As Election Day Approaches, Environment New Jersey Releases Gubernatorial, Legislative & Mayoral Race Endorsements
Trenton – Environment New Jersey today announced its full slate of endorsements for the gubernatorial race, state legislative elections, two mayoral races this year and Ballot Question 2, as it prepares to launch a get out the vote and voter education push state-wide and in key legislative races leading up to Election Day on Tuesday, November 7.
Environment New Jersey, on behalf of their more than 20,000 dues-paying citizen members, announced an endorsement of Phil Murphy, the former Ambassador to Germany, in the gubernatorial race, as well as a set of legislative endorsements for legislative champions in districts ranging from Paramus to Pomona and two of the state’s defining cities.
“New Jersey needs a governor who will reflect the environmental values of our state, understands the urgency to reverse the damage of the Christie era and a plan to make New Jersey once again a national environmental leader on climate and clean energy policy,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “Phil Murphy’s environmental plans and commitments make him the clear choice for voters this fall. We need a governor who works to protect our air and water and fights to tackle climate change and builds a clean energy economy that doesn’t sacrifice our natural lands. We are proud to endorse Phil Murphy to ensure we protect New Jersey’s natural treasures.”
Receiving the group’s endorsements are 14 State Assembly and Senate legislative champions spanning seven legislative districts across the state. The organization endorsed four State Senators with a record of marked environmental leadership, including Senator Bob Gordon (D-38), Senator Kip Bateman (R-16), Senator Linda Greenstein (D-14), and Senator Colin Bell (D-2). The organization also endorsed the Senate candidacy of Vin Gopal, the Democratic challenger in the 11th District, because of his environmental commitments and platform.
The organization endorsed 10 sitting Assembly members with a record of marked environmental leadership or working in their communities to address environmental threats. They include Asm. Tim Eustace (D-38), chair of the Assembly Environment Committee, Asm. John McKeon (D-27), vice-chair of the Assembly Environment Committee, Asw. Mila Jasey (D-27), Asm. Andrew Zwicker (D-16), Asm. Reed Gusciora (D-15), Asw. Liz Muoio (D-15), Asm. Dan Benson (D-14), Asm. Rob Clifton (R-12), Asm. Ron Dancer (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 Gov. Christie and their own party leaders. Although they face spirited challenges, they have not shied away from standing up for clean air and water, open spaces and clean energy. We need their continued leadership more than ever because we need legislators who will side with the public over the polluters.”
In the last two years, these leaders have advanced environmental protections and fought rollbacks by Gov. Christie to pollution-busting programs, including the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. They have stood up against Christie Administration rollbacks to the Highlands, our waterways and raids to environmental settlements.
“We urge voters who care about the environment not to sit this election out,” said O’Malley. “Environmentally-minded voters state-wide and in key districts should know how critical their vote is this year and why these legislators should be re-elected to stand up for our air and water. This year, your vote will count – stand up for the environment inside the voting booth.”
Environment New Jersey also endorsed two candidates for mayoral races at opposite ends of the state – Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian – based on their local advocacy for environmental protections and clean energy and their willingness to oppose environmental policies by the Christie Administration that impacted their communities.
Voters will also face a choice with Ballot Question 2 to constitutionally dedicate funds from environmental settlements to environmental clean-ups to ensure funds aren’t raided by the state. Ballot Question 2 is strongly supported by Environment New Jersey.
“Every election is important for the environment, but especially an election that will decide who sits in Drumthacket and every seat in the New Jersey Legislature. 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.”
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 Senate Endorsed Candidates Background
Senator Bob Gordon (D-38) is a long-time environmental and transit champion. He was the prime sponsor of the fracking waste ban bill. He was a cosponsor of a bill to set strict pollution limits for Barnegat Bay and has advocated for New Jersey to re-enter the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to reduce carbon pollution from fossil fuel power plants. He has championed efforts to get full funding for NJ Transit, to fight against the fare hikes for transit riders, push for more transparency at the Port Authority and a modern Port Authority Bus Terminal for New Jersey bus riders.
