Jane Fonda, Sen. Bernie Sanders Jump into NJ Politics
New Jersey political issues have drawn recent attention from two “outsiders” in actress and activist Jane Fonda and Bernie Sanders, the U.S. senator from Vermont.
On Tuesday, Fonda endorsed a Democratic challenger in a state Senate race, highlighting her environmental commitments.
Days earlier, Sanders visited NJ for a “nursing crisis” hearing near the ongoing strike of nurses in New Brunswick.
Fonda backs Clarke’s NJ challenge of Sen. Bucco
Democrat Christine Clarke is running against incumbent state Senate Minority Leader Anthony M. Bucco.
The 25th legislative district now spans parts of Morris County as well as Passaic County’s West Milford.
Bucco, a Republican, has been a state Senator since 2019. Before that, he was an Assemblyman starting in 2010.
Clarke on Tuesday shared a brief video from Fonda, adding “We are thrilled and honored to be endorsed by Jane Fonda Climate PAC.”
The PAC has a mission statement that says in part, “We have to cut our fossil fuel emissions in half in the next eight years to avoid complete climate disaster. That means we have just four election cycles to elect politicians who will stand up to the fossil fuel industry and fight for the future of our planet.”
“We will make sure politicians who support oil and gas are as afraid for their jobs as we are about the impending climate disaster,” according to the PAC website.
Sanders to hospital leaders: ‘I don’t understand what you’re doing’
On Oct. 27 , the former presidential candidate hosted a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee field hearing.
The session — amid the roughly three-month-long strike of 1,700 nurses at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital — was titled “Overworked and Undervalued: Is the Severe Hospital Staffing Crisis Endangering the Well-Being of Patients and Nurses?”
Sanders said that he asked both hospital president Alan Lee and RWJBarnabas Health CEO Mark Manigan to testify — both declined, but submitted written statements.
“I understand that, you know, politicians are not held in high regard — but maybe CEOs of large corporations are held in even less high regard,” Sanders said in a video clip of the hearing posted to the Senator’s YouTube channel.
He continued “I would hope very much that the Management of Robert Wood Johnson comes back to the table, they sit down and negotiate a reasonable contract which must include adequate patient-nurse ratios and that instead of being at odds with their Union they work together to become a model for this country.”
The video clip also included testimony from several of the striking nurses, who detailed the ways that patient care has suffered from lower than needed nurse to patient staffing ratios.
In response, an RWJUH spokesperson said in a statement issued to NJ.com, “It’s unconscionable that the Senior Senator from Vermont overtly inserts himself into labor negotiations between a hospital in New Jersey and our nurses — and his public statements today illustrate that true intent.”
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Gallery Credit: Stacker