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Essex Rising endorses Cindy Matute-Brown for Town Council, and Terry Trigg-Scales and Jeremias Salinas for BOE

A few West Orange neighbors asked, “What can we do?” in the wake of Trump’s election. We founded Essex Rising to dedicate ourselves to progressive action from the local level to the federal level. Today, we have more than 1,300 members and are affiliated with several likeminded NJ organizations—including NJ11ForChange, with whom we have worked closely and now support Mikie Sherrill for Congress.

Recognizing that “all politics begins local,” we analyzed whether how our town is run matches up to Essex Rising’s published principles. We concluded West Orange falls short in many ways. It lacks transparency and accountability. It is a top-down system controlled by a few key figures who manipulate what legislation passes, who stands for office, who gets appointed to committees, and who gets jobs and contracts.

This undemocratic system is outdated—like the America of Trump’s imagination that possessed some sort of past “greatness” we lack today. Well, West Orange is not the town it was generations ago, and so we need dynamic, democratic leadership that reflects the outstanding capabilities and rich diversity of our residents today. We just need to let existing greatness rise up and shine. That is why we endorse Cindy Matute-Brown. She embodies our principles, which is also why we appointed to our Steering Committee in June 2017.

Our sitting BOE hired and then renewed—despite community opposition—a divisive Superintendent. After investigations launched by residents exposed irregularities that justified his termination, the BOE allowed him to resign, walking away with more than $130,000 of taxpayers’ money. We demand more accountability from our future BOE. We want teachers and voters integrally engaged in selecting the next Superintendent, and we support these two dedicated educators for BOE.

What’s new with Essex Rising

With just over TWO WEEKS to go to the November 6th election, Essex Rising is focused on canvassing for the candidates Essex Rising has endorsed, and others we support. If you haven’t already gone canvassing, contact one of the campaigns. It’s quick to learn, and easy and fun to do!

October 14th we had an exciting rally featuring Mikie Sherrill for Congress, Cindy Matute-Brown for West Orange Town Council, Terry Trigg-Scales for West Orange Board of Education, and Jeremias Salinas for West Orange Board of Education.

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Congressional Seat in NJ 11th district

Mikie Sherrill could flip the Congressional seat for NJ11 from Republican to Democrat, but the race is very close. It is essential that every Democrat and Progressive gets to the polls—and bring as many voters with you as you can. Remind your friends and neighbors! Many of us have opposed Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen so vigorously since 2016 that he is retiring. If Mikie wins his seat now, this will be our victory, too. But it’s still a serious fight against Republican big guns and big money. This race has caught national attention. Vice Presidents Biden and Pence have each come to NJ recently to support their party’s candidates. If we win NJ11, it will be major event!

What can we do now to help win this seat? Keep on canvassing! Keep spreading the message that Mikie Sherrill, a Montclair resident, stands for Essex County’s voters. (Yes, believe it, some people still haven’t heard about Mikie Sherrill – and they are the voters you can help bring into the fold! Some people don’t even know they have had a Republican representing them in Congress all these years – up till NOW!).

Essex Rising was one of the first groups to host Mikie Sherrill, back in July 2017, at the start of her run. For Essex Rising’s most recent “Progressive Discussions” event, Mikie Sherrill returned to highlight her views on key values, including health care, women’s right to choose, tax policies that will make NJ more affordable, gun safety, and environmental protection. Republican Congressman Freylinghuysen dismally failed us constituents on all these issues — and now Mikie’s opponent, arch-conservative Republican Jay Webber, would be even worse! Print out this comparison of our choices to spread around, from our friends at NJ11ForChange!

We must win this one! Contact Maralyn Kinch to join a town team and to volunteer for Mikie’s campaign, and/or sign up with Judy Kelly to canvass for Mikie Sherrill, and to get the materials you need. You can canvass alone or in groups. If you live in West Orange, please also volunteer for the local candidates Essex Rising has endorsed.

