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DiFrancesco Proposal Would Add Grassroots Activists Among Delegates By PAUL J. PEYTON
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
SCOTCH PLAINS — With national Republican Party leaders gathering in the City of Brotherly Love this week, New Jersey State Senate President Donald T. DiFrancesco has unveiled a proposal to expand the number of convention delegates. Any rule changes would have to be approved this year for the 2004 convention.
The added seats via Mr. DiFrancesco’s proposal would be filled by grassroots activists.
New Jersey currently sends 54 delegates to the convention. The senator’s plan would increase that number to 67.
Currently, 2,066 delegates and 2,066 alternate delegates will be attending this year’s GOP convention
in Philadelphia, which begins Sunday. Each state is given a base of six atlarge delegates in addition to three delegates per Congressional district. New Jersey has 13 Congressional districts.
Each state also is awarded bonus delegates. For instance, New Jersey
was eligible to send additional delegates for electing a Republican governor and a GOP majority in both houses of the state legislature.
Nationally, Mr. DiFrancesco’s plan
CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
Smithereens’ Drummer Pat Dinizio Joins U. S. Senate Candidate Field as an Independent
By PAUL J. PEYTON
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
SCOTCH PLAINS — If New Jersey’s United States Senate race wasn’t entertaining enough between a former Wall Street billionaire and a veteran Congressman, add rock bank guitarist of the Smithereens, Pat Dinizio, 44, to the mix.
The new candidate said he hopes to follow the lead of other entertainers, such as former actor and President Ronald Reagan, former New York Knick and exUnited States Senator Bill Bradley and actorturnedUnited States Senator Fred Thompson.
“I think we (entertainers) possess the people skills and the life experience” to make the transition to politics, said Mr. Dinizio. “I’m not a career politician. So my intention is not to get elected by numbing your brain with feel good lies. My intention is to get elected by representing the truth that we all feel in our heart.”
In front of a group of newspaper, television and radio reporters in his small campaign office on Westfield Avenue in Scotch Plains, the candidate promised supporters an “exciting, realitybased campaign.”
The Smithereens have been around for 20 years. They have recorded nine albums, with sales in excess of $6 million, including a few Gold
records. They are known for hits such as “Blood and Roses,” “A Girl Like You” and “Too Much Passion.”
Mr. Dinizio is a 1973 graduate of Scotch PlainsFanwood High School and attended Middlesex County College and New York University. He left college to pursue a career with the Smithereens.
While a member of the Reform Party, he does not support likely Presidential nominee Pat Buchanan. The party is not recognized in New Jersey since it has yet to achieve 10 percent of the vote in Assembly races. Mr. Dinizio will run with the Reform Party of New Jersey slogan below his name on ballots.
He said he is neither to the left or right of the political aisle, but rather in the middle, where he hopes to bring a consensus among people.
His campaign manger, Daniel M. Nozza, noted Mr. Dinizio may still run on the Buchanan line should he be chosen as the nominee at the Reform Party’s upcoming national convention, to be held August 10 to 13 in Long Beach, Calif. Mr. Nozza said Mr. Dinizio may also decide to run as an independent.
To compete with the Democrats’ donkey and Republicans’ elephant, Mr. Dinizio is using a rhinoceros as his mascot.
The candidate said his campaign will seek to generate a statewide
movement “that recruits average citizens like you and me to run for public office.” He said his campaign will focus on “the empowerment of the American worker and the American family.”
His platform will focus on reforming the political process through campaign finance reform that restores a democracy and gives back political power to the people, and reforming America’s trade and foreign policies.
One of a reported nine independent candidates who filed nominating petitions in June for the Senate seat, Mr. Dinizio said the goal is to allow Americans “to take back our state and country.”
“We are going to blow politics as usual to smithereens,” he quipped.
Mr. Dinizio said the United States is not as rosy as the picture President Bill Clinton and other politicians have tried to paint. He said America is mired in a $6 trillion trade deficit, while married couples have to work two and three jobs to support their families. He said this has left no one to teach children family values.
“How can the political puppets and corporate puppet masters expect us to believe that everything is wonderful when so many of my friends and neighbors are buried in debt?”
he asked. Mr. Dinizio said many people he knows are paying 29 percent interest on credit cards or are buried in excessive property and income taxes, “while receiving little or possibly no tax benefit.”
The candidate also pointed to New Jersey’s overcrowded highways and airways and “record high personal bankruptcies and record high national trade deficits.”
He said his opponents, former Chairman of Wall Street brokerage firm Goldman Sachs, Jon Corzine of Summit, and fourterm Republican Congressman Bob Franks of Berkeley Heights, “represent precisely what is wrong with politics in America today.” He said they illustrate how special interests and global corporations “conspired” to buy the global process and destroy democracy while owning elected officials through corporate campaign Political Action Committee campaign contributions.
“I am not saying that my two opponents are identical. What I am saying is that they are two sides of the same golden coin,” the candidate further stated.
Looking at his two opponents, he recalled the words of rock star Gerry Garcia, “Voting for the less of two evils is still voting for evil.”
Paul J. Peyton for The Westfield Leader and The Times FROM SMITHEREENS TO SENATE?... Smithereens guitarist Pat Dinizio of Scotch Plains kicked off his independent campaign for the United States Senate Tuesday by entertaining reporters.
Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)