Friday, February 19, 2010

Shannon Wright Launches Campaign Against Frank Pallone (NJ-6)

February 15, 2010 – Plainfield, NJ – Community leader Shannon Wright officially launched her campaign for New Jersey’s 6thCongressional District with a tour of the district.

Prior to her first visit of the day, Wright commented, “Today we begin a journey to correct the damage the establishment in Congress has caused us over the last several years. We sent our Representatives to do our work, but instead they decided to do the work of PACs, lobbyists, and the extremists that have taken over government”.

Wright concluded her brief remarks by saying, “Before we can solve healthcare, a broken economy, runaway spending, urban renewal, and education, we must change Washington. Change is not just a Democrat or Republican theme; it’s the theme of the thousands of people in the 6th Congressional District who have misrepresented for far to long.”

Campaign Advisor Corey Maness, stated, “We will be running a strong campaign against the record of Frank Pallone, Nancy Pelosi, and many others.”

Shannon’s experience enables her to best fight for more and better paying jobs, a more robust economy, a stronger health care system, and community-oriented solutions to our country’s most pressing problem such as education, crime, and the environment.

Born in White Plains, New York, Shannon moved to East Orange, New Jersey at age five. After graduating from high school in Berkeley Heights, Shannon went on to attend Virginia State University for a Bachelor’s Degree in business communication and economics. Shannon continued her education at New York University earning a certification in Peer Assistance Mediation and is currently working on a certification in Public Policy.

After pursuing a career in retail, Shannon decided to turn her focus to working in her community. Since making this commitment, Shannon has been a community leader, civic organizer, and passionate advocate for those who are in most need of it. In 1999, Shannon and her husband, Michael Wright, founded Signature Solutions a strategic planning and advocacy firm. Some of the many organizations she has assisted are Summit Child Care, American Diabetes Association, Consolidated Finance, Thruway Insurance, and the Grace and Mercy World Outreach.

Shannon also had the opportunity to serve as 1st Vice President of The Yonkers New York Branch NAACP in January 2002. During her tenure she was one of the lead negotiators for a landmark housing and education desegregation case against the Board of Education and the City of Yonkers, N.Y. The case ended with a $300 million dollar settlement with proceeds going to helping the many disaffected citizens of Yonkers.

In 2004, Shannon was ordained Reverend of the church and made her radio debut on WKMB 1070 AM Know Your Community with former Plainfield Mayor Rev. Richard L. Taylor. On this show, Shannon provides timely information for the community.

Since September 2006, Pastor Wright has served as the Youth Commissioner for the city of Plainfield. This sparked her keen interest in local politics and has since worked on various local, state, and national campaigns. She was an active supporter of Governor Chris Christie, but has shown an ability to work with both parties. She even considered running for governor in 2009, before deciding to support Governor Christie.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Frank Pallone's Retirement Party

On Feb 12th, I joined the Bayshore Tea Party and Jersey Shore Tea Party for a symbolic protest and Congressman Frank Pallone's (NJ-6) office in Long Branch. Despite the heavy snow, the cold, and it being a business day, about 30 people gathered. It was very peaceful, with people holding signs and flags, while most passing cars were honking and giving us thumbs up (only a couple of them yelled profanities at us).

Pallone's staff was very polite and curteous. They welcomed us into the office, and we even got a private tour of the historic building. Only thing I didn't understand is why they needed 7 paid staffers (paid by us, the taxpayers) slacking around, and I assume he has the same staff at each of his offices.

Frank Pallone lately pretends not to hear what his constituents are saying

Upstairs in front of Frankie's office. The "tour guide" on the right was freaking out about having her picture taken because she was afraid it would show up on some conservative website.

