Casagrande’s Farewell

I spent my last few minutes in Trenton the way I spent my last 8 years…Relaying the stories of my constituents who’ve been taxed out of the state by the Democrat political bosses who have bought and sold Trenton at their expense. We deserve a better government.

Posted by Caroline Casagrande on Wednesday, January 13, 2016

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Posted: January 13th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: 11th Legislative District, Caroline Casagrande, Monmouth County News | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

Angelini blasts Democratic colleagues on her way out of Trenton

assetContent (46)In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, the state Assembly still had business to do before the two-year legislative session expired — including saying goodbye to all the departing lawmakers. Most of the time, it’s nice words followed by contrite thank-yous from the about-to-be-former legislators. Not so this time, when the object of praise was Assemblywoman… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: January 12th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Mary Pat Angenlini, Monmouth County News, NJ Democrats, NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini Looks Back At Her Tenure in the Legislature


Mary Pat Angelini

By Mary Pat Angelini

On Monday my term serving in the NJ General Assembly will officially end. As I look back on my eight years in the Legislature, I’m proud of my legislative accomplishments and to have represented my constituents with honesty, integrity and personal accountability. I’m especially thankful that I was able to shine a light on issues that affect the more vulnerable segments of our society, including young people and individuals struggling with substance abuse and mental illness. I always felt that one of my duties as a public servant was to give a voice to those who are not always heard. Of course this was sometimes easier said than done, but I’m proud to say that I was able to make some tremendous headway.

During my tenure, I had numerous bills signed into law, including the state’s landmark “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights” that has helped reduce bullying in NJ schools by requiring school employees to take action in addressing harassment, intimidation and bullying. Another landmark bill was my “911” or “Lifeline Legislation,” which established a “safe haven” from prosecution for minors who summon medical assistance for intoxicated underage persons. Furthermore, I became deeply involved with our state’s crippling heroin epidemic by supporting legislation to help those struggling with addiction and an advocate for defying the stigma of mental illness by supporting the pressing mental health needs of all Monmouth County residents.

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Posted: January 10th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: 11th Legislative District, Mary Pat Angenlini, Monmouth County News, NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Year in review: November 2015

Jonelle Melton

Jonelle Melton

Three Asbury Park Men were charged with the 2009 murder of Jonelle Melton, a 33 year old Red Bank Middle School teacher.

Democrats Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey defeated Republican Assemblywomen Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande in the 11th Legislative District.  A Democratic SuperPac funded largely by the NJEA spent $1.5 million in the race, including television commercials implying that Angelini is inappropriately profiting from the drug abuse prevention non-profit that she leads.

For all the special interest money spent on behalf of the Democrats, Angelini lost to Downey by only 253 votes and the top vote getter, Houghtaling had only 713 votes more than the low vote getter, Casagrande.  Low voter turnout in Republican strongholds Freehold Township and Colts Neck was the difference in the election.

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Posted: January 1st, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Year in review: November 2015

Without Vin Gopal, Kucinich Loses Congressional Seat

Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich lost his primary race last night to Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur.  Kucinich and Kaptur were forced to face each other as a result of redistricting.

Kucinich’s former national campaign manager, Monmouth County’s Vin Gopal, was not involved in this defeat.

Gopal, a candidate for Assembly in New Jersey’s 11th district last year, is running for Monmouth County Democratic Chairman against Marlboro Councilman Frank LaRocca.

Kaptur will face Samuel Wurzelbacher, AKA “Joe the plumber” in the November general election.

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Posted: March 7th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: 2012 Congressional Races, Monmouth Democrats | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Without Vin Gopal, Kucinich Loses Congressional Seat

Garden State Equality Apologizes For Endorsing Mary Pat Angelini

In an email sent to his members in the 11th Legislative District this afternoon, Garden State Equality President Steve Goldstein apologized for endorsing Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini in last November’s election.

Angelini, who has been very supportive of the gay lobbying group was absent for the Assembly vote on the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act on Thursday.  The bill passed 42-33 with two Democrats voting NO.

Angelini was on vacation, celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary in Jamaica, according to Goldstein’s email.

