Climate Action Here in Morris Township

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Clean energy advocates Dan and Shannon Falkner enjoy the green surroundings.

By Dan and Shannon Falkner

If you’ve been feeling a bit beaten down by climate news at the national level, here’s a bit of good news to cheer you: There is much we can do here at the local level to fight for clean energy and push our region toward a greater renewable energy supply. In fact, New Jersey just may be the perfect state to pioneer the clean energy revolution from the ground up. Here’s why.

First, New Jersey has a deregulated energy market, which means that we aren’t beholden to one behemoth energy company as our only energy provider; third-party energy suppliers compete in the energy market to attract customers, and many of them are offering competitive rates for renewable energy to attract customers.

Now, before you think this is one of those telemarketing-style pitches hitting you up for a great deal, we should clarify: Individuals shifting their own households to clean energy is not a feasible solution to the climate crisis. We just aren’t going to convince enough people to do the work to make the shift on their own.

As climate activist Bill McKibben has so eloquently articulated, for too long, we’ve bought into a narrative that tells us that our individual choices will be enough to change the world. That may sound lovely, but it’s exactly the kind of message that fossil fuel companies want us to promote. Individualist thinking shifts us away from collective political action, which can be mighty effective at ending the business models fossil fuel companies have profited from. It also keeps us spinning our wheels on how to “green” our own little lives, which basically ensures that traditional sources of energy (oil, coal, gas) remain intact while we fret over how to afford those solar panels.

The second reason that New Jersey is the perfect state for a clean energy transition is that it encourages a very specific kind of collective action to move us toward more renewable energy in our power grid: the Renewable Government Energy Aggregate. Municipalities are allowed to form an “R-GEA” to pool residents’ energy use and bargain with energy suppliers on behalf of all residents to secure a greater portion of renewable energy for the town. Doing so A) increases the portion of renewable energy in the power mix, and B) reduces the cost that residents pay for energy because of the collective purchasing power the R-GEA wields.

The best part is that, as more towns form R-GEAs, a clear signal is sent to energy suppliers that the market wants more renewable energy, and the suppliers will then invest in more renewable energy infrastructure, thus speeding up our transition to clean power.


Booker Inspires 150 at Event for Sherrill

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Mikie Sherrill (far right) and Sen. Cory Booker pose with the Rothman-Hankin Family. Below, they take a "selfie" with her campaign staff.

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By Samantha Rothman

My husband, John Hankin, and I recently had the pleasure of hosting the General Election Kick-Off Campaign for Mikie Sherrill for Congress with a special guest, Senator Cory Booker.  With over 150 people in attendance, and many others donating to this special fundraiser, we were able to raise over $40,000 to help Mikie win and #FliptheHouse!

Even with the high temperatures, the crowd was energized and engaged as Senator Booker roused our spirits with his moving words.  He spoke passionately about how we are living in a time when the very morals our Country was founded on are in jeopardy.  He asked very simply: What will you do in this moment?  I know I felt inspired to keep working toward victory this fall!

However, as Senator Booker so beautifully articulated, this struggle for our democracy isn’t about “Democrats” or “Republicans.”  It is about respecting human decency.  He reminded the audience of how wrong it was when former Governor Chris Christie was attacked for hugging President Obama during the Sandy Crisis and how wrong it was when fellow Democrats attacked him when he crossed the aisle to hug his fellow senator, John McCain, when McCain returned to Congress after his brain cancer diagnosis was announced.

I urge all of us in the coming months to remind ourselves of Senator Booker’s message as we seek to engage Independents and yes, Republicans.  That it is the values of the Democratic Party that inspire us to be members of this organization.

People like to talk about “machine politics” and while I too can be skeptical of “The Party,” what I have seen in the last year – the letter writing, the marching, the work of many neighbors coming together to change their communities – there is nothing “machine-like” about the course we are on together.  When Cory Booker and Mikie Sherrill spoke, it was with honesty and conviction.

Our job moving forward is to remember that here, in our Township, there are many people on “the other side of the aisle” who share our values, and we need to welcome them in.  They may never switch parties, but … they may vote off “their” line, and that’s all the proof we need that our message works and is inclusive!

