I wear two hat’s writing this letter, first as a private citizen in the 1st CD in nj, as a progressive democrat and (until his pro-war vote 2003) a long term supporter of Rob Andrews. My second hat is as the Campaign Manager a Candidate who, as in Dec of 07, is still running for the congressional seat of the 1st CD in NJ, only just against another "Andrews".
I had been in the process of writing an op-ed to thank Rob Andrews for actually allowing a true Democrat to have a fighting chance at representing the people of the 1st congressional seat in NJ, when I read online about his wife Camille and how she has aligned herself with the “Camden County Machine” aka “Norcross Incorporated. Now, IF Mrs. Andrews is really serious about representing the people of the 1st CD then I applaud her activism, respect for the constitution and the electoral process. IF however, her motives are otherwise, well she has become nothing else but a political shill. To bad, as a mother, Dean of Rutgers and educator, I would have thought she had the ethics and moral integrity not to lower herself to the station of political “pawn” (to be polite). What kind of example does this set for her two daughters? What message has been sent to every student at Rutgers that still believes(ed) that access to government is open to all, that activism and participation are not only a right but a civic responsibility in the process and pursuit of good government? Even, if none of the above was a consideration, then at the very least have enough respect to consider the effect this would/has/will have on Rob’s campaign and career.
The Electoral Process in NJ and our country is only true voice the people have. it should be on the same level of respect as the Constitution, as part of our heritage and birthright. Yet power brokers, profiteers, party politicians, etc, continually abuse and the laws and our access. Even to the point they pervert the simple process of a candidate meeting the requirements to be on the ballot for a Primary.
As for the excuse Norcross uses for not having a candidate, that’s bull! A true democrat had already publicly announced his candidacy in December of 2007. One who believes in the power of the electorate to determine the direction of it government, not the immoral and corrupt influence of the money changers, developers, and corporations have over elected officials and political organizations.
His name is Mahdi Ibn-Ziyad, “Dr Z” as he is affectionately known to his students, and he is exactly what we need right now in Washington, a man with ethics, morals and the conviction to pursue a progressive agenda. Before Rob’s announcement, Dr Ziyad’s grass roots organization collected almost 500 signatures, way more than the 200 required to qualify to be on the ballot. He is a Progressive Democrat, (anti-war, pro bill of rights etc), a Vietnam veteran, a teacher, and activist, an American in every sense. So I don’t want to hear the excuses from “King George and his court” as they go about insulting the voters with their blatant abuse of our constitution (N.J. an U.S.). In essence, they are on the same level as Florida’s Republican Secretary of State (Kathryn Harris) in the 2000 presidential election. She also legally (?) and unethically managed to disenfranchise thousands of voters to influence the outcome of the election and our history. I hope she looses a lot of sleep knowing she helped put a regime in office cost America the lives of over 4,030 servicemen and women and the permanent maiming and disabling of tens of thousands more brave American soldier.
As a last thought, just remember if you are voting on June 3rd or are on the fence about volunteering or contributing, among all of the candidates, Dr Ziyad was the only one who had the courage and conviction to take on the incumbent Rob Andrews when the pundits and the wannabe politicos ignored him. You would never have heard from those “Johnny come latelys” that magically appeared if Rob had not made his announcement and decided not to run for the Senate. Bishop and Evans only ran when it was “safe” to run.
“I wonder, if elected will they use the same criteria when the “tough” votes came up in Congress when the time comes to stand and be counted as a representative of the people of the 1st district or just another go-along and follow the leadership congressmen?”
*I’m still not sure whether I should thank Rob or not”
Timothy J O’Neill, Progressive Democrat (and proud of it!)
Progressive Democracy South Jersey PDA/DFA
Campaign Manager for Mahdi Ibn-Ziyad for Congress’
Progressive Democrat (and proud of it!)