Atlantic County Democrats Seeking 2017 Candidates

MARGATE – In the spirit of openness and transparency, the Atlantic County Democratic Committee is seeking hard-working, distinguished members of the community to run for elected office at the county and local levels in the 2017 election.
“Since the disappointing results of the presidential election, we’ve seen a drastic increase in the number of people who want to get involved in the democratic process,” said Mary Slomine, Vice Chairwoman of the Atlantic County Democrats. “We look forward to reviewing resumes of prospective candidates who want to make a difference in their communities.”
Those who are interested in running for office or would like to learn more about becoming a candidate are asked to submit a resume and a cover letter (500-word maximum) to Resumes will be referred to a review committee.

Whelan & Mazzeo Bill to Help Businesses Stay in Atlantic County Signed into Law

Legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Whelan and Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D - Atlantic) that would help existing industrial businesses in the Pinelands grow and create jobs was signed into law by Governor Christie today.
The law would allow existing rural development areas zoned for industrial use in the Pinelands to qualify for incentives through the Grow New Jersey and Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) programs.
"This is a great day for Atlantic County," said Senator Whelan. "Working in a bipartisan fashion, we were able to implement a law that is going to help Atlantic County's largest manufacturing facility expand and create jobs."

"Atlantic County families are still reeling from the recent casino closings," said Assemblyman Mazzeo. "Extending incentives to companies who want to stay and grow in New Jersey will provide a much-needed lifeline to our region while at the same time having no negative effect on our beautiful Pinelands."
The new law will help Comar, a company located in Buena Vista Township that manufactures plastic bottles and other specialty packaging materials for medication, powders, supplements, and more. Given the company's growth, Comar is at the point that it needs to expand its existing facility or it will be forced to leave New Jersey. Once Comar gets assistance from the state Economic Development Authority to expand, it will create approximately 150 new jobs and bring in more tax revenue to the township.
"I appreciate Senator Whelan and Assemblyman Mazzeo's leadership on this issue," said Buena Vista Township Mayor Chuck Chiarello."Our region cannot afford to lose any more jobs or businesses. This new law is a win-win for Comar and Atlantic County."
Senator Whelan and Assemblyman Mazzeo noted that he solicited feedback from various environmental groups on the legislation, including the Sierra Club. Comar will not be increasing its footprint, and the law narrowly applies to existing businesses already zoned for industrial use.

South Jersey Democrats Endorse Murphy for Governor

Murphy To Run On Team Of Regular Democratic Party Organization Candidates Led By Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, And Including Party-Endorsed Candidates For County Row Offices and Boards of Freeholders

The Democratic Party leadership in Southern New Jersey has endorsed Phil Murphy for governor, saying he has the experience and vision to revitalize the state's economy and bring needed reforms to Trenton.

Murphy and the region's Democratic leaders have agreed to run together with all candidates endorsed by the county party organizations for State Senate, General Assembly, and county Row Offices and Boards of Freeholders. Their names will appear in the Regular Democratic Organization column in each of the seven southern New Jersey counties.

In endorsing Murphy, the region's Democratic county chairs, State Senate and General Assembly candidates praised his plans to grow the state's economy by investing in infrastructure and innovative business, fully funding public schools to relieve pressure on local taxpayers, and to make college more affordable. They said he would be a champion of middle- and working-class residents whose financial hardships require a governor who understands those concerns and has the fresh, bold ideas needed to resolve them.

In a joint statement supporting Murphy, the county chairmen said:

"Our next governor must be someone with new ideas for moving our economy ahead and making the state a better place to call home. After meeting with Ambassador and talking about our shared middle-class values, we are proud to give him our support.

"We are all concerned about the political hostility and divisive rhetoric so common in our nation and here in our state. We believe that Phil has the temperament and desire to help bridge those divides and bring competence and civility to Trenton. It's time for us to come together to focus on rejuvenating our economy, creating good jobs at livable wages, and ensuring that every child can receive a world-class education from kindergarten through college.

"To accomplish these goals, we need a governor who shares New Jersey's values and who will work in partnership with us to make them a reality. Phil Murphy will be that partner -- and he will be that governor. He is the only candidate with the ability to bring people together for the common good.

"Especially now, faced with the uncertainties of a Donald Trump presidency, we need a governor with the strength and commitment to stand up for New Jersey, a governor who will guide our state with a strong but fair hand. As Democrats, but more importantly as citizens of America, our road back begins right here in New Jersey in 2017.

"Over the coming months, we look forward to joining with Phil as he meets with the residents of South Jersey and listens to their concerns. And we look forward to working with him to confront the serious challenges facing our state."

