by David Lentz
On Monday I had the important opportunity to testify before the NJ State Senate in support of the Iran Business Certification and Sanctions Act.
The Community Relations Committee of MetroWest and Central NJ (CRC) introduced this bill to our legislators, Assemblymen John McKeon and Jon Bramnick and Senator Tom Kean on Super Sunday in December.
They took the ball and ran with it as they understand the urgency of the matter. Although foreign policy takes place at the federal level we all have a role to play in stopping Iran’s nuclear capacity. Local economic pressure works and it’s our responsibility to make sure it’s applied!
This was the third time in the past few weeks that our CRC took the lead in advocacy with our policy makers, letting them know our priority legislative and policy concerns and demanding their response:
On May 23, we organized a District 10 Candidates Forum for the five candidates running for Congressional office for the first time. The person elected to Congress will have an important role to play with our organization for years to come. The over 80 people who attended asked them hard questions. We then streamed the footage online to ensure those in their districts were educated on their positions. We also asked the candidates questions on their positions on Iran, Israel, and supporting vulnerable groups with their answers published in the May 23 issue of the New Jersey Jewish News. (Click here for more information.)
On June 1, we held a legislative breakfast where attended by 70 state senators and assemblymen/women. CRC members, in partnership with the executive directors of the federated agencies, engaged with these elected officials about Iran, support for seniors with priority focus on aging in place and transportation, and restoring Medicaid reimbursement to nursing homes. (Medicaid reimbursement has been cut by approximately $25 million; the current proposed budget restores only $5 million.) We only have a brief window of opportunity to advocate for a substantial increase. We cannot balance the budget on the back of our most vulnerable citizens.
On June 4, we testified in front of the NJ State Senate in support of the Iran bill. We hope the bill will be passed and signed in to law before the start of the summer recess.
As I count down the last days of my chairmanship of the CRC, I continue to be a proud and dedicated member of UJC MetroWest. The CRC is an important part of Federation and plays a unique role with legislators and in engaging in advocacy and education with the non-Jewish community.
As we become the CRC of Greater MetroWest NJ on July 1 we have strong relationships with seven Congressmen, two Senators, and 15 NJ Districts each made up of state senator and two assemblymen/women. We have a strong relationship with our State Association of Jewish Federations. We have a respected role to play at a communal table representing a diverse community.
Our Federation provides tangible services that positively impact our community and the community-at-large. This work must continue to be an integral part of the mission of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.