Goldstein said that he and two other GSE members met with the Assemblywoman on Friday, February 10th in an attempt to persuade her to cut her vacation short in order to be present of the vote.  Angelini refused stating that the bill had the votes to pass anyway and in the unexpected event that it failed, it would be voted on again in a matter of weeks.

Goldstein, and “an avalanche of calls and emails” said it did not matter that the bill had enough votes to pass:

Dear members, as so many of you have told us through your avalance of calls and emails, it shouldn’t matter whether or not Mary Pat’s vote was needed.   She is elected to vote in the legislature, and certainly elected to vote on the biggest issues of the day – perhaps the biggest issue of all time to so many in her district like you.  If you are a public servant, there are absoluely times to have personal lives.   Was this really one of them, especially when the legislature will be on break in a month?


Goldstein said that the group was “deeply pained” by Angelini’s absence.

Goldstein said he received more calls and emails filled with “deep pain and anger” than he received after Sean Kean’s 2009 vote against a similar bill and Kean’s “remarkably insensitive speech” about that vote.  The calls and emails suggested that GSE extract a written promise from Angelini that she will vote to override Governor Christie’s veto and that she work on other Republican legislators to do the same.

Goldstein’s entire email can be read here.

Asked to comment, Angelini said she had not seen the email.  MMM forwarded it to her.  This post will be update if she comments.

In addition to the comments about Angelini, Goldstein praised Senator Jennifer Beck for her work in support of the gay marriage bill.  He also promised to make up for GSE’s endorsement of Angelini to Vin Gopal, one of Angelini’s opponents last November, in his upcoming race against Marlboro Councilman Frank LaRocca for the Monmouth County Democratic Chairmanship.

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Posted: February 18th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

Kiss Your Own Damn Baby! And How To Garner 11% Of The Vote

By Tommy DeSeno, also published at

danwebadbaby1An old friend of mine is running for state Assembly in New Jersey.   He is an independent, and has one of the more interesting campaigns you will see.

Dan Jacobson served one term in the Assembly over 20 years ago when he was in his 20s – as a Democrat.

As a more mature adult today, he has thrown off the barbed reins of the Democratic dark side.  He now sees himself as fiscally conservative as the rest of us, ranting in his weekly newspaper (disclaimer – I used to rant in columns for it) about the problems with unions and politics, among other issues Republicans would like.  

On social issues he is a Libertarian, though a bit libertine for some tastes.  The only thing left of his old Democrat ways as far as I can tell is that Dan doesn’t seem to know what a baby is or where one hangs out the first 9 months of his or her life.

Which is probably why he won’t kiss yours.

What truly makes his campaign interesting is the way he runs it:  He takes no donations.   He seeks no endorsements.   He holds no rallies.  He has no staff.  He networks with no one. 

Truly independent!    His goal seems to be a campaign that isn’t one, by a candidate who refuses to be one; thus his refusal to honor the political tradition of kissing your baby. He wants to go to Trenton not owing anyone anything.  Good luck with that, Dan.

I once ran a political experiment and found that a truly independent candidate who runs only on issues and seeks no endorsements gets 11% of the vote.  That’s important  – every campaign manager in America should know that issues will garner 11% of the vote.  I predict Dan will get 11% of the vote. 

In the meantime, check out more of his funny newspaper ads that he has run about his campaign.  They are different, and it will make you smile that this campaign is real:

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Posted: November 7th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Dan Jacobson | Tags: , , | 12 Comments »

What if we held an election and nobody cared? Part 1, 11th district

In seven weeks New Jersey voters will have the opportunity to elect an entirely new state legislature.

Patrick Murray’s Monmouth University/Neptune Nudniks poll conducted in August indicates that New Jersey voters disapprove of their legislature by a 48%-35% margin.  Democrats disapprove by 45%-38%.  Independents, the majority, disapprove by a whopping 50%-28%.  Surprisingly, Republicans approve of the legislature by a 45%-41% margin.  Public workers disapprove by 55%-26%.

Based solely on those poll results, one might expect that we’d be in the middle of a spirited campaign with Democrats and public workers rallying to throw the Republicans out of office.  Obviously that is not the case.  Democrats control the legislature that their base and Independents disapprove of strongly.

Due to Dr. Alan Rosenthal’s decision that New Jersey voters are better off being continuously represented by legislators they don’t know, there are only a handful of competitive legislative races.  The Democrats will continue to control the legislature for the next two years.  Probably the next ten years.