Staffers at work

The theme of this protest was giving Frankie a pink slip, after 22 years of supporting the most left-wing policies in Congress. His stance is becoming increasingly unpopular in his gerrymandered district, and Chris Christie easily won the 6th district last November. The climax of the rally was bringing a pink cake into the office. The staff was very amused by this, initially they said they love cake, but then they realized how embarrassing this would be and tried to convince us to leave. We had paper plates, knives, forks, very well prepared, but they didn't know how to hide the cake any faster and prevent us from taking pictures. I have to stress how friendly this was. We were outnumbering them by at least 3 to 1, and we were all laughing. They said they're not allowed to receive free gifts, we said we can bill them for it, and eventually left.

The pink slip delivered in the downstairs office

The celebratory cake

We still ate the cake at a tailgating party, and it was pretty good. It's funny that the parking lot was across from a funeral home, and the owner came to tell us that people can't come out of a wake to see us eating cake. Not sure if there's regulation in NJ against eating cake in front of a funeral home, but the guy called the cops, which probably arrived after we were done.

Two candidates were present there. One was David Corsi, who's running in the 12th district against Rush Holt, and the other was Fabrizio Bivona, a 9/11 first responder who just announced his intentions of challenging Frank Pallone. Also to be noted, I was interviewed by an Asbury Park Press reporter. She asked my opinion about the healthcare bill and she was trying to argue with me what it is good for us. I thought reporters are supposed to "report", not spread the message.

Candidate David Corsi with our own Barbara G

Pallone said last summer at a town hall that Nancy Pelosi is one of his favorite people in Washington

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mike Halfacre on Health Care

By Mike Halfacre

With the election of Republican Scott Brown to the Senate from the bluest of blue states- Massachusetts- the healthcare debate will change in Washington DC. Brown specifically campaigned as the 41st vote against the healthcare bill being considered in the Senate and the voters of Massachusetts elected him.
More than that, Brown’s election became a rallying point for people all over the United States who saw his election as a way to tell Washington that they weren’t buying what Congressional Democrats were selling on healthcare legislation. Money and manpower poured into the Brown campaign in the closing weeks of the election from all over the country. The message from voters to Congress is now clear: ignore us at your peril in 2010.

The President and Congressional leaders should take this opportunity to refocus the healthcare debate. There is an old saying: you don’t kill a fly with a sledgehammer. Clearly there are reforms which should be made to the healthcare system; the question is whether to take a market based approach or a one-size-fits-all, centrally planned government approach. I would argue forcefully for the former, and it seems as though the majority of Americans who say they oppose the current healthcare bill agree.

The United States has a health insurance problem, moreso than a healthcare problem. In most cases, the employer owns the insurance policy, and patients are completely disconnected from the actual cost of their healthcare. Would you give your credit card to someone you didn’t know and ask them to go food shopping for you- and not ask to see the receipt? Of course not. They’d have no incentive to shop for a good deal and might even buy things you didn’t want.

Yet this is exactly what happens every day in healthcare: you pay your $20 co-pay with no idea of what you’re paying for. It only costs you 20 bucks, so you don’t object, and your doctor knows that more than likely he’ll be paid for whatever procedures or tests he performs. Neither patient nor medical provider has proper incentives to increase healthcare quality and/or decrease its costs.

Your policy also covers a whole host of things that you may not want or need, yet you are forced to pay for them. If your cable TV company told you that in order to subscribe you had to pay for HBO, Cinemax, and Starz, whether you wanted to or not, you’d think they were crazy.
True health insurance reform requires implementing a “patient-centered” approach which will give the proper incentives, responsibilities and choices to both patient and healthcare provider.

We can do this in the following ways:

1) Encourage individual ownership of insurance policies-The current tax rules that allow employers to own our insurance and receive the tax benefit for it, should instead provide those deductions to individuals. Businesses would then be free to pay a large portion of the money they save on an employee’s healthcare back to the employee in salary or other benefits of equal value.

2) Encourage Health Savings Accounts- These accounts empower individuals to monitor their health care costs and create incentives for individuals to use only those services that are necessary.

3) Allow interstate purchasing of insurance. Some states have more affordable health insurance because they have fewer bells and whistles. Consumers should be able to decide which benefits they need and what prices they are willing to pay.

