Offshore wind power can be done safely
I’ve spent my life loving the state of New Jersey, a place that seems to be the perpetual underdog no matter how many artists, athletes and geniuses we’ve produced and nurtured. No matter where you go in the world, the saltwater taffy is never as sweet as it is from one of our boardwalks. I’ve lived through two financial crises and survived Superstorm Sandy and never dreamed of leaving this paradise the world too often treats as a joke.
But I do worry about the future New Jersey holds for my daughter. Will she be forced to move as rising seas flood parts of our state? Unless we take bold action to reduce reliance on fossil fuels that worsen the danger and destruction climate change is bringing, and unless we embrace clean energy technology like offshore wind power that will boost the economy, opportunities will decrease for future generations.
Through my work with the New Jersey Resource Project, I have talked to people all over South Jersey who share my fears about the world we’re leaving for our kids and grandkids. We know we need solutions such as offshore wind to lower harmful greenhouse emissions. We must be stewards of the beautiful coastline and farmland so many enjoy and get economic benefit from throughout the year.
Because the Jersey Shore is unique and iconic, change can feel threatening. But offshore wind can be implemented safely and responsibly. With community voices coming together to fight for good-paying jobs, cabling plans that prioritize the well being of people and marine life, and for studies to continue after construction to promote accountability, we can make sure offshore wind works for us. Everyone in New Jersey deserves a safe place to live — a place to call home for generations to come.
Move needle exchange to area all accept
The Atlantic City Council voted to end its support for the existing needle exchange program that has been in the city for 14 years and had been supported by the governing body at the time it was created. The program started when Atlantic City was in its prime.
All the great work that Oasis has done over the years to help people addicted to drugs cannot be denied. The needle exchange is just part of a complete program they provide. The various medical services and more importantly, the counseling, are just as if not more critical.
There was talk of relocating Oasis near the Atlantic City Rescue Mission. I think this would make perfect sense. The whole idea of a rescue mission is to help people who are struggling physically, emotionally and financially. Their mission statement says these services are for “the poor and those who are bound and bruised by addictive lifestyles.” These two organizations go hand and hand. The Rescue Mission helps people with addictive lifestyles.
Councilman Shabazz said the needle exchange program through Oasis is important, but Atlantic City shouldn’t have to be the only one supporting all the communities in South Jersey. I believe the positives far outweigh the negatives when you look at Oasis. Officials should work with them to save this program. Relocating the Oasis center to another part of the city makes senses but eliminating the program does not. This is about saving lives.
City Council should seriously consider relocating the Oasis center to an area that works for everybody.
Child care funding helps women, workers
With New Jersey on the road to recovery and businesses scrambling to fill job openings, child care accessibility will impact just how many residents are able to return to work.
Necessary yet costly COVID-19 safety measures forced many child care providers to permanently close last year and left others struggling to stay afloat, making child care more inaccessible to families than ever before.
Mothers have been hit hardest by this lack of child care, with increased care-giving responsibilities often falling to women during the pandemic. Mothers had to leave the workforce at a rate of six times more than fathers, and many of the 1.4 million mothers who left the workforce have yet to return.
If the state cannot provide access to affordable, quality child care, many women will be unable to return to the workforce. This would leave businesses with fewer prospective employees and would exacerbate socioeconomic gender inequalities for years to come.
That’s why I sponsored three bills to support the child care industry during this difficult time. Two made $10 million in federal funds and $10 million in state funds available to support providers impacted by the pandemic, while the final measure appropriated $100 million to help revitalize the industry and award grants to struggling providers.