I Love New Jersey and its Politics. Eddie Rivera. MJoTA 2013 v7n2 p1024
I was born and have only lived in New Jersey.
There have been a lot of
jokes about my home way too often. Some would call the Garden State as the
armpit of the Northeast. I am offended by it because New Jersey is
much more than that Remember the slogan, “New Jersey and you, perfect
together?” I sure do!
New Jersey is a
perfect state for business and recreation. Our state is smack dab between New
York and Philadelphia with so much history and tradition that I
Simon & Garfunkel’s “America,” they sang about counting cars on the New
Jersey Turnpike. On the Turnpike, I like to count the rest stops that are named
after famous New Jersey residents. No other highway in America has ever thought
of that. There are rest stops named after Thomas Edison, Molly Pitcher, Vince
Lombardi, and Woodrow Wilson, Walt Whitman.
Maybe in the next few years, I
would live to see other celebrities have their names on rest stops. However, the
Turnpike is already taken. Why not the rest stops on the Garden State Parkway
and the Atlantic City Expressway? I would love to see the names of Bruce
Springsteen, Whitney Houston, Jack Nicolson, or Frank Sinatra on rest stops. One can only hope!
from driving through the Turnpike, a whole lot of other things that
makes me proud to be a Jersey boy.
As a Rutgers graduate, I enjoy watching the
Scarlet Knights play to defend our New Jersey. Doesn’t matter which sport I’m
watching I just enjoy my school winning.
I’m proud of the fact I received my
Master’s from Rutgers because of the name Rutgers brings prestige, honor, and character.
Whenever I do go to New Brunswick, I enjoy all the sights and sounds this city
has to offer. There’s Stuff Yer Face where they have a variety of strombolis. The Barnes & Noble is close to the train station and
the clock above their entrance way is a work of art.
The Rutgers campus is so
big that there’s always something to do. I enjoy going to the New
Brunswick/Piscataway vicinity to enjoy not just being Rutgers alum but to
explore one of New Jersey’s exquisite areas.
Whenever summer comes around, I enjoy going to
the Jersey Shore. From Sandy Hook to Cape May, I just enjoy walking on the
boardwalk, eating salt water taffy, and playing the arcades. After the
devastation that was Hurricane Sandy, my appreciation for the shore has only grown
stronger. I felt bad for those who lost their home. It was a storm that almost
took away the heart and soul that was the shore. As we slowly progressed and
cleared away all the debris that was left over, the shore was back to its
I can definitely say that New Jersey is “stronger than the
storm.” I mean it because our state is tough and we unite to pull ourselves out
of the gutter.
of the Jersey Shore, I am a fan of New Jersey related television programs. Yes, I am a fan of the show Jersey Shore. I know not many people
are fans of characters like Snooki or the Situation, but I’m always fascinated
with the show's antics. The shows like Jersey Shore bring in
tourists. Other shows like Jersey Couture, Jerseylicious, Real Housewives of
New Jersey, and Cake Boss to name a few has brought our state into a wider
audience. But it’s not just the reality TV I enjoy but also the fictional
storylines from HBO. I’m talking about the Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire. I
know might be forgetting a few others, but it’s important that New Jersey
continue to spotlights not just on a national stage but a global stage. Whether
one of the shows or films is a detriment to the state’s image is clearly up to
the viewer and I respect everyone’s opinion. Regardless, I enjoy watching New
that I have talked about why I love New Jersey in general, now I must discuss a
more general topic, politics.
New Jersey has always had a teeter totter effect
in regards to their political system. In a state that has traditionally been
Democrat, I am proud to say that I am a true blue New Jersey Democrat.
believe in a state where issues such as woman’s rights, gun control, and marriage
equality should be the norm. The truth of a matter is New Jersey has always had
a very vibrant political system whether if its good or bad for the state. I
have read a copy of Bob Ingle and Sandy McClure’s Soprano State book. Their book details a significant amount of
detail about the corrupt nature of New Jersey politics. I had the chance to
meet Ingle and McClure when I was at Rowan and had the extinct honor of having
them autograph my book. I’m not saying all New Jersey politics is corrupt, I
just find it interesting to how much goes on in the Garden State. The critics
would argue that New Jersey is like an everyday episode of the Sopranos and our
governor is Tony Soprano. Whoops! Did I refer Governor Chris Christie as a mob
boss? I mean did anybody see his picture on the cover of Time magazine? Sure she has some Italian in him, but the picture of
him pretty much says it all. Don’t get me wrong I’m a fan of the Sopranos but
New Jersey is not always a corrupt society. We are just trying to craft our
niche in American society.
