Saturday, October 28, 2006

Tom Kean Jr.'s Problem with Civil Rights

It seems that Tom Kean Jr. has no problem with being surrounded by those with questionable backgrounds when it comes to racial slurs, and he has a spotty record in the state legislature when it comes to civil rights to boot.

In this morning's 'Courier Post,' Gregory Volpe states that "U.S. Senate candidate Thomas H. Kean Jr. employed on the state's dime a former state Department of Labor employee who had used the racial slur "wetback" during a meeting in front of several state employees." The Kean Jr. employee, Harry Pappas, states that Kean Jr. knew that he was being sued for using a racial slur but that Kean Jr. kept him on the campaign anyway.

This is part of a larger problem, arguably, with Tom Kean Jr.: He has a record of going against basic human civil rights and legislation that would protect the disenfranchised. When Bob Menendez gained the endorsement of an influential group of black ministers in the state, an unsavory moment in Kean Jr's voting record came to light as part of the black ministers' oppostion to Kean Jr.'s candidacy. According to Tom Hester, writing in 'Newsday,' "As an assemblyman in 2002, Kean voted against an early version of a state bill to ban racial profiling." Racial profiling is a major problem in this state and our country, but Kean Jr. obviously doesn't share such concerns for African Americans targeted for no other reason than their skin color.

Combine these two revelations with recent remarks and legislation concerning equality for gay and lesbians -- Kean Jr. wants to write discrimination into the state constitution, and he voted against a bare minimum domestic parternship law in the state senate --, and we have a senate candidate with a problem: Judging from his record and hiring practices, Tom Kean Jr. doesn't support civil rights.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Kean Jr. won't sign petition for clean election

Tom Kean Jr. is long on rhetoric but short on substance, judging from his smear campaign but empty platform in his 2006 senate campaign. Kean Jr. says he is a champion of clean elections and public accountability, but he refuses to sign the Voters First Pledge from the Public Campaign Action Fund that would a) make elections fair through having public funds b) restrict gifts from lobbyists and other interest groups and c) restore accountability by making all lobbyist contributions public knowledge on the internet.

Bob Menendez, who has been the magnet for Kean Jr.'s attacks, has already signed the petition, so one wonders what is holding Kean Jr. back from signing it. Perhaps it is his close-knit relationship with lobbyists, the oil industry, and special interest groups.