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Assemblymen with similar voting records get different grades from veterans group

Assemblymen with similar voting records get different grades from veterans group

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Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and Chris Brown received radically different grades in a legislative scorecard by a veterans group, despite nearly identical voting records.

Mazzeo, D-Atlantic, received an A-minus, in large part for sponsoring 22 of 48 bills deemed important by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Department of New Jersey. Brown, R-Atlantic, scored a C-plus, as he was a sponsor of just seven bills.

Mazzeo voted “yes” on all 48 bills. Brown, an Army combat veteran, voted in favor of 47. The two are both running for re-election.

Lawmakers received a point for voting in favor of pro-veteran bills and received a bonus point for sponsoring bills. Points were not subtracted for no votes or abstentions.

Mazzeo is the prime sponsor of several veterans bills, including measures that provide tax credits and financial assistance to families of wounded or disabled veterans.

“I am extremely proud of my record of standing up for New Jersey’s veterans, and ensuring they have the services and respect they have more than earned by standing up for us,” Mazzeo said in a statement.

Brown said his lack of veteran-bill sponsorships was due to not being allowed to co-sponsor other lawmakers’ bills.

“I was shocked when Mazzeo and the Democrat majority prevented me from sponsoring many of the veterans bills, simply so Mazzeo could get a higher grade than me,” he said in a statement.

Atlantic County Freeholder Colin Bell, Mazzeo’s running mate for Assembly, said Brown “talks a good game, but his record says something else.”

“It’s easy to press a green button on a desk in Trenton, when you leave the heavy lifting to someone else,” Bell said in a statement.

Brown’s running mate is Freeholder Will Pauls.

Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic; state Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic; and state Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic all received an A-plus from the group. Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi, R-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, scored a B-minus.

Contact: 609-272-7215

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