4) Reduce the number of mandated benefits that insurers are required to cover- Let consumers choose and price their own benefits. This also will increase individual responsibility and “connectedness” to their healthcare.

5) Reallocate the majority of Medicaid spending into simple vouchers for low-income individuals to purchase their own insurance- An income based voucher program would eliminate the massive bureaucracy needed to sustain the current, soon to be bankrupt (within 10 years) Medicaid system.

I believe these 5 policy recommendations would unleash the power of the free market on our healthcare system and dramatically drive down the costs of health insurance. Those reduced costs would then make it more attractive to younger people, many of whom currently find the cost of health insurance prohibitive, to buy insurance. Enlarging of the risk pool with younger (read: healthier) people would spread costs over a larger base, thereby further lowering healthcare costs. For once we could see a spiral downward in healthcare costs instead of upward, and it would be done through free market incentives, rather than the government trampling our rights by forcing us to buy health insurance- or else.

Whether through polls or recent elections, the American people have consistently and clearly shown they want Congress to re-think their approach on healthcare reform. Ignore them at your peril.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Jersey Shore Tea Party Hosts Congressional Candidates

Tonight I attended a Jersey Shore Tea Party meeting in Ocean Twp which had a few important guests: Steve Lonegan, Mike Halfacre, Scott Sipprelle and Alan Bateman. I'll keep this short, as the event wasn't as explosive as some people might have expected.

Steve Lonegan was the first speaker, talking about the importance of winning several Congress seats in New Jersey, in order to stop Obama's socialist agenda. He also touched state issues, mainly the Senate bill #1, which is supposed to abolish COAH. Introduced by Dem. Senator Ray Lesniak, this bill will replace COAH with something much bigger and much worse ("COAH on steroids", as he called it).

And then, the Rush Holt opponents in the 12th District spoke. It was not a debate, just a speech by each candidate, followed by a brief Q&A. Mike Halfacre went first and after a short bio portion he spoke against Government spending, in favor of less Government and strong national defense, against Rush Holt's record and so on. There were no hard questions (except a few weird ones), and Mike handled them all very well. He didn't say anything about his primary opponent, and neither did Sipprelle, which was very polite of both of them.

Scott Sipprelle also told his life story, repeatedly presenting himself as a representative of the middle class (well, probably Wall St middle class, as his wealth approaches $100 mil). He explained his Wall St background as something not as negative as many would think it is, and I agree with him, I don't like the continual vilifying of the banking and investment industry. Scott presented himself as the opposite of Rush Holt in all the economic issues. His main points were about reducing spending, including withdrawing our troops from all our fronts. In the Q&A section, he again refused to answer John Menella's question about his donations to Chuck Schumer. Scott acknowledged that it's the third time he gets that question, and he dodged it for the third time. He also blamed the blogs who keep bringing up the issue (thanks for the shout-out, Scotty!). He also quoted Rush Holt's claim that "America is a rich country because of Government spending", and so far this has only been mentioned on this blog as well as in my letters to the editor. Glad to have him as a reader. Sipprelle also made it clear that he's not pro-life, he just wants less abortions. He said that abortions are caused by economic conditions, and he'll fix that by improving the economy.

It was quite a big crowd, and besides the usual tea partiers there were a lot of Monmouth GOP people that have never attended a tea party meeting. It was the result of a successful phone offensive by Sipprelle's campaign who kept calling municipal chairmen around the county asking for support at tonight's meeting (he was probably afraid of the tea party "nuts", as he knows he doesn't fit their mold - details in his recent interview; no word yet on the size of the checks he sent them).

Alan Bateman (whose editorial we published earlier today) also spoke for a few minutes, referring to his primary opponent, Chris Smith' abysmal record (voting for cap&trade and for Pelosi's light bulb bill, against the Bush tax cuts, against drilling in ANWR, sponsoring card check).

Mike Halfacre was endorsed by two big tea party groups, and it's interesting how will Scott Sipprelle address the conservative grass-roots from now on.

Garden State Showdown: Conservative Challenges Another RINO

by Alan Bateman

Should a congressman with this record be rewarded with a 15th term in office?

