Friday, April 25, 2008

Andrews and Lautenberg: A Tale of Two Campaigns

Thus far in the N.J. U.S. Democratic senate campaign, Congressman Rob Andrews has repeatedly put himself in the public eye and is now going to be hosting a series of town forums across the state, according to the Press of Atlantic City. Andrews has also challenged incumbent Frank Lautenberg to a series of debates, yet Lautenberg has yet to accept any of them; in fact, The Star-Ledger has reported that Lautenberg may not accept any public debates because of concerns over the senator's age and his poor speaking abilities.

The N.J. senate race thus far has been one where Andrews has constantly put himself up for scrutiny in the public eye -- what democratic debate should entail -- while Lautenberg has refused public appearances and has merely posted negative press releases on Andrews and had surrogates to the actual work for him. Talk about a contrast.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Rob Andrews for U.S. Senate

A week ago, my congressman, Rob Andrews, shook up the Democratic establishment in N.J. by openly rebelling and challenging Frank Lautenberg for the Democratic nomination for U.S. senate. This was a courageous, and even possibly necessary, move, since the process of annointment and coronation was too exclusive and anti-democratic in the first place. Hence, part of my enthusiasm for Andrews bid, besides the fact that New Jersey hasn't had a U.S. senator from South Jersey for something like 50-odd years, is that his bid represents a stark change from politics-as-usual in the Democratic hierarchy; just today, for example, Andrews traveled to Newark and presented his policies and platform to groups there, while Lautenberg has seemingly viewed this process as a coronation.

Andrews' legislation has been marked by stellar environmental accomplishments, social liberalism on gay rights and a woman's right to choose, and pro-worker, pro-veteran legislation. I distinctly remember Andrews' brave resistance to Gov. Rendell's ill-conceived Delaware River dredging plan, as well as how he successfully used government regulations to keep a deadly nerve agent from being dumped in the river; this and other legislation helped earn Andrews a 100% rating from the League of Conservation Voters. A bill he co-sponsored, H.R. 251, helps small businesses avoid an additional tax; other bills ensure that military personnel can keep their private insurance while serving, as well as Andrews' backing in the recent environmentally-sound energy bill.

Andrews is a talented congressman, one who is accessible and has been called "brilliant" by those who know him best. Andrews' policy knowledge makes him a more attractive candidate than Lautenberg, since Andrews can bring a broad sense of legislative nuances to his understanding of bills -- and what they need to get passed This type of window of opportunity for New Jersey Democrats doesn't happen too often, and I fully and enthusiastically endorse Congressman Andrews for Sen. Lautenberg's current seat.