Senator Kip Bateman (R-16) is an environmentally-conscious legislator who has proven himself willing to represent his Central Jersey district’s support of the environment. As a long-time member of the Senate Environment Committee, he has supported legislation to protect open space, Barnegat Bay, and water quality, and expand clean, renewable energy by 80% by 2050. He was the prime cosponsor of the legislation to ban fracking waste. Most notably, he has been willing to buck his party and Gov. Christie, from rollbacks of water quality standards to the long fight to put New Jersey back into the RGGI program, to stand up for the environment.
Senator Linda Greenstein (D-14) is a long-time vice-chair of the Senate Environment Committee. She was a cosponsor of the fracking waste ban bill and she has also supported legislation to expand the state’s renewable energy standard to 80 percent and set a mandatory statewide policy to cut energy demand by 20 percent. Sen. Greenstein has consistently opposed bills that would weaken environmental standards and has one of the most consistent pro-environmental voting records in the Legislature.
Sen. Colin Bell (D-2) is the newly inaugurated State Senator for the 2ndLegislative District, taking over the legacy of Sen. Jim Whelan, who passed away suddenly late this summer. Sen. Bell has been very strong on off-shore wind, and his public statements and voting record from the Atlantic County Board of Freeholders shows a clear focus on environmental concerns impacting South Jersey and he’s strongly supportive of clean, renewable energy and expanding open space preservation. He has expressed his strong opposition to the Christie Administration record of environmental rollbacks and will be a strong, principled voice for the environment in Trenton.
Vin Gopal, Democratic Senate Challenger in the 11th District, is one of the first challengers that Environment New Jersey has endorsed on the legislative level. Sen. Beck’s voting record has increasingly mirrored Gov. Christie’s record during her last term, and she has been unwilling to challenge the Governor on any environmental issue. Most notably, she has continued to support efforts to repeal the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), even as the Governor’s approval ratings dipped. Vin Gopal has publicly expressed support for a key set of Environment New Jersey priorities, from rejoining the Paris Climate accords and RGGI to expanding clean energy like solar and off-shore wind, to opposing the Trump EPA budget cuts and standing up to the Trump Adminstration's environmental rollbacks.
State Assembly Endorsed Candidates Background
Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-38) is the Chairman of the Assembly Environmental Committee. As a legislator, he has proven his green credentials, has championed electric car charging infrastructure (as well as being a Nissan Leaf driver), has opposed Christie Administration rollbacks to our flood plains and waterways, and advocated for clean energy programs, including promoting off-shore wind, community solar, smart meters and energy efficiency. He also has strongly supported efforts to ban fracking waste from being dumped in New Jersey’s waterways, and opposed the fare hikes at NJ Transit, as well as championed efforts to test New Jersey schools for lead contamination and fund lead remediation, work to create publicly available emergency plans for potential oil train disasters and work to oppose the Pilgrim Pipeline.
Assemblyman John McKeon (D-27) is the Vice-Chair of the Assembly Environment Committee and was a prime sponsor for a package of bills to protect Barnegat Bay, most notably legislation to set strict pollution limits for the Bay which was vetoed by Gov. Christie. The Assemblyman was the leading prime sponsor of legislation to defend the RGGI program by overriding the Christie Administration’s regulation pulling the state out of the program governing RGGI. He was a prime sponsor of a groundbreaking bill that establishes financing for wind energy off the Jersey Shore and is a supporter of legislation to expand the state’s renewable energy mandates and set 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 Christie Administration 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.
Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-27) has consistently opposed environmental deregulation bills and efforts to weaken protections for the Highland and buffer areas around our waterways. She was a prime sponsor along with Assemblyman McKeon of a bill to set strict pollution limits to clean up Barnegat Bay. She also co-sponsored legislation to defend the RGGI program and has been a staunch ally through her years in the Legislature, and has been willing to stand up to party leadership to oppose bills allowing developers to sidestep environmental protections.
Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-16) is the proud heir to the environmental tradition of Mercer County Congressman Rush Holt – an environmental and scientific leader. Donning a lab coat for his quirky TV ad, he touts the benefits of investments in clean 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, expand clean energy, drinking water standards or the ecological impact of the nearby PennEast pipeline. He has quickly become of the Legislature’s top environmental leaders.
Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-15) is a former chair of the Assembly Environment Committee and the Assemblyman was the original champion and sponsor on Clean Cars legislation more than a decade ago. He is one of the most progressive voices in Trenton on the environment and other causes. He was the lead sponsor on legislation to ban fracking waste from being dumped into our waterways, and has strongly opposed the proposed PennEast fracked gas pipeline from tearing an ecological scar through Mercer County.
Assemblywoman Liz Muoio (D-15) has had a sterling environmental record, has been a key ally of the environmental community. She has been the lead sponsor and strongest ally on working to force the state to conduct testing and remediate for lead contamination in school drinking water outlets, as well fight for full funding for lead remediation. She has been an outspoken champion opposing the PennEast fracked gas pipeline, advocated to reduce carbon and air pollution from our cars and trucks, and fought against the latest round of fare hikes for NJ Transit straphangers.
Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-14) has been a key supporter in our efforts to ban fracking waste, which have twice been thwarted by Gov. Christie vetoes. He also has been a cosponsor of legislation to save the RGGI program that the Legislature passed before being vetoed by Gov. Christie. Asm. Benson has a sterling environmental record, especially on clean energy because of his professional background on energy efficiency, has opposed attempts to weaken environmental rules at the behest of developers and stood up against Christie Administration rollbacks to our flood plains and buffer zones around our waterways.
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 most notably, 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 New Jersey Gas Pipeline in his district by working on legislation focused on pipeline safety and siting, adequate notice and reduced takings. The Assemblyman also bucked the Christie Administration by supporting the environmental remediation ballot question and opposed a rollback on watershed lands.
Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-12) is a veteran legislator who works to represent the environment, has been willing to buck the party line on key environmental votes and most notably, 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 New Jersey Gas Pipeline in his district by working on legislation focused on pipeline safety and siting, adequate notice and reduced takings. The Assemblyman also bucked the Christie Administration by supporting the environmental remediation ballot question.
Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-2) has been a consistent vote to protect the environment, who has made his mark during his two terms on green initiatives, specifically his championing of off-shore wind projects off the Jersey Shore. Over the last two years, he has been an incredibly strong advocate for off-shore wind, and has introduced multiple bills to jumpstart off-shore wind off the coast of Atlantic City and championed the lone proposed New Jersey wind project in state waters (Fishermens’ Energy). He also has advocated against off-shore drilling off the Atlantic seaboard, and supported clean energy and preservation measures.
Endorsed Municipal Candidates Background
Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian (R) is a first-term mayor in Atlantic City who has focused his term on bringing back Atlantic City’s economy. As part of his platform, he has strongly supported off-shore wind off the coast of Atlantic City, including the beleaguered Fishermens’ Energy project. Despite the opposition of Gov. Christie, Mayor Guardian was a vocal and public supporter for both off-shore wind and for the Fishermens’ Energy project, including joining a preliminary ground-breaking public event in December 2015 in Atlantic City.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop (D) is a first time mayor in Jersey City, who has positioned himself as an environmental leader running the state’s second largest city. Fulop has established himself a climate leader post-Hurricane Sandy and he was the first mayor in the state to sign a pledge to drastically cut the city’s energy produced from fossil fuels and undertook a greenhouse gas audit. Fulop has been willing to stand up for transit riders, whether it was challenging decisions by the Port Authority to impact PATH service or the Christie Administration’s hikes for transit riders. Mayor Fulop supported the closing of the Hudson Generating Station coal plant (located along the Hackensack River) which finally retired this June. He vigorously challenged efforts by the Christie Administration to privatize Liberty State Park, one of the most popular state parks in the state with gorgeous views of the Statue of Liberty. Recently, Mayor Fulop announced that he wants to work to install more electric vehicle charging stations in the city, as well as transition municipal vehicles over to an electric fleet.
Ballot Question 2: Constitutional Amendment Dedicating Money from State Environmental Contamination Cases to Environmental Clean-Ups
Based on the legacy of environmental settlement raids by the Christie Administration, which top close to $500 million during his Administration and still could increase, the Legislature passed by a bipartisan supermajority a constitutional amendment to dedicate all funds from environmental settlements for environmental remediation – not to be siphoned off to plug state budget holes. Current litigation against New Jersey’s pittance of an Exxon settlement is partially based on the concern the administration would have raided the settlement. This ballot measure will remove that temptation for any future administration, and deserves public support.
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.