• Voted for Cap and Trade

• Co-sponsored Card Check

• Voted twice with Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats against making the 2001/2003 tax cuts (Bush tax cuts) permanent

• Voted to allow the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to sue companies that require employees to speak English

• Voted with Nancy Pelosi to defeat a 2008 Republican budget resolution which would reduce spending $12 billion and impose a moratorium on pork barrel earmarks

• Voted twice to increase taxes on domestic energy producers (which is passed on the consumer)

• Vote three times against drilling at ANWR

• Voted for the Pelosi light bulb bill in which the government will decide the type of light bulbs you can use in your own home

• Voted for Barney Frank’s housing trust fund

• Voted against free speech when he supported a bill to regulate the Internet including, email and blogs

• Accepts tens of thousands of dollars from Big Labor Unions each election cycle

Would you have guessed that these votes came from a Republican?

This is the record of 28-year incumbent Republican Chris Smith from New Jersey’s Fourth Congressional District (NJ-4). Believe it or not, these are just a few of his votes from the last two legislative sessions. Is it a wonder why Smith has earned the ranking as one of the most liberal Republicans in the House by the American Conservative Union. This goes along with his “F” rating from American Gun Owners and “D” rating from the NRA.

Smith has proven that he has no intention of upholding the Constitution or protecting the best interest of the people of the district or of the country. He has spent his entire adult life in Washington. For the past 28 years, Smith’s entire information base has been formed by Washington lobbyists and special interests.

Smith has no real life experience creating jobs or building a business. He has no basic understanding of economics or budgeting. As a result, he has no knowledge to draw upon when making decisions that affect our lives. Smith has to rely on lobbyists and special interest groups to do the thinking for him.

Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama can always count on Smith to move their progressive agenda forward. Smith’s vote for Cap and Trade will result in massive job losses nationally. New Jersey alone will lose 30,000 jobs. In exchange for his votes, he has received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from labor unions and green groups. He was also rewarded by Barack Obama with an appointment to the United Nations as a congressional delegate. Clearly, Smith sold us out.

To add “insult to injury,” this is the candidate the Republican Party has chosen to support. Why? Because he is an incumbent? Smith dealt a serious blow to the Republican Party when he voted for Cap and Trade and co-sponsored Card Check.

What makes the Republican Party stand apart are our conservative principles. The same principles which our Founding Fathers held when they wrote the Constitution, the same principles Lincoln held when faced with restoring a divided nation and the same principles which Reagan held when rebuilding after the economic disaster of the last progressive attempt to socialize our country under Carter.

It is “Republican Conservative Principles” which are our best hope for rebuilding and restoring our country from the Obama progressive agenda. We must be diligent now to elect those who not only hold these principles but have the courage to fight for them, namely, less government, job growth through a robust economy and strong national security.

These cannot be accomplished unless our elected officials uphold and abide by the Constitution. After all, they took an oath to do so! Without a strong adherence to the Constitution, we will lose our freedom. Without freedom, nothing is possible.

Any elected official -- including Republicans -- who ignores the Constitution and destroys our freedoms must go. No excuses!

Any party which ignores its principles in order to increase its elected members should be taken back by the people.

Accountability and solid conservative principles are what the people want and what is needed to get our country back on track. This is exactly why the tea parties were born -- out of frustration. People want and expect that their leaders serve them and to do what’s in the people’s best interest -- not to serve the interests of the lobbyists.

This June in New Jersey Congressional District Four (NJ-4), the people will have the opportunity remove 28-year Washington insider Chris Smith and replace him with a true conservative. I am that candidate.

I believe we need to recommit to the principles of the Constitution and to encourage a spirit of individualism and self-reliance. We need to strive to leave the country a better place for the next generation. Bigger government is not the answer. In fact, government needs to get out of our wallets, out of our businesses and out of our lives.

