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.


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