He vowed to be a partner in advocating for Latino issues, and expressed willingness and good disposition to work closely with LLANJ in addressing priorities such as education, fair political representation, economic development and immigration.

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LLANJ Board of Delegates and Nj Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) Rutgers University’s School of Law Saturday, January 21, 2017.

Trenton, NJ.— The Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey (LLANJ), the oldest & largest state-wide organization advocating for the socio-economic and political empowerment of NJ diverse communities, held its trimestral Board of Delegates meeting on Saturday, January 21, 2017 at Rutgers School of Law in Newark.

The meeting’s agenda included a review of the organization’s strategic plan, mission and objectives, as well as accomplishments of 2016, upcoming LLANJ Board of Delegates leadership elections, upcoming redistricting process, LLANJ annual gala slated to take place on May 17th, 2017, and the graduation ceremony of the Latino Leadership Academy Class of 2017.

In the customary public session, Ms. Efe Odeleye made a presentation about the Achievers Academy for Science and Technology, which she co-founded and leads, with the purpose of seeking LLANJ’s support in raising awareness of the Academy’s innovative focus on opportunities to students interested in STEM disciplines, including mathematics, science and technology. She indicated that the program of study has been designed to include general academic core subjects such as English, social studies, world language, and mathematics.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex)

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex)

Another speaker participating in the public session of the meeting was Assemblyman and candidate for governor John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), who had formally requested the opportunity to address LLANJ Board of Delegates with the purpose of introducing himself and to answer any questions about his positions on matters of concern to LLANJ.

LLANJ President Dr. Maria Teresa Montilla welcomed Assemblyman Wisniewski and advised him of LLANJ’s policy to not endorse candidates during primary elections, as such elections are activities of two private organizations— the Republican and the Democratic parties— that, excluding non-members, select candidates for the general elections. LLANJ is open however, to any candidate of any party, or unaffiliated, at any time, who wishes to address the Board of Delegates on matters of mutual concern.  LLANJ will hear from candidates in the general elections for endorsement purposes.

After thanking President Montilla and LLANJ Board of Delegates for the opportunity, and acknowledging the role LLANJ has played in New Jersey politics over the past 17 years, Assemblyman Wisniewski indicated that, rather than attempting to secure an endorsement now, he was interested in discussing his agenda and identifying areas of mutual interest for collaboration with LLANJ.  The Assemblyman proceeded to, methodically, comprehensively and graciously outline his vision for New Jersians and for the Latino Community in particular.

He vowed to be a partner in advocating for Latino issues, and expressed willingness and good disposition to work closely with LLANJ  in addressing priorities such as education, fair political representation, economic development and immigration.

“As Governor I get to say a lot to the legislature. A couple of things I would do on day one: Day one it would be an executive order on minimum wage for state employees and I would tell the Legislature to send me a bill on the minimum wage. I would say to the Legislature, send me a bill on drivers license…”

LLANJ delegates posed questions on most areas of their concern, and his position on economic development, immigration, education policy, charter schools, redistricting, fair political representation, and his campaign for governor.

LLANJ Vice President Paul Perez asked about Wisniewski’s campaign strategy, considering other competitors from his own Democratic Party; Patty Bombelyn, Esq., asked him to state his position on education and charter schools; Delegate Felix Flores requested a response on his plans for economic development and jobs creation; Delegate Nestor Montilla, Sr. reminded and rebuked the Assemblyman for his controversial 2012 redistricting plan –  which several leaders deemed as adverse to achieve fair political representation for Latinos in Perth Amboy and New Brunswick; Treasurer Ken Seda asked for his position on drivers license for undocumented; Vice President Luis Vargas asked about his position regarding establishing formal communication and consultation channels with LLANJ once he is governor; Delegate from Trenton Gino Hernandez asked Assemblyman Wisniewski to state his plans to hire Latinos to high ranking positions in he becomes governor; and community of faith leader Juanita Lopez posed the issue of immigration and the need for an amnesty.

Assemblyman Wisniewski handled rebuke and challenging questions in a candid manner; he admitted having been criticized for his redistricting plans, and calmly stressed his interest in coalescing with advocacy organizations and working closely with them and LLANJ to make sure the Latino and diverse communities of New Jersey get fair representation at the end of the upcoming redistricting process.

As customary, LLANJ encourages anyone interested in addressing its Board of Delegates to request an opportunity to speak during the public session. Delegates reserve de right to ask questions, and make comments and recommendations as they see fit.

The next LLANJ Board of Delegates meeting will be in April 8, 2017 at Rutgers University’s School of Law at 123 Washington Street Newark, NJ.
More details via www.llanj.org

ABOUT LLANJ
The Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey (LLANJ) is a 501 (c) (3) organization established in 1999 to mobilize and empower Latino communities to obtain political, economic, and social equity and unify organizations and individuals in advocating for the rights and advancement of Latinos throughout the state of New Jersey. www.llanj.org