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As Election Day Approaches, Environment New Jersey Releases Full Slate of State Assembly Endorsements

For Immediate Release

Trenton – Environment New Jersey today released its full slate of endorsements for the Assembly legislative races, as it prepares to mobilize a get out the vote and voter education push for its green membership in key legislative districts leading up to Election Day on Tuesday, November 5. 

Environment New Jersey, on behalf of their more than 20,000 dues-paying citizen members, released its full slate of legislative Assembly endorsements. Receiving the group’s endorsements are seven Assembly legislative leaders and two legislative challengers spanning nine legislative districts across the state.

The organization endorsed seven sitting Assembly members with a record of marked environmental leadership or working in their communities to address environmental threats. They include Asw. Lisa Swain (D-38), Assembly Environment Committee member, Asm. John McKeon (D-27), Assembly Environment Committee member, Asw. Nancy Pinkin (D-18), Chair of the Assembly Environment Committee, Asm. Andrew Zwicker (D-16), Chair of the Science, Innovation & Technology Committee, Asm. Dan Benson (D-14), Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee, Asm. Rob Clifton (R-12) and Asm. Vince Mazzeo (D-2).  These legislators range in experience from freshman legislators to grizzled Trenton veterans. But they are united in their desire to protect the environment, protect their local communities from environmental hazards, including pipeline projects, and are willing to stand up to special interests in Trenton.

“These leaders are environmental champions in the Legislature,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “They have fought for the environment and haven’t been afraid to stand up to polluting interests to push a green agenda in the State Assembly. Although they face spirited challenges, they have not shied away from standing up for clean air and water, open spaces and clean, renewable energy. We need their continued leadership more than ever because we need legislators who will side with the public over the polluters.”

We will need strong legislative leaders to advocate for stronger environmental protections. This legislative term, our endorsed legislative leaders have advocated for bans on single-use plastics, including plastic bags and polystyrene, and establishing the largest network of electric vehicle charging stations on the East Coast to jumpstart electric vehicles in New Jersey, as well as legislation to expand testing, notification and replacement of lead service lines for schools and homes across the state suffering from lead contamination in their drinking water.

The organization is also endorsing two Assembly challengers in the 25th and 26th Legislative District races, Dr. Lisa Bhimani (D) and Christine Clarke (D) respectively. They both have shown a true commitment to fighting for public health and the environment and are looking to unseat incumbents who have clearly anti-environmental voting records.

“We urge voters who care about the environment not to sit this election out,” said O’Malley. “Environmentally-minded voters in key districts should know how critical their vote is this year and why these legislators should be elected to stand up for our air and water. This year, your vote will count – stand up for the environment inside the voting booth.”

“Every election is important for the environment, but especially an election that will decide every seat in the State Assembly. This is an on-year election for the environment, and we’re going to work to ensure our supporters vote their environmental values,” said O’Malley. “We want to send a clear message to our supporters and the public that their vote matters on the environment and these environmental champions deserve your vote.”

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Environment New Jersey is a project of Environment America, Inc., a citizen-based environmental advocacy group with offices in New Brunswick and Trenton.  Environment New Jersey represents more than 20,000 dues-paying members across New Jersey.

 

State Assembly Endorsed Candidates Background

Assemblywoman Lisa Swain (D-38) is a member of the Assembly Environment Committee and a first-term legislator who quickly established herself as a key environmental voice, advocating for full testing and notification of lead contamination in homes and school water supply, as well as replacement of lead service lines by utilities. She has also advocated for testing for PFOS family of chemicals in plastics, a full ban of asbestos products, the electrification of transit buses, measuring the full impact of methane pollution (the most potent greenhouse gas) and advocating for a bottle bill for container deposits. She is a clear voice for the environment.

Assemblyman John McKeon (D-27) is a long-time environmental champion and Assembly Environment Committee member. He has been a prime sponsor for legislation to ban single use plastic bags, polystyrene containers and single-use plastic straws. He has been a long-time advocate to protect Barnegat Bay and a lead supporter of the successful legislative efforts to give towns and counties the authority to create stormwater utilities to tackle run-off water pollution. He was a prime sponsor of a groundbreaking bill that establishes financing for offshore wind energy off the Jersey Shore and supports a mandatory state policy that would cut energy demand by 20%. The Assemblyman has consistently worked against and voted against bills that would weaken environmental protections, including previous efforts to weaken the Highlands Act, flood plains protections and our waterways, as well as legislation to allow NJDEP to make substantial changes without taking public comment and efforts to expedite development projects without environmental reviews. He has been one of the most consistent and reliable voices for environmental protection in the Assembly.

Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin (D-18) is the Chair of the Assembly Environment Committee, and has strongly advocated as the lead prime sponsor for the passage of the full ban on single-use plastic, including polystyrene, plastic bags and plastic straws (A4330) and the electrification bill to jumpstart electric vehicles and rapidly expand electric charging stations across the state (A4819). She has a public health background and makes the direct connection between public health, climate change and increased environmental protections. She has been a steadfast voice opposing the Trump Administration rollbacks to the environment and advocated for state solutions, from clean drinking water to renewable energy. She is a clear environmental leader in the State Assembly.

Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-16) is the Chair of the Science, Innovation and Technology Committee and is the proud heir to the environmental tradition of Mercer County Congressman Rush Holt and serves as an environmental and scientific leader. Donning a lab coat in previous ads, he touts the benefits of investments in clean, renewable energy. Asm. Zwicker has been a huge supporter of guiding state environmental decisions based on science – whether it be supporting legislation to tackle climate change and curb methane pollution, expand clean, renewable energy, drinking water standards or the ecological impact of the proposed PennEast gas pipeline. He has quickly become one of the Legislature’s top environmental leaders.                           

Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-14), as Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee, has been a critical leader in advocating for the expansion of electric vehicles and EV charging infrastructure across the state as a prime sponsor of A4819. Asm. Benson has a sterling environmental record, especially on clean, renewable energy because of his professional background in energy efficiency, and has been a consistent advocate for NJ Transit straphangers, as well as advocating for stronger protections for our drinking water, including stricter oversight of Trenton Waterworks. He has consistently been a powerful and thoughtful voice for environmental protection in the Assembly.

Assemblyman Rob Clifton (R-12) is a seasoned legislator who works to represent the environment with his voting record, has been willing to buck the party line on key environmental votes and he has worked to try to fix the clear deficiencies with the environmental and public safety impacts of gas pipelines in the state, most notably the Southern Reliability Link (SRL) in his district, by working on legislation focused on pipeline safety and siting, adequate notice and reduced takings. The Assemblyman has supported clean, renewable energy initiatives, open space preservation and efforts to fight climate change by reducing carbon pollution.

Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-2) has been a consistent vote to protect the environment, who has made his mark during his three terms on green initiatives, specifically his championing of offshore wind projects off the Jersey Shore. Over the last two years, he has been an incredibly strong advocate for offshore wind and the proposed Orsted Ocean Wind project off Atlantic City and has introduced multiple bills to jumpstart offshore wind to fight climate change. He also has advocated against offshore drilling off the Atlantic seaboard, and supported clean, renewable energy and preservation measures.

Dr. Lisa Bhimani is a Democratic Assembly candidate in the 25th Legislative District. She is a physician and Mendham resident who has practiced at Overlook Hospital in Summit. She has worked at EPA and expressed strong support for the connections between public health and the environment, including the impacts of climate change, air quality and lead contamination in homes and schools. The incumbent in the district, Asm. Anthony Bucco (R-25), has a long Trenton voting record that is marked by a clear opposition to environmental protections that puts him at odd with many in his own caucus.

Christine Clarke is an environmental activist and a Democratic candidate in the 26th Legislative District. She is a member of the Jersey Renews Steering Committee, the New Jersey March for Science and a former Environmental Director for Action Together New Jersey and a proud mother of four who has forcefully campaigned for a 100% clean, renewable energy future to stave off the climate crisis. The incumbent in the district, Asm. Jay Webber (R-26), has a clear anti-environmental voting record and is often among a handful of votes against environmental protections in the Assembly.

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Paid for by Environment New Jersey, a project of Environment America, Inc., 104 Bayard Street, 6th Floor, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. This expenditure was not made with the cooperation or prior consent of, or in consultation with, or at the request or suggestion of, any candidate, or person or committee acting on behalf of the candidate.