Community Election Politics

SOMADEMS to Host Johnson, Wisniewski at Meet the Governor Candidates Forum- 3/2

The following is from SOMADEMS

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John Wisniewski (Left), Jim Johnson (Right)

SOMADEMS will host Democratic gubernatorial candidates Jim Johnson and New Jersey state Assemblyman John Wisniewski at the group’s first Meet the Governor Candidates Forum on Thursday, March 2, from 7:30-10 p.m. at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) (1 SOPAC Way, South Orange, N.J.).

“This November, New Jersey residents will select their next governor. At this point, there are five Democratic candidates. SOMADEMS will be inviting all of them to talk to our group,” said Ritu Pancholy, a South Orange resident and co-founder of SOMADEMS. “Now, more than ever, voters have to meet the candidates who are running for office and make their own determination as to who is the best person to lead New Jersey in the future.”


The Candidates Forum will be moderated by Antony Bugg-Levine, a South Orange resident who has as part of the communications team for the South African Human Rights Commission and the National Election Campaign of the African National Congress (ANC), where he was a speechwriter for Nelson Mandela. Bugg-Levine is the CEO of Nonprofit Finance Fund but is moderating the forum on his own personal behalf and not as part of his position with NFF.

Johnson, of Montclair, is a lawyer who has spent the last two years bringing together members of the civil rights and law enforcement communities in a collaboration known as New Jersey Communities Forward – a project within the NJ Institute for Social Justice. He formerly served as a U.S. Department of Treasury official under then-President Bill Clinton and a federal prosecutor. Johnson also served as co-counsel and chairman of the Brennan Center for Justice.

“Now, more than ever, New Jersey needs a Governor who is willing to put the interests of the people over the interests of the powerful,” Johnson said. “Over the course of my career, I have challenged the powerful on behalf of everyday people and won. I believe in the power of democracy. I believe that our society is stronger when each and every voice is heard. As Governor, I will end the under-the-table culture in Trenton and put power back in the hands of the New Jerseyans.”

Wisniewski, of Sayreville, has served in the New Jersey General Assembly since 1995 where he has worked to improve roads and bridges as chairman of the transportation committee. Also as chairman, he led an investigation into the Gov. Chris Christie Bridgegate scandal. Wisniewski has sponsored legislation to increase the minimum wage, led efforts to expand voting rights, and was an early sponsor of legislation to provide marriage equality for the LGBT community.

“I look forward to speaking about how I will bring progressive policies to the Governors office so that we finally have a government that works for everyone and not just a wealthy few,” Wisniewski said.

SOMADEMS (South Orange and Maplewood Democrats) is a new, grassroots organization based in South Orange and Maplewood, N.J., that supports Democratic candidates and progressive issues important to our towns on the local, state and federal level. The group includes more than 900 politically active residents.

“Come out to this local forum and hear from the candidates themselves,” said Pancholy of SOMADEMS. “Bring your questions and your passion.”

For more information on the Candidates Forum, please visit the Facebook Event site: https://www.facebook.com/ events/1233718606706352/

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