Cindy Matute-Brown for West Orange Town Council

Cindy Matute-Brown is the only Essex Rising-endorsed candidate for Town Council. As a Steering Committee member of Essex Rising, Cindy not only supports Essex Rising’s principles but she also embodies them in her ethical positions and in her career track record of supporting labor and educators. And she stands up for these principles in Town Council and Board of Ed meetings.

Cindy stands for transparent, progressive leadership with sound fiscal policy. We want to be sure our taxes are spent fairly. We don’t want to grant unnecessary tax breaks to wealthy developers that we, the taxpayers, legally must reimburse to our school system. Cindy is full of fresh ideas to stabilize West Orange by providing local opportunities so that our young graduates can work here and afford to stay, and equally, that retirees can afford to remain in their homes in West Orange. Check out and share these {INSERT LINK} film clips of Cindy discussing these issues.

Cindy has the great honor of being the only candidate running for Town Council who has been endorsed by the PCCC—the Progressive Campaign for Change Committee—backed by key Democrats like Chairman Keith Ellison and Elizabeth Warren. Cindy is also the only candidate endorsed by Our Revolution, the national organization of Progressive Democrats. Our Revolution has three intertwined goals: to revitalize American democracy, to empower progressive leaders, and to elevate the political consciousness. Our Revolution’s national office receives thousands of requests to endorse local candidates each year, but very few receive the national endorsement. Cindy is the ONE for Town Council.

What can you do to help Cindy’s campaign now?

Donate here to help the campaign spread the news.

Please join Cindy’s campaign team, made up of fellow Essex Rising members. We are getting the word out about her campaign, by canvassing our neighborhoods, either with Cindy or alone or with friends, to tell people about Cindy’s ideas for the Town Council, and by hosting neighbors for coffee. Volunteer here. To get yard signs delivered to you,  email Campaign@cindyfortowncouncil.com. Help your friends erect signs, especially in spots with prime visibility!  

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Board of Education

Terry4WOBOE.com @Terry4WOBOE  

Terry has a distinguished 38-year career as an educator in Essex County’s school system, during which time she has lived in West Orange and raised her children here. Noting the intense conflict in our district over the WOBOE, she was inspired to serve. She believes a successful school system incorporates the parents and teachers, and that school boards should not be at odds with the community or reactive, but rather be “thoughtful in their deliberations and be proactive. My experience as an administrator has taught me that through a ‘continuous improvement model’ we must evaluate programs and initiatives to ensure a quality education for all students. Trust, honesty, respect and collaboration are the cornerstones of a strong school district.” It’s time to Get This Educator on Board!

Our school budget is much bigger than our municipal budget. This is where most of our taxes go. The State has only funded one-third of what it owes West Orange for our schools—we, the taxpayers, are funding that shortfall. We must work with our NJ State Legislature and Governor Murphy to correct that, and Terry has already served during Governor Murphy’s transition on his Education, Access, and Opportunity Committee, whose first priority was fully funding towns’ schools. This is a VITAL KEY  to lowering your taxes. Also prioritized in the Committee’s report, reductions of standard testing of students and staff, reduction of student debt, and reduction of college tuition costs.

What can you do to help now?

Donate here to help Terry’s campaign spread the news.

Contact the campaign through its website to volunteer, to canvass, or to get Terry Trigg-Scales lawn signs.

There are two seats up for election on the Board of Ed. Please give your second vote to Jeremias Salinas, also an educator, with 15 years’ of experience. Our local government needs to become more representative of our community, and Jeremias would be the only Hispanic voice on the BOE. He fully supports Essex Rising principles.

Let’s get THIS TEACHER on Board!

Both of them recently were interviewed on West Orange 07052 and made clear their motivations for serving. The third candidate for WOBOE, Cheryl Merklinger, refused to be interviewed, perhaps because 07052 published screenshots of her support for Republicans, the NRA, President Trump, and Vice President Pence!

