WASHINGTON – The first openly-gay lawmaker elected in Pennsylvania, state Rep. Brian Sims, praised Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey for supporting a bill Monday night that would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Sims, a Philadelphia Democrat, had particularly strong praise for Toomey, a Republican who is generally conservative on social issues but was one of seven Republicans to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), helping it move past a key procedural step and setting the stage for final Senate approval later this week.
“I have long believed that civil rights cannot be a one party issue. Sen. Casey has supported LGBT civil rights from nondiscrimination to marriage equality, and I am proud to see him continue to demonstrate that support tonight,” Sims said in a news release. “I am especially proud of Sen. Toomey who tonight confirmed to Americans across the nation that civil rights is not an issue of right and left, but an issue of right and wrong. Senator Toomey’s vote in support of ENDA shows that a conservative ideology and support for LGBT equality are not mutually exclusive.”
By Jonathan Tamari
WASHINGTON –Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) voted Monday night to advance a bill to ban workplace discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered individuals after an intense lobbying effort and only once the measure had received the 60 votes needed to clear a key procedural hurdle.
Toomey cast the 61st vote in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), but said he hopes to amend the measure as it proceeds toward a final Senate vote this week. He plans to offer a change to give more protections to religious groups.
UPDATED with comments from Booker's mother
WASHINGTON – Cory Booker, the nationally-known former mayor of Newark, was sworn in as a New Jersey Senator Thursday at noon, becoming the fourth popularly elected black Senator in American history.
Vice President Biden presided over the ceremony, watched by some 25 Booker family members as well as Bonnie Lautenberg – the widow of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, whose death created a vacancy that led to Booker’s election. The Lautenberg family had campaigned against Booker in the Democratic primary, but had a front-row seat in the Senate gallery, a few seats from Booker’s mother, for the swearing in.
WASHINGTON -- Hours into his term as a U.S. Senator, Cory Booker (D., N.J.) said economic recovery would be his top priority in Washington.
"Everybody I talk to from Cumberland County to Bergen County, people are talking about economic issues," he said. "Whether it's the foreclosure crisis that still goes on in New Jersey, whether it’s the fact that we have still too high unemployment rate in our state, whether it’s the fact that we have folks that are facing challenges with their children with too many people living in poverty, these are the issues that I’m excited to deal with."
Booker, speaking to reporters for the first time as a Senator, also reflected on his place in history as only the fourth African-American to be popularly elected to the Senate and the first since President Obama was elected to the chamber in 2004. Others have been appointed, making Booker the ninth African-American to serve in the Senate.
WASHINGTON -- Chiesa 2018?
New Jersey's interim Senator, who hasn't held elected office since being his high school senior class president in 1983, said Wednesday that he'd consider running for public office in the future after having an "amazing" (if brief) experience in the Senate.
"For me, it’s a family issue right now," Chiesa said, ruling out a run in 2014 (when Cory Booker will be up for re-election).
WASHINGTON -- Burlington County freeholder Aimee Belgard has filed papers for a potential run for Congress against Republican Jon Runyan.
Belgard, a Democrat, has filed a "statement of candidacy" with the Federal Election Commission. It is dated Oct. 1, though it was marked received by the FEC on the 18th and only recently became available to view online.
The statement does not commit Belgard to a run, though it shows that she is taking serious steps to do so. Belgard, of Edgewater Park, has also been in touch with Democratic donors and national Democratic operatives as she considers a 2014 run against Runyan, a former Eagles offensive lineman.
WASHINGTON -- Cory Booker will officially become New Jersey's newest Senator at noon on Oct. 31, Vice President Biden's office said Wednesday.
Booker, the Democratic mayor of Newark, won a special election last week over Republican Steve Lonegan.
He will replace Republican Sen. Jeff Chiesa, who was appointed by Gov. Christie to fill-in for the late-Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Lautenberg, a Democrat, died in office in June.
Jonathan Tamari / Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON – Cory Booker has plucked a Facebook leader to be his new Senate chief-of-staff.
Of course he has.