Chairman Michael Suleiman, Atlantic County
Chairman Joseph Andl, Burlington County
Chairman and State Senator Jim Beach, Camden County
Chairman Jeff Sutherland, Cape May County
Chairman Doug Long, Cumberland County
Chairman and State Senator Fred Madden, Gloucester County
Chairman Steve Caltabiano, Salem County

Suleiman Condemns GOP's Anti-Union Rhetoric

Atlantic County Democratic Chairman Michael Suleiman condemned the Atlantic County Republicans for their anti-union rhetoric and attacks on the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters:

"I am deeply troubled by the anti-union rhetoric emanating from the Atlantic County Republicans. They believe the Koch brothers should be allowed to spend billions of dollars influencing our elections, but a labor union supports one of its own for elected office and that’s bad? This is especially ironic considering Republicans in Atlantic County have received $120,000 from the Carpenters Union since 2006.
"I’m proud that our candidates have the support of the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters, and I’m especially proud that we have the opportunity to elect Union carpenter Steve Stokes to the Freeholder Board on Tuesday.
"Our party will always stand side-by-side with organized labor to improve the lives of working families in Atlantic County."

GOP Chair's Comments about "Stolen" Elections Reprehensible

(Absecon) Atlantic County Democratic Chairman Michael Suleiman reprimanded his Republican counterpart for carelessly claiming that the Atlantic County Democrats "steal elections."

Yesterday on The Don Williams Show on 1400 WOND AM, Atlantic County Republican Chairman Keith Davis said "we just can't let the Democrats steal another election in this county" and insinuated that the Democrats have used dirty tricks to rig elections.

"Keith Davis is fanning the Donald Trump flame of saying our elections are rigged," said Suleiman. "This kind of rhetoric is totally reprehensible and threatens the integrity of our cherished electoral process."

"If the Atlantic County Democrats are supposedly 'stealing elections,' we're certainly not good at it considering that the Republicans have a super-majority on the Freeholder Board" said Suleiman. "Keith either needs to apologize for his stupid comments or offer substantive proof of what elections we've exactly stolen. He needs to put up or shut up."

"I have every confidence in all of Atlantic County's election officials to conduct a fair and free election next week. Despite what Keith says, I would tell the voters of Atlantic County that your votes will be counted and will matter," said Suleiman.

Letter: County Democratic chairman says Trump is unqualified

It is abundantly clear that Donald Trump is grossly unqualified to be commander-in-chief. He is clueless about international affairs and questions the NATO alliance, which has been a cornerstone of American foreign policy for almost 70 years. Trump says he knows more about ISIS than “the generals do,” but I highly doubt he could even name one United States general.

This past summer, a group of 50 highly acclaimed former national security officials, including former Homeland Security secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, wrote that Trump “would be a dangerous president and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.” Truer words have never been spoken. Perhaps one day the Republicans in this region will also have the courage to speak out against their presidential candidate.

Michael Suleiman

Chairman, Atlantic County Democratic Committee

Galloway Township

Suleiman, Bell Condemn Trump's Vile Remarks Against Women

Atlantic County Democratic Chairman Michael Suleiman and former Atlantic County Freeholder Colin Bell responded to presidential candidate Donald Trump's vile remarks about sexually assaulting women:

"Mr. Trump's remarks are downright disgusting," said Chairman Suleiman. "Making light about taking advantage of women and sexually assaulting them should not be tolerated by anyone, much less by a man seeking to become our next commander-in-chief."

"What Donald Trump described doing to women is not just disgusting, it is also a crime, and there is no statute of limitations on sexual assault in New Jersey," said former Atlantic County prosecutor and freeholder Colin Bell, "Not only should local Republicans denounce his criminal behavior but law enforcement should immediately begin an investigation to determine if he committed any of these depraved acts at his Atlantic City casinos and if there is sufficient evidence to warrant criminal charges."  Bell pointed out that, as in the case of Bill Cosby, it is possible to bring a criminal prosecution even many years after a sexual assault occurred if corroborating evidence is uncovered.

"If, after all this, the Atlantic County Republicans don't join Republican Freeholder Alex Marino in renouncing Mr. Trump, then none of their members deserve to hold elected office anywhere in Atlantic County," said Suleiman.

Letter: Back Stokes for Freeholder

I support Steve Stokes in the freeholder race for District 4 (Galloway Township, Absecon, Brigantine and Port Republic).

Rich Dase Jr. is a nice enough guy but he has served on the freeholder board for almost 10 years with nothing to show for it. Time and again he has supported the county’s uncheck-ed spending habits while taxes continue to rise. Further, I can’t remember the last time he actually had his own resolution or ordinance up for a vote.