In the 2010 congressional election year, the first opportunity to say “no more” to a Washington statist will come this June in the NJ-4 Republican primary. We can and will restore America by electing a representative who will adhere to the Constitution. If we stay the course that our Founding Fathers set, following the Constitution and sticking to our Conservative Principles, we will surely see victory and once again know the greatness that is the United States of America.

Alan Bateman is the former Deputy Mayor of Holmdel, NJ and is running for Congress in NJ-4. He is raising his campaign funds from the people and needs your help. To learn more about Alan and how to donate, go to Email him at

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Halfacre Endorsed by NJTeaParty for NJ-12 Congressional GOP Primary

NJTeaParty has voted unanimously to support Mayor Michael Halfacre of Fair Haven, NJ for the Republican nomination in New Jersey's 12th congressional district spanning Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth and Somerset Counties.

The decision was announced following a four-part vetting procedure established by the organization including research, written commitments by the candidate on 21 policy positions, an intensive two-hour hearing, and final review by the membership ending in a vote.

"We are proud to endorse Mayor Halfacre's candidacy for the Republican nomination in the New Jersey 12th congressional district," said Michael Illions, spokesman for the group. "We believe that he is the best candidate to defeat Congressman Rush Holt in November, 2010."

Asked why Halfacre took the endorsement over GOP primary opponent Scott Sipprelle, Illions said the biggest factor was Sipprelle's June 2009 donations to five Congressional Democrats who voted for legislation that the conservative organization opposes.

NJTeaParty is an association of the leaders of individual Tea Party organizations and other conservative organizations for the purpose of maximizing their collective influence.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sipprelle's Struggles With Rank and File, Grassroots

By John Menella

Last night I went to an East Brunswick Republican Club meeting. As I walked in, and to my surprise, who did I see sitting there but Scott Sipprelle. As the meeting Started Mr. Sipprelle stood up in front of the room and introduced himself. He began by telling everyone in the room that Mike Halfacre has been going around bashing him, and that he follows Regan's 11th commandment, and will never bash another Republican.

He then began to explain why he donated money to 5 Democrats and to Chuck Schumer. he explained that in 2009 he donated money in the hopes of getting them to vote no on the health care bill. He stated that 4 out of 5 of them did in fact vote no, and went on to say, "that was money well spent."

He then explained that he donated money to Chuck Schumer in 2002 and in retrospect made a mistake doing so. I then stood up and introduced myself and reminded Mr. Sipprelle that we had met a few weeks earlier at an event in East Brunswick. he remembered, and I refreshed his memory as to our conversation. I told him that when I asked him about his donation to Chuck Schumer, several week earlier, his reply to me was that he was told to by the senior partners at Morgan Stanley and ultimately resigned because of it.

I explained to him I had 2 problems with that, the first being that to cave into his bosses demands and contribute to Schumer, concerns me with how he would hold up to Pelosi's or Obama's demands. Secondly I informed him that he left Morgan Stanley in 1998 and donated in 2002.

At that point you could briefly feel the tension in the room as his mouthed tightened while he attempted to answer. The problem was he reiterated the love for his country, how bad things have become etc. etc., but never addresses the discrepancy about 1998 and 2002.

I then asked him a follow-up question pertaining to his contributions to the other 5 Democrats, and explained my concerns. I asked what would lead me to believe that if he were in congress a Democrat would not contribute to him to sway his vote in an attempt to get reciprocation for their votes.

Again he somewhat danced around that as well, although in fairness, he explained it by basically saying he won't do that, and again he did not seem to like that question very much

At one point another member of the group asked him how he believes health care should be fixed and what he would do. His answer was actually spot on, however after his answer yet another member told him that the answer was very good, but Mike Halfacre has been saying that exact thing for months now. He went on to ask him where he was six months ago, when Mike Halfacre was already doing what he is doing now. Mr. Sipprelle went onto say that 6 months ago he was running his business, and now he has received a different calling.

In the end we shook hands and I once again made it clear that my support would be for Mike Halfacre, but wished him well as we exited the meeting.

