ways to make classrooms challenging and rewarding for both teachers and students. And we're committed to a level playing field for all with well-resourced schools responsive to the needs of our communities.

As a proud graduate of Louisiana's public schools, I know the importance of a good public education. I know just how tough it is to make something of yourself when you start off with little or nothing. Right now, a galling 22 percent of children in America - the richest country in history - live in poverty, and nearly half come from low-income families struggling to meet basic needs. The only way we can break cycles of poverty, while revitalizing and growing our middle-class, is to support our public schools. Frankly, it's the way we can provide a springboard for the working poor and preserve our American values.

Education is not a business. Students aren't robots, and they shouldn't be treated like assembly line workers at the test prep factory. Attempts to move our classrooms toward an unregulated, survival-of-the-fittest, business-first mentality ignores the purpose of education. Indeed, the very premise of "market-driven education reform" rests on a lie. It's an outright fallacy that our public school system is in crisis and that the only solution is to let the market pick winners and losers. Our kids are not losers! We must measure success not by how children score on a narrow standardized test, but by how they deal with the varied tests of life.

Tests don't inspire learning. Teachers and parents do. We should be championing educators as heroes. They're the ones dedicating their lives to shaping young minds. They're the ones in the classroom day in and day out. So when education professionals with decades of first-hand experience give constructive criticism, we should listen with open ears and an open mind. Simply put, they're the ones who know best.

Here's what dedicated parents and seasoned educators all across the country see: stalled reform efforts, poor implementation of programs and nervous students spending 30 percent of their school year on test preparation. By speaking out about this troubling pattern, teachers are exemplifying what it truly means to be answerable to and responsible for the well-being of children.

Teachers aren't afraid of real accountability. But the accountability of a teacher - or the achievement of a student - cannot and should never be boiled down to a few test scores per year. Further, it's doubly unfair to judge teachers on student performance, when the performance itself is being judged by an imperfect, dubious standard. According to a PDK/Gallup poll, three in four Americans believe the previous decade's obsession with standardized testing either had no effect or even hurt our schools. It's no surprise that nearly 60 percent say they don't support using test scores to evaluate teachers.

No one benefits when "education experts" - many with only a couple years in the classroom and some with none at all - tell teachers that their expertise doesn't matter and they don't have the best interests of children at heart. When you peel back the onion, it's clear these well-orchestrated attacks are coming from nothing more than a few well-funded, vocal groups intent on cherry-picking statistics and warping facts.

Public schools aren't just a cornerstone of our society, they're also critical democratic institutions. And every child deserves a chance. The assault on public education is an attack on the principles of democracy and the foundation of our country. The "I-Me-Mine" philosophy that drives Wall Street, the corporatists and would-be oligarchs and their political minions doesn't belong in the classroom.

Enough is enough. It's time we collectively push back against efforts to undermine America's education system, our teachers and the kids themselves. That's why, as classrooms start filling up again here at the end of summer, I'm proud to be part of an effort to help Democrats for Public Education get off the ground. It's time to lift up public education and remind everyone that this truly is about our children. The way to do that is by working together in every community to ensure our public schools endure - and thrive - for generations to come.