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Assemblyman Richard Bagger Considers His Next Post While Focusing on his Role as Appropriations Chairman
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By PAUL J. PEYTON
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
Editor’s Note: In a quest to continue to enhance The Westfield Leader’s and The Times of Scotch PlainsFanwood’s coverage of government, this paper will be meeting with our elected officials to gain a more comprehensive look at news on the federal, state, county and municipal levels.
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Now in his ninth year and fifth term in the State Legislature, Richard H. Bagger, 40, is gaining a strong reputation for his leadership in Trenton. A former Westfield Councilman and Mayor, Mr. Bagger is currently Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the General Assembly, one of the most powerful Assembly committees. Roughly half the bills introduced in the lower house of the legislature must go through the committee since they may have a
fiscal impact on the state. Mr. Bagger, who was first elected to the Assembly in 1992, is an attorney with Pfizer, Inc. in New York City, where he is involved in public affairs and public policy issues and deals with reimbursement for the company’s products.
With Assembly Speaker Jack Collins (R3rd) running for Governor next year, Majority Leader Paul DiGaetano (D36) is expected to become the new Speaker if Republicans retain the majority.
During a recent breakfast at The Westfield Diner, Mr. Bagger said he believes the Majority Leader post would be available to him if he stays in the Assembly. The Assemblyman is still considering his options, which also include running for the open State Senate seat of Donald T. DiFrancesco of Scotch Plains, the Senate President, who is also a candidate for Governor.
On the issue of redistricting, Mr. Bagger does not see a change coming
forth in the makeup of the 22nd Legislative District, a district which includes Westfield, Scotch, Fanwood and Mountainside. The district includes parts of Union, Somerset and Middlesex Counties. Prior to 1991, the district represented western portions of Union and Essex Counties.
The Assemblyman said the population has remained the same. Mr. Bagger feels any change may be the result of changes in the makeup of surrounding districts. Redistricting
CAMPAIGN KICKOFF... Westfield Republican Fourth Ward Town Council candidate Jay Boyle, sitting, in middle, held a fundraiser on June 28 at Classic Thyme in town. The event raised $4,000 for his campaign coffers. Pictured, left to right, are: seated, Frank Isoldi, Sr., Boyle Campaign CoChairman; Mr. Boyle, and Frank Isoldi Jr., Boyle Campaign CoChairman; standing, Rafael J. Betancourt, Karen Trzesniowski and Peter Echausse, GOP candidates for the Second, Third and First Wards, respectively; Russ Finestein 2nd, Boyle Campaign Treasurer, and First Ward Councilman and Mayoral contender Gregory S. McDermott.
Democratic nominee from the Seventh District, Maryanne S. Connelly
of Fanwood, has called on her Republican opponent, Michael A. Ferguson of Warren, to share his views with voters “on the sham GOP prescription drug bill passed in Congress” last month.
“My opponent has refused to be specific on an issue that is vital to the lives of New Jersey seniors and their families. They deserve to know where he stands on this important issue and if he supports the Republican bill,” said Mrs. Connelly, a former Mayor of Fanwood.
She said the bill would “flatten insurance company coffers rather than provide senior citizens with relief from the high cost of prescription drugs.”
Mrs. Connelly favors expanding Medicare coverage for prescription
District Seven Update
drugs for all seniors.
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Michael A. Ferguson recently praised the National Education Association for embracing a proposal to allow teachers’ compensations to be based on performance.
Mr. Ferguson, a former Bronx high school teacher and current community college professor, said he has called for “commonsense” reforms to improve schools to increase educational opportunities for all students.
He supports merit pay for good teachers in an effort to improve the classroom performance of students. The candidate said he hopes the New Jersey Education Association, which he said opposes merit pay for good teachers, “will follow the lead of the national organization and support progressive educational standards.”
“Merit pay is a good way to reward good teachers who inspire our children to learn,” stated Mr. Ferguson.
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Maryanne S. Connelly has received the endorsement of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League and Voters for Choice – a national organization dedicated to protecting a woman’s right to choose on the abortion issue.
NARAL Executive Vice President Alice Germond has said electing Mrs. Connelly “is essential to countering the onslaught of the antichoice Congress.”
“Government should not be involved in this personal decision that should be between a woman, her doctor and her God,” Mrs. Connelly responded.
Samuel, Tripet Begin Campaigns
In Scotch Plains
SCOTCH PLAINS — Scotch Plains Councilwoman Geri M. Samuel, Democratic candidate for Mayor of Scotch Plains, and Peter Tripet, the party’s candidate for Township Council, have launched their campaign for local government this week with their first campaign press release.
Voters approved a binding referendum last year to create an elected mayor post. Mayors up to now have been selected by the majority party on the council.
Mrs. Samuel, who served as a Mayor last year, and Mr. Tripet, a lifelong Scotch Plains resident, began knocking on doors in Scotch Plains in July in an effort to meet many local residents as possible on a onetoone basis.
“The best way to campaign is to speak with the speak. This will be our priority throughout the campaign. We intend to bring our message as advocates for responsive and responsible government to as many homes as possible by election day, November 7,” Councilwoman Samuel stated.
“Pete Tripet will be a real asset on the council. He is a lifelong resident with family roots going back five generations in Scotch Plains. He literally knows the township like the back of his hand. As a councilman, his youth and energy will represent a new resource to our local government,” she added.
Mr. Tripet commented that it has been “refreshing to meet local voters on their doorsteps.”
“It gives one quality time to listen to the concerns of our citizens. All too often in government we hear of people being left out of the process. Campaigning doortodoor is a surefire way to make certain that government is inclusive,” Mr. Tripet explained.
“Geri Samuel is a natural to be our community’s first directly elected mayor. As mayor last year, she earned a welldeserved reputation as a leader with courage and conviction. She is one who got the job done. She has the time and spirit to dedicate to the office of mayor,” he added.
Persons interested in taking part in the Democratic campaign may contact Democratic Chairwoman, Pamela E. Boright, at (908) 2260838 or the Scotch Plains Democratic Club President David B. Littman at (908) 7547575.
is done by a bipartisan commission which has yet to be formed.
Discussing important legislation moving through the state’s capitol, Mr. Bagger said his committee on June 22 passed the renewal for another four years of the state’s Transportation Trust Fund (TTF), a program which pays out some $900 million a year to fund transportation projects.
The bill calls for funding repairs to at least half of the deficient bridges
CONTINUED ON PAGE 5
Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)