year is an election in New Jersey. There’s an election for governor, US Senate,
legislature, and other local municipalities. I have been interested into
politics for a very long time. I look up to these figures as inspiration for
the community. The way these law makers address the issues that matter and brings
the people together demonstrates the power of leadership. The reason why want
to get into politics is to become a leader. By building leadership credentials,
I can empower those around me.
like our federal government, New Jersey state government has executive,
legislative, and judicial branches. The Governor presents the executive branch,
the State Legislature represents the legislative branch, and the Supreme Court
presents the judicial branch. My favorite governor in New Jersey is Jim
McGreevy. I’ll explain to you why. When McGreevy came out of the closet in
2004, I was shocked at first but only McGreevy had the courage to do what he
had to do. Coming out as a gay governor was unexpected and he decided to step
down his governorship. In my opinion, McGreevy should have stayed in office
regardless of his sexual orientation. He should have stayed as governor in an
effort to legalize same sex marriage in New Jersey early. McGreevy could have
been the poster boy for marriage equality in New Jersey. But I understand why
he had to do. I guessing it would have hurt his chances for reelection the
following year. Flash forward to today, New Jersey has embraced the ideal of
marriage equality even though our current governor, Chris Christie, is still a
traditionalist between a man and woman. I’m sure McGreevy is happy that New
Jersey has come a long way since he broke the news nearly ten years ago. After
watching his HBO documentary, Fall to
Grace, I still consider him a influential force in our state.
a history buff and I appreciate New Jersey history. In fact only two of our
nation’s presidents have been elected president, Grover Cleveland and Woodrow
Wilson. Many pundits are saying that Chris Christie is a frontrunner for the
2016 president election.
However, the next presidential election is only 3
years away and my pick for governor was state senator Barbara Buono.
Barbara Buono is one of those political leaders I have looked up
to all my life. She is the definition of the ultimate underdog. Her life story
is remarkable at every aspect.
Daughter of Italian immigrants, losing her
father at 19, lived on food stamps while trying to get her way in college, lost
her house in a fire, slept on a friend’s couch. Her rise to power is incredible
as she made her way onto the NJ State Assembly and NJ State Senate. Her powers
only increased as she becomes the chairwoman of the Senate Budget &
Appropriations Committee and the Senate Majority Leader. In her quest to the
governorship, I understand that she had to overcome huge odds. She did not win. However, win
or lose, I always have my trust in Bully Busting Barbara.
hero I also look up to is former Newark Mayor and US Senator Cory Booker. How
many politicians are as social media savvy as Booker is? His presence on
Twitter is amazing just as he was amazing as a Mayor rescuing people from house
fires. Now since he is going to Washington to shake things up, I look forward
to how he will leave his mark in Congress. New Jersey has never elected a
Republican to the US Senate since the Watergate scandal that brought down
President Richard Nixon.
I’m this sure this tradition will continue as the team
of Cory Booker and Robert Menendez are making history. With an African-American
(Booker) and a Hispanic (Menendez) as US Senators, they represent New Jersey
with the most diverse line up of Senators with different backgrounds.
another reason why I’m proud to be a Democrat. My party demonstrates such
diversity where our elected officials represent various backgrounds. Many of
our officials are African-American, Asian-American, Indian-American, and
Hispanic-American. I look forward to Booker’s stint as US Senator as I know he
will bring a fresh mindset to the Congressional stage.
interest in New Jersey and its politics is strong. I enjoy being a resident of it. I take for granted that I don’t
pump gasoline in my car or there’s a shopping mall within a 20 mile radius of all of us. I love my state.
I also love the political scene in Garden
State. I dream of the day where I can one day represent New Jersey either as a
member of the State Legislature or US Congress. Perhaps maybe become governor
one day myself.
The possibilities are endless for me as I continue to seek new
horizons in my quest to be a part of New Jersey history. I have the energy
needed to take on any challenges that step in my way. New
Jersey and myself are perfect together.