Senate Race

A shoutout for Senator Menendez. He has consistently stood up for NJ and many of the principles of Essex Rising and is endorsed by our NJ Democrat leaders. Republicans want to take this seat. They are hammering Menendez for “corruption,” conveniently forgetting that, although admonished for unethically accepting gifts, he was cleared of all charges against him. If Sen. Menendez lost this seat now, we would lose a crucial Democrat vote in the Senate, and elect instead the first Republican senator for NJ since 1972—Bob Hugin. Hugin represents much of what is most wrong with our politics: the entitlement of millionaires and billionaires, and the power of big pharma to price-gouge the ill. Hugin figured that because cancer patients really needed his company’s drugs, he should raise the price! He made millions, and then he funded Chris Christie and Donald Trump. Say no to Hugin! Do not forget to vote FOR Menendez: not to vote (an undervote) will benefit Hugin.

GET OUT THE VOTE!

We must GET OUT THE VOTE! That means ensuring that eligible voters, including new residents in our town, are registered to vote. To vote in person, they must register within 21 days before the election—deadline to vote in person is October 16th. They can download registration forms here, which include change-of-address information. To vote by mail, anyone can access Vote-By-Mail forms and mail in a vote by October 30th.

We can help by printing out these forms, carrying them with us, and giving them out whenever we encounter somebody who hasn’t voted before or isn’t registered.

You can always check your voter registration and polling place at www.elections.nj.gov

GET MORE INVOLVED NOW! THERE IS SO MUCH AT STAKE, IN YOUR TOWN, IN OUR COUNTY, OUR STATE, AND OUR COUNTRY. PROGRESS IS IN OUR HANDS, OUR POWER IS IN YOUR VOTE. PULL THROUGH THIS FINAL STRETCH, AND GET READY FOR THE VICTORY PARTY (TBA).

Women’s March

Essex Rising was a proud sponsor of the 2018 Women’s March held in Morristown NJ. Many of our members were in attendance!

Join Essex Rising for the Women’s March in Morristown on 1/20/18

Ride on the Justice Train from South Orange to Morristown for the NJ Women’s March on Jan. 20th with your neighbors and friends in Essex Rising and beyond – we are joining SOMA Action for a fun train ride!

The train leaves for Morristown at 9:48 and we are meeting at 9:20 to park and rally with SOMA Action! The return train leaves at 1:23 and arrives back in SO at 1:57; the march goes from 11-1 and is .5 miles from the train station.

Wear your pink and purple pussy hats and bring the whole family! When democracy is under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back! Sign up for march here- and see sign up genius for train below: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/womens-march-on-new-jersey-2018-tickets-41360900567

Essex Rising’s Elizabeth Redwine Receives WO HRC Freedom Award

The West Orange Human Relations Commission (HRC) honored 7 recipients with the annual Freedom Award, including one of Essex Rising’s founders, Elizabeth Redwine. Elizabeth has been working tirelessly in her community since the 2016 elections and was gracious and motivating during her acceptance speech.

 

Other honorees at the MLK Day Celebration in West Orange included Janice Johnson Dias, Eric and Monique Pryor, Lou Mignone., Lieut. Charlie Bryant and Sgt. George Lopez.

Essex Rising Candlelight Vigil for Charlottesville

In quick response to the events in Charlottesville, Essex Rising released a statement and pulled together a community candlelight vigil to show support for all those who fight against racism and bigotry.

The vivil began at the West Orange, NJ Community House and ended at Town Hall where speakers  included UU Ministers Emily Boggis and Anya Sammler-Michael, Rabbi Weitzmann from B’nai Keshet, Pastor Adams from Joy Church,Cantor Rebecca Moses and Dr. Akil Khalfani as well as Essex Rising leaders Elizabeth Redwine, Khabirah Khaabirah and Cindy Matute-Brown.

 

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Essex Rising Unity Cookout

Essex Rising, the Islamic Center of Passaic County, and Black Lives Matter Newark held a Unity Cookout on Sunday, August 20th. The event was attended by approximately 50 people including members of Wind of the Spirit, West Orange African American Heritage, West Orange Hispanic Association.