Right now New Jersey state senators run for two consecutive four year terms followed by a two year term. That two year term is designed to compensate for newly created district lines every ten years.
But recently State Senator Nicholas Scutari has proposed that the senate terms be lengthened to 5 year terms.
Scutari claims that the move would help to take some money out of politics by requiring state senators to have to pander to special interests a little less.
The claim is one of the most ludicrous excuses for unethical conduct since Jim McGreevey tried to blame his political shenanigans on his being a “gay-American”.
I must admit that Scutari has guts. He actually had the guts to tell people that instead of trying to change the negative aspects of politics,he wants to institutionalize them and reward the negative aspects by giving politicians longer terms in office. Instead of trying to elect people who do not pander to politics, accept political pandering and give the panderers a longer amount of time in office.
I called that guts but what it actually is is nerve.
It takes a lot of nerve for someone to come out and say “hey it costs me a lot of money to run for reelection and I don’t think I should have to pander for money from the people and ask them if I am doing a good job so often. So extend the length of time in my term”.
Nicholas Scutari truly is political scum.
As a a state senator he has been one of only three legislators to serve while under a subpoena during a federal investigation for accepting state budget grants that provided personal benefits. The questionable conduct of Scutari stems from the fact that his wife works for a non-profit organization that has received state funds.
Not only does this guy get a taxpayer funded salary for his legislative schemes, he also gets paid by taxpayers as a municipal prosecutor for the town of Linden in his senate district. So Scuatari lives off of the people he legislates. So much so, that he has been investigated. Yet his primary concern is how expensive it is for him to run for reelection. If that is the case he should do us a favor and not seek reelection. He is obviously overly concerned by that and not half as concerned as he should be with how expensive it has become for his constituents to live in New Jersey.
Furthermore; if money and costs are his concern, when it comes to elections, how about offering incentives for municipalities to hold elections on what we call Election Day. At times it would seem as though everyday is Election Day in New Jersey.
Be it municipal elections, for council or fire inspectors or school boards, the proliferation of different days of voting for different offices costs a great deal of money. It costs money to pay election workers and to move voting booths around. It costs money to print and mail ballots and to maintain the added manpower that an election requires.
Why not use the day set aside for elections to hold elections?
Instead of incurring costs for four or five different elections, incur one cost for one Election Day or at least fewer Election Days?
Such a move would also help to increase turnout for those scarcely voted on school board elections or lesser offices.
That is a money saving option worth looking at. But as for Scutari’s proposal. I can only offer a one finger salute and it is not a thumbs up.
If there is a change in the length of any state legislative term it should be a shortening of senate terms to every two years, not an increase in the term of office.
In New Jersey there is no reason for state senators to have a longer term than assembly members. Unlike places like New York, New Jersey State Senators have the same district as their counterparts in the assembly. In New York there are fewer state senators then assemblymen because their senate districts are twice the size of assembly districts. Here there is no difference. It is not as though New Jersey state senators have more ground to cover or constituents to address. They run in the same district as the assembly members do and they answer to the same number of constituents.
There is absolutely no need for state senators to have a five year term in office.
In Virginia, the Governor only has a two year term and I don’t think a New Jersey state senator needs more than twice as long a time in office than a Governor needs, in order to accomplish some good.
What Scutari neglected to mention was that the five year term in office would only help to make state senators less responsive to the needs of their districts and allow them more time to pander to special interests and raise even more money for their less frequent elections.
I do give Scutari some credit.
Even though it is very early in the year, he has already won the prize for the best legislative scheme put forth in Trenton this year.
Thank goodness for people like Senator Jennifer Beck who, although she is an incumbent state senator, she opposes this scam and she does so quite vocally. She does not support this blatant attempt to consolidate power and limit the will of the people. She has also proposed legislative reforms to prohibit people like Scutari from abusing the system. One such bill of Beck’s was just unanimously passed by the senate state government committee. The bill will not allow government officials to collect health care benefits from more than one publicly financed health insurance plan.
Hopefully there are enough legislators who think that way and will be able to put this proposal out of its misery. And hopefully the people of Scutari’s district will realize that they have a sneaky, little, schemer representing them and when the time comes, hopefully they will say “not only do we not want you to have a five year term, we don’t even want you to have another single term in office”.
A high-priced call girl brings a customer to her fancy apartment. He admires the fancy furnishings and the art and asks how she was able to amass such splendor. She replies that those really were her father’s, that he was a politician for forty years.
He said, “How come you didn’t follow in his footsteps instead of choosing this way of life?”
She sighed and said, “Oh, just lucky I guess. Besides, I had my moral standards to uphold.”