John Menella is a law enforcement officer and a Middlesex County Republican.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Scott Sipprelle Dodges Questions About Constitution, Healthcare, Stimulus, Abortions, Gay Marriages

Yesterday, US-1 (Princeton's Business and Entertainment Newspaper) published an article by Richard K. Rein about his discussion with NJ-12 Republican hopeful Scott Sipprelle. Rein starts with a short bio of Sipprelle, going through his family's past unsuccessful runs for office, his career as a Wall Street insider, finally getting to a few questions about Sipprelle's stand on the current issues:

I had a short list of questions: Where did he stand on the Supreme Court’s free speech ruling, don’t ask, don’t tell, healthcare reform, the stimulus plan, and Roe v. Wade.

Simple questions for a conservative, right? Only that...

Unlike the professional political correspondents [...] I was easily dodged by Sipprelle. “I intend to promote a mainstream agenda for economic recovery,” he responded. “Regardless of the issues that you view as important, a country that is bankrupt can do nothing.”

Very true. Actually, keeping the country out of bankruptcy should be a basic requirement of any public servant. There was no further word on this "mainstream agenda". But back to the conservative issues:

I tried again to turn the conversation to the incendiary, litmus test issues of the Republican far right. Sipprelle did another sidestep: “I don’t think stringent litmus tests are good for our party or for our country. I say that you should evaluate a candidate holistically — there’s no reason why you have to agree with someone on every position in order to vote for them.”

So, the positions that Rein asked about referred to: free speech (and upholding the Constitution), gay marriage, national heathcare, stimulus and.. well.. life and death. For the 2nd time, Sipprelle refused to answer to any of these. Rein continues:

In fact, if you are used to the Tea Party crowd and town hall hecklers that are often the face of Republicans on the national news shows, you might be surprised to find some close to home who don’t fit the mold.

This is probably the most interesting statement. Mainly because as very recent history showed, the Republican party is returning to its Conservative grassroots represented by the tea party people. People that don't fit the mold - like Dede Scozzafava - are weeded out. A recent Rasmussen report showed that a tea party candidate would poll higher than an establishment Republican. And the identification of the tea party crowd with just hecklers reminds us of Democrati Rep. Baron Hill calling these townhall protesters "political terrorists". Oh well, Sipprelle was one of the contributors to Hill's campaign.

It's also notable to mention that Scott Sipprelle has repeatedly refused to meet with representatives of tea party groups and conservative grassroots organizations. But who knows, maybe we'll eventually get a chance to find out what his positions on the issues are.

Monday, February 1, 2010

NJ-6: Diane Gooch's Husband Funded her Opponent's Campaign

It's now confirmed that the NJ GOP is really interested in having Diane Gooch run against Frank Pallone in NJ's 6th district. I don't know much about Mrs. Gooch, except that her family is wealthy, they own the Two River Times, and she is a vice-president of the Monmouth Republican Committee. Her political positions are pretty much unknown, as she is mostly known around the county only for writing big checks to the Committee.

I can't say much else until she talks on the issues. Until then, I can only be afraid that she's yet another person who thinks she can buy a Congressional seat, like Jon Corzine (or, more recently, Scott Sipprelle). She hasn't been involved in politics so far (except for writing those checks), but she's willing to put $2 million dollars in the campaign against Frank Pallone, who has the most cash on hand from all incumbents - $4 millions.

Now speaking of Pallone's treasure chest, here's a very interesting tidbit. Diane's husband, Michael Gooch, has donated $4,000 to Pallone in 2008. (besides $4,800 to other Democratic candidates, and compared to only $2,300 to Republicans). He donated another $2,400 to Pallone (who's one of the sponsors of the healthcare bill) in March 2009, as well as another $8,000 to other Democrats over the same year (Republicans got $4,900 of Gooch money last year).

I'm sure this will become a major campaign issue. It's not always that a candidate's spouse heavily contribute to the candidate's opponent.

Other possible Republican candidates in the 6th District are Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, former freeholder Bil Barham, Pastor Shannon Wright and Leigh-Anne Bellew.