As the Democratic National Convention gets underway, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37) has announced she’s creating a “Jersey Girls Caucus” to get more women to vote and get involved in politics. She told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that the upcoming presidential election is very important, especially for women, and that the nation is better off now than it was four years ago.
While Weinberg said she is thinking about retiring, it’s not in the immediate future. She said she would wait until her mission of getting more women involved in politics is accomplished. Weinberg said she made that statement because of the venue. “We were attracting young women in our caucus to not only enjoy the convention, but to take the lessons learned at this convention — the themes, the ideas — back to their home areas; to talk about why this election is so important to women,” she said.
The big question asked when an incumbent president is up for reelection is if the nation is better off now than it was four years ago. Weinberg said the nation is better off now. “I know that we’re not at war in Iraq. I know that our economy is not hemorrhaging thousands of jobs every month. I know that women have rights to reproductive freedom. I know that we still have a healthy public school system in the United States,” she said. “And those are all things that are important to me, that are important to many of the women and certainly all the constituents I represent. So I can say yes we are better off than we were four years ago.”
Weinberg admits there is room for improvement and said the DNC is about moving forward together. “We are an inclusive party — inclusive age wise, gender, race, religion,” she said. “It is a cross section of the state of New Jersey and a cross section of our nation.”
According to Weinberg, this election is especially important to women because reproductive rights are tied to the economy since it affects family size. “If we don’t have a guarantee of reproductive freedom, then our economy is taken away from us so it’s an economic issue and it’s an issue of great importance to me as a mother, as a grandmother with a granddaughter who’s almost 9 years old, to her future and the future of all of the women in our country,” she said.
Weinberg said she’s not concerned that New Jersey delegates at the Republican National Convention had a prominent position and that Gov. Chris Christie delivered the keynote address. She said elections aren’t won at the conventions. “The convention is setting the stage,” she said. “It is about the issues that separate us from the Republicans.”
She said if voters want to learn about the core values of each party, they should read the platforms side by side, which will give them the answers. “I know that if you read those two documents, if you just look at it, you’ll know why we should be voting for Barack Obama and why we should be voting Democratic this year.”