11th District

The 11th district race is the only local race that is remotely interesting, so far.

There are two reasons that it is interesting. Independent candidate Dan Jacobson is colorful and is wisely using MMM, as well as his own publication to generate interest in his campaign.  Republicans are not happy about this, but MMM has had a long standing policy welcoming voices other than Art Gallagher’s.  Democrats have foolishly ignored the opportunity for years despite Gallagher’s overt invitations.

The other reason that the 11th district race is interesting is that Senator Jennifer Beck made gay marriage an issue.  That’s right, Beck, not Jacobson, not MMM, gave gay marriage prominence in this race.  She did so when she told Gannett columnist Jane Roh that she would change her vote on the issue.

“There are lots of reasons why I ultimately voted no. My position has evolved. I spent a lot of time on this issue, and at the end of the day, I would support it if it came before me.”

The Democrats, jumped on Beck’s curiously timed  “flip-flop.”   She had given them an issue.

The issue heated up again when Beck told Garden State Equality that she would vote to override Governor Christie’s veto of same sex marriage if given the opportunity.  Put on the spot, Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini took the same position with some reluctance.

As a result, Beck and Angelini’s running mate, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, is now in a tough spot.

Casagrande has been, ummm, straight, in how she has responded to the issue.  She could have remained silent and let people continue to assume that she was against gay marriage rather than say she has yet to take a position.   This has resulted in attacks by Jacobson, Olivia Nuzzi and other Democrats who scoff at Casagrande’s insistence that the issue is not simple and that the rights of religious organizations need to be respected as well.

Gay marriage advocates say they have no problem with religious rights being protected and that is no longer a valid reason to withhold support of marriage equality.  While that might be true now, it has not been true in the 11th district’s recent past.  The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association lost the tax exempt status of its Pavilion in 2007 when it refused to allow a lesbian couple have a civil union ceremony there.  The Methodist organization told the couple they could have their ceremony on the boardwalk that is also owned by the group, but not in a structure where religious ceremonies are held.

That compromise wasn’t good enough and the couple complained to the State Division of Civil Rights.  Eventually, Lisa Jackson, Governor Corzine’s DEP Commissioner and now President Obama’s EPA Commissioner, declined to recertify the pavilion’s tax exempt status which the Camp Meeting Assoication had enjoyed under New Jersey’s  Green Acres program.   Reports indicate that the loss of tax exempt status for the structure cost the association about $20,000 per year.

New York’s recently enacted gay marriage law would have protected the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association from the lesbian couple’s complaint and from Jackson’s punitive action had it been law in New Jersey in 2007.   I’d be willing to bet that Jacobson, Nuzzi and the 11th district Democratic candidates did not know that before it reading here.  Garden State Equality was front in center in the 2007 fight against the Camp Meeting Association.  I’ve yet to hear a peep from them about the rights of the religious or the rights of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association in particular with regard to gay marriages now that New York has set a new standard.

While the gay marriage issue is not going away, so long as Chris Christie is governor it is not a practical political issue for a legislative race.  While Democrats are expected to continue their hold on the legislature, there in not enough support from their side of the isle to override a veto.  Garden State Equality blew their chance to get a gay marriage law passed when they agreed to Governor Corzine’s request that they not push the issue until after his re-election race.

The importance of gay marriage to voters in the 11th district depends on who you believe.  Beck told MMM that Garden State Equality told her that there are 10,000 same sex couples in the 11th district.  I would would want to see a list and match it up to the voter registration records before I bought that claim.  There is no historical evidence of such a voting block.

Until I see such a list, I won’t be convinced the issue is as critical to 11th district voters as 6 of the 7 candidates running seem to think it is.  Its the economy and those who are trying to make the campaign about something other than the economy think the voters of the 11th district are stupid.

While all this chatter is fun, it won’t have much of an impact on election day.  Despite a 10,000 voter registration edge for the Democrats, Jacobson and the Democrats expect the Republicans to win a low turnout election by a wide margin.

Coming soon, What if we held an election and nobody cared?  Part 2, 13th district.