Samantha Rothman is a longtime resident of Morris Township. She also lived in Morristown, where she served on the town's Environmental Commission for nine years. She is a graduate of Morristown High School, a founder of Grow it Green Morristown and a board member of the NJ Conservation Foundation. The viewpoint expressed in this blog post is not necessarily an official position of the Morris Township Democratic Committee.

 


It's Vital We Send Sherrill to D.C.

By Cece Kent

I urge every voter in New Jersey's 11th Congressional District to join me in supporting Mikie Sherrill.  Mikie represents what is the best in New Jersey values, having served her country as a Naval pilot and U.S. attorney

This will be no slam dunk election. Our opponents are desperate to keep this seat, which has been filled by Rodney Frelinghuysen for the past 24 years, in Republican control.

It is vital that NJ11th voters send a representative to Washington who will help counter the current administration’s damaging policies. President Trump and his accomplices have done much more in 18 months to undermine American democracy and harm New Jersey constituents than any other administration or institution. They have:

  • reduced our social safety net for the most vulnerable among us;
  • taken women's issues back decades;
  • refused to support shooting victims with reasonable gun control measures;
  • hurt NJ's economy by fighting the Gateway Tunnel;
  • increased income inequality for all but the top 1 percent with a tax bill that delivers 84 percent of its benefits to the richest individuals and corporations, while harming many "blue" state residents, including New Jerseyans, through state and local tax deduction limits;
  • raised the specter of human rights violations along our border by ripping children from their parents for the misdemeanor of entering our country illegally;
  • alienated our oldest and truest world allies while courting countries that want to harm our democratic way of life;
  • created trade conditions that hurt far more Americans than they help;
  • corruptly used their government offices to enrich themselves;
  • all the while, trying to change our value system from a truth-based, ethical culture to a flim-flam, con game where getting away with something for your own personal gain is totally justified.

Mikie will need all our support both with volunteer activities and fundraising to mount a successful campaign. Please help build the groundswell that will overtake our opponent and elect her.  For information on how you can help Mikie, check out www.mikiesherrill.com.

Cece Kent is a member of the Morris Township Democratic Committee and serves as the Democratic district representative for the township’s District 4. The viewpoint expressed in this blog post is not necessarily an official position of the Morris Township Democratic Committee.

 

 


The Land of Promise

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By Siva Jonnada

I was walking through the Children’s section of the Morris County Library and came across a series of books shown in the photo.

Considering how immigration has become such a hot and difficult topic as of late, it’s always important to remember that almost all of us came from somewhere else. We are all proud to be American and all that it means to us, but we can also be proud of our ancestral heritage. There are many reasons why our ancestors (or we) left the motherland, but they all came to America for what she promised. It’s hard to believe that there are those amongst us who don’t realize this. When they hear news that thousands of people pass through our borders seeking asylum, they ask why!  Oddly, they never seem to wonder why their own family came here. They only want to make it much more difficult for others to follow. I find this thinking unacceptable.

America was, is and will always be the land of promise for many of us who are here -- and for many who will follow. Eventually (and I hope someday soon), we will overcome these lost years and bring back the spirit of promise. We will accept those who wish to make this land their home and are more than willing to contribute to its greatness.

This was how the United States grew into a great nation -- and how it continues to grow. In New Jersey alone, people speaking hundreds of different languages have come here from all across the globe. They have contributed greatly to our economic vitality and strong social fabric.  Their presence really shouldn’t bother anyone, and need I remind you that immigration has been happening in America since its beginning.

The old-timers will always look askance at the newcomers, but the newcomers will keep coming.  Benjamin Franklin had complained about the large number of Germans settling in Pennsylvania and wondered if they’ll ever learn to speak English and be a part of this great experiment. Guess what! They did, and their descendants are still among the most hardest working people.

Many followed, and they too did much the same. My own family arrived in the United States more than 50 years ago. We’re a part of this country, and no one will be able to convince us otherwise.

I still believe in the promise that is America, and I will continue to strive to fulfill that promise. These lost years will be overcome, and it starts when we remember that promise and continue to pass it on to the next generation.

Siva Jonnada is a member of Morris Township Democratic Committee and is the Democratic district representative for the township’s District 14. The viewpoint expressed in this blog post is not necessarily an official position of the Morris Township Democratic Committee.

 



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