We need actual leadership. Stokes honorably served the nation for 22 years in the Army, including tours in Iraq and at the Pentagon. Now, he’s a union carpenter, whose sole responsibility is to put his members to work. That’s the kind of can-do attitude and fresh new voice needed at the county level.

In this election, we need to move out the old and put in the new. People should disregard party affiliation and vote for the person who won’t just be a rubberstamp for business as usual, and even worse spending as usual.

Jerry Savell

Galloway Township

The Press of Atlantic City, 10-6-2016

Endorsements Pour in for Steve Stokes for Freeholder

The Steve Stokes for Freeholder campaign announced an unprecedented list of endorsements for Stokes’ candidacy, including:

  • New Jersey State AFL-CIO
  • Atlantic-Cape May Central Labor Council (CLC)
  • Atlantic County Council of Education Associations (ACCEA)
  • Stockton Federation of Teachers Local 2275 (SFT)
  • South Jersey Building and Construction Trades

“I’m honored by the outpouring of support by organized labor and working families in Atlantic County,” said Steve Stokes, a Union carpenter and retired Army Master Sergeant. “The residents of Galloway, Absecon, Brigantine and Port Republic deserve a Freeholder that will work hard to make their lives better, not a career politician interested in keeping his seat.”
Despite being an incumbent Freeholder and a member of the NJEA, Freeholder Rich Dase, Jr. failed to get the endorsement of any labor union in Atlantic County, including his own.
“Steve’s always been a fighter,” said former Galloway Councilman Jim Gorman, who is also a member of the executive board of Operating Engineers Local 68. “He wore the uniform of our country and fought to preserve our freedom, he fights on behalf of the members of his union, and he will fight for the people of Atlantic County to get taxes in balance, rejuvenate our economy, and provide services to our seniors.”
“It has been an honor sharing a ballot with our next Freeholder Steve Stokes,” said Absecon Mayor John Armstrong. “We need more partners in county government to continue the success we’ve enjoyed here in Absecon. Steve will be a good friend to our city and help us make Absecon an even better place to live and raise a family.”
Steve Stokes is running in the Fourth Freeholder District, which is made up of the municipalities of Absecon, Brigantine, Galloway Township and Port Republic. For more information about Steve Stokes, go to

Mazzeo: Don't be misled by supporters of North Jersey casinos

By Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D - Atlantic)

Last week, Jeffrey Gural, the man behind the effort to put a casino in the Meadowlands Racetrack complex in Bergen County, penned an guest commentary filled with falsehoods about the millions of dollars that would be diverted to Atlantic City for the purposes of economic development and job creation. Nowhere does it say that he stands to profit millions on the backs of South Jersey families.

I feel it necessary to call out Gural and the supporters of this disastrous effort for spreading false promises to voters. Let me be unequivocally clear: Atlantic City receiving $200 million a year is nothing more than conjecture - an attempt to deceive voters into believing that this misguided plan will benefit Atlantic City and the area's hard-working middle-class families and seniors.

Here is the reality: To date, there has been no legislation put forward to provide for the tax rate of these new casinos, where they would be located and how casino operators would be chosen, just to name a few of the mysteries surrounding this issue.

For months, the supporters of this referendum have met behind closed doors without an honest and transparent plan to show the voters. Now, in a matter of days, residents across the state will be receiving their vote-by-mail ballots and will be casting their vote on a referendum without pertinent information from the individuals supporting it.

According to a study by the renowned Morowitz Gaming Advisors, here's what is likely to happen if this referendum passes: North Jersey could take $1.4 billion in gaming dollars out of Atlantic City. That would mean the closure of three to five casinos and loss of over 20,000 jobs, ranging from casino employees and vendors to businesses on the Boardwalk and in surrounding communities. That loss is worth $2 billion from the local economy.

Additionally, Atlantic County - which already leads the nation in home foreclosures - will face an even greater housing crisis with thousands of new families unable to make mortgage payments or put food on the table on for their children.

The supporters of North Jersey casinos have not one study, not one shred of fact to back up their claims. If you believe Atlantic County is on the wrong track now, just wait until two North Jersey casinos open.

In all, whatever new gaming revenue Atlantic City would receive in this scheme will never outweigh the economic collapse the region would face. Never.

The effort to expand casino gaming is on life support. In November, let's end it once and for all. Join me on Election Day in voting no to expanding casino gaming to North Jersey so we can protect hard-working families from being sent to the unemployment line.

Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo, D-Atlantic, is also a small-business owner.

The Press of Atlantic City, 9/22/16