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Posted: September 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Legislature, Monmouth County, NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Casagrande’s Cowardice

By Olivia Nuzzi

As noted here, six of LD11’s seven legislative candidates have come out in support of gay marriage. They include Democratic Senate candidate Ray Santiago, Democratic Assembly candidates Vin Gopal and Kathy Horgan, and independent Assembly candidate Dan Jacobson. 

Also on the list are Republicans Senator Jennifer “Romney” Beck and Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, both of whom pledged – Angelini after significant hesitation – on September 18th during an interview with Garden State Equality at Monmouth University, to override Governor Christie’s veto of a same sex marriage bill should the opportunity arise in the next legislature. 

Conveniently, Caroline Casagrande, Beck and Angelini’s running mate, could not attend the event at Monmouth because she was busy with a “family commitment.” I suspect her family committed to travel far, far away from anyone asking her about gay marriage, an issue she has refused to take a stance on.

One of the many jobs of a public figure is to know a thing or two about public relations. Everybody, public figure or otherwise, knows that “no comment” is, more or less, always a confirmation. Evidently, no one forwarded that memo to Caroline Casagrande who has adopted a strict policy of “Don’t Ask me about gay marriage and I won’t Tell You a bunch of evasive nonsense.” 

Her refusal – while inexcusable – is understandable, given that without question, there are a significant number of voters in newly formed LD11 who are not going to agree with, accept or respect a politician who opposes gay marriage. However, no one can respect a coward. A coward, as it stands now, is precisely what Caroline Casagrande is.

If you want to be a social conservative, go ahead and be one – your base will revere you for it, and your ideological enemies will have no choice but to respectfully disagree. 

Instead of taking a stand, Ms. Casagrande has skirted around the issue of gay marriage, going as far as to employ Senator Sweeney’s regrettable history as a cop-out. 

By asking the “tough” questions that anybody who knows anything about the fight for marriage equality already knows the answer to, she is doing the best she can to make this seem complicated. “What about protections for religious institutions?” she challenged, as if the Big Bad Gays are planning to storm into Sunday mass to force the congregation to Vogue in unison. 

Ms. Casagrande is attempting to slide under the radar. She is hoping that this massive insult to the intelligence of those that she hopes to represent goes unnoticed. In adopting dishonesty as her policy, she has succeeded in fooling no one, she has merely made a fool of herself. 

You could call her running mate, Senator Jennifer “Romney” Beck, many things (a lobbyist or a liar, for instance), but a cowardly ideologue she is not. Ms. Beck at least had the guts to flip-flop as soon as LGBT-supportive Asbury Park and Ocean Grove became her problem. Maybe it’s just me, but I prefer the audacious displays of dishonesty to the panicked whispers… I’m a romantic, what can I say? 

Beyond embarrassing herself with her stunning lack of bravery and admission (however fabricated) that she cannot comprehend a simple issue, Ms. Ummmmm? also managed to miss an opportunity to follow the wide path of Declare and Defend set by her Messiah, Governor Christie. Aw shucks, what a shame.

We elect people who we believe possess the skills necessary to handle the many issues that NJ faces at once. If Ms. Casagrande can only handle one issue at a time, perhaps it is time for us to reevaluate her competence to serve. I say this only because I care about her well-being. After all, it would be cruel to continue to overwhelm her with the many complex legislative responsibilities that rest on her shoulders in Trenton. 

Olivia Nuzzi is a student from Middletown and an intern for the District 11 Democratic campaign.  MMM welcomes her fair and biased contributions. 

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Posted: September 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Olivia Nuzzi | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments »

Is bullet voting Un-American?

In last year’s municipal election in Neptune Township, Republican candidate for township committee Warren Lapp did not have a running mate.  He publicly encouraged voters to cast a “bullet vote” just for him, even though there were two committee seats open with candidates on the ballot.

The Neptune Democrats responded by calling Lapp un-American for suggesting such a thing.

Now Neptune Matters, the Republican leaning blog from the township is calling on Neptune Democrats Randy Bishop and Eric Houghteling to denounce Dan Jacobson, the 11th district Independent candidate for Assembly for asking voters to bullet vote for him.  Neptune Matters says that Bishop and Houghteling should call Jacobson un-American, but that they won’t because a bullet vote for Jacobson helps the Democratic candidates in the 11th.

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Posted: September 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 18 Comments »