Bill to Help Spur Innovation & Economic Growth through Higher Ed & Business Partnerships Continues Advancing
Assembly-approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gary S. Schaer, Mila Jasey, Gordon Johnson, Andrew Zwicker, Thomas Giblin and Joann Downey to create a commission comprised of higher education and business professionals to study and strategize on best ways to foster innovation, job growth and economic development in the state was advanced Monday by a Senate panel.
The bill (A-1668) would establish the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and Business Partnerships in the Department of State. The commission would be comprised of: the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development, the Secretary of Higher Education, the Chief Executive Officer of the Economic Development Authority, 12 members appointed by the Governor, and four members of the public appointed by the leaders of the Senate and General Assembly.
"Our institutions of higher education, our businesses and our industries have a stake in the growth and prosperity of our state," said Zwicker (D-Somerset/Mercer/Middlesex/Hunterdon). "The brainpower is there. Let's tap into that wealth of knowledge and build a culture of innovation that will make not just our economy, but our higher education institutions and our industries stronger."
Bill Forgiving Student Loan Debt in Event of Borrower’s Death or Permanent Disability Signed into Law
Legislation has been signed into law that will forgive certain student loan debt in the event of a borrower's death or total permanent disability, a measure sponsored by Assembly Democrats Vince Mazzeo, Andrew Zwicker, Mila Jasey, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Gary Schaer, Patricia Jones, Tim Eustace, Bruce Land, Reed Gusciora, Bob Andrzejczak, Joann Downey, Eric Houghtaling and Raj Mukherji.
"Imagine you're a family who always pays their bills, has good credit and then you lose a child and in the midst of your grief, you're saddled with tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars in their remaining student loan debt," said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). "That's just something we can't allow to happen on our watch."
"To expect a student's family or other survivors to pay their college loan debt in the event of their death is cruel and unacceptable. We can do better than that," said Zwicker (D-Somerset/Mercer/Middlesex/Hunterdon).
The new law (S-743/A-2761) directs the state Higher Education Student Assistance Authority to forgive certain student loans in the event of a student borrower's death or total and permanent disability and grant deferment for temporary total disability.Read more
Zwicker Launches Food Drive to Benefit Local Pantries
Donations to Support Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset County Food Banks
(SKILLMAN) – The legislative office of Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker is collecting non-perishable food donations to help those in need.
Interested parties may bring items to the office, located at 23 Orchard Road, Suite 170, Skillman, through Dec. 13. Donations will go to Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset County food banks.
“Some of the men and women facing hunger in New Jersey are strangers, and others are neighbors, classmates, friends and co-workers who take painstaking steps each day to hide that they are in need,” said Zwicker (D-Hunterdon/Mercer/Middlesex/Somerset). “Regardless of whether or not we know them personally, they are part of our community. This food drive is an opportunity not just to provide a meal for those dealing with hardship but also to remind these individuals and their families that we care.”
Suggested items include: stuffing, canned turkey gravy, canned cranberry sauce, canned sweet potatoes/yams/white potatoes, boxed mashed potatoes, boxed rice, boxed cornbread muffin mix, boxed brownies and cake mixes, cereal, oatmeal, coffee, peanut butter and jelly, healthy snack foods, boxed milk, noodle/rice mixes, boxed macaroni and cheese, pancake mix and syrup, boxed chicken broth, Jell-O, instant pudding and canned soup. Sugar-free and gluten-free items are greatly appreciated.
My office will be collecting nonperishable food donations in preparation for the winter season. The donations will go to Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset County Food Banks. We will be collecting donations at our office until Tuesday, December 13th, 2016.
No expired food please! Donations can be dropped off at our District Office:
As a kid growing up in Englewood, NJ the symbol of our high school was two hands shaking, one black and one white. We were far from perfect and we struggled at times with unity, but we were proud of our school’s diversity. Growing up, I had white friends, black friends, brown friends, and I was a better person because of it. Many years later, I settled in South Brunswick because it is an outstanding, diverse town and a great place to raise my three children.
As a member of the NJ General Assembly, I represent the 16th Legislative District that not only includes South Brunswick, but also a wonderful diversity of religions, ethnicities, and cultures. In fact, New Jersey is one of the most diverse states in the country. We are stronger because we come from different countries, we speak different languages, our skin is brown, black, and white, we have different faiths, and we worship or not worship whichever way we choose.
I’ve spent the days since the election reflecting on what it means to be an American and what we just went though as a country during a long and divisive campaign. This election brought out a deep anger and resentment for many reasons. People feel left behind and unheard. But it also brought out a horrifying increase in the level of intolerance, bigotry and hatred.
New Jersey may be a diverse state, but we are not immune to the fear and anguish that is spreading. Earlier in the campaign, I attended a presidential debate watch party in a room filled with doctors, lawyers, business leaders, teachers, and scientists. What made this gathering so memorable for me, as we listened to the rhetoric about building walls, fighting ISIS, and combatting “Islamic terrorists,” was that I was the only non-Muslim in the room.
After the debate, we talked about our children, education, taxes, and jobs, as well as the bigotry and hatred that has become commonplace during this election season. The stories shared that night started with that rhetoric, but soon turned deeply personal. Stories of anguish over an entire religion equated with terrorism and stories of racism experienced every day. People told stories of trying to find an answer to a child that asks if he will have to leave the US because of his religion, or a child that says she can never be President because she is Muslim.
We cannot live in a society that accepts hatred over love, fear over unity. It is up to each of us to take a stand against hatred and intolerance, in all its forms. A stand against prejudice, against bigotry, against homophobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, racism, sexism, against every -ism and every -phobia that is rooted in hatred.
As a Legislator, I pledged to represent everyone and to work tirelessly to ensure that we are all treated with fairness and respect. That’s why this summer I wrote a legislative resolution that celebrates our diversity and condemns bigotry and hatred. As an American, I am proud to live in a democracy that is one of the most diverse on the planet. We are Christians, Jews, Muslims, men, women, gay, straight, black, white, and brown, we speak a multitude of languages, some of us are recent immigrants, and some have been in America for generations. Now, we must reach out to each other, break bread, share our stories, and work even harder to make our state and our country even stronger, even greater than it already is. That is our mandate and it begins today.
Zwicker Statement On Veterans Day
Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker offers the following statement in recognition of those who have served and are currently serving our country in the Armed Forces of the United States. New Jersey is home to more than 473,000 veterans:
“Veterans deserve our gratitude and respect for the sacrifices that they and their families make so that we may continue to enjoy our freedom,” said Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker. “I am deeply appreciative and grateful to all of the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve our country."
“We must never forget about the lives of those we’ve lost while they were proudly serving to protect our country. We owe our veterans a debt that we can never fully repay. I am proud to work to end homelessness among veterans by co-authoring legislation that makes affordable housing for veterans more accessible. I am also working to ensure veterans have the skills and education they need by making higher education and job training more available."
“Thank you for your service and everything you have done for our community.”
Andrew Zwicker is a New Jersey Assemblyman in Legislative District 16 which includes Delaware Township, Borough of Flemington, Township of Readington, Township of Raritan, and Borough of Stockton in Hunterdon County; Princeton in Mercer County; Township of South Brunswick in Middlesex County; and Township of Branchburg, Hillsborough Township, Borough of Manville, Millstone Borough, Montgomery Township, Borough of Rocky Hill, and Borough of Somerville in Somerset County. For more information on Assemblyman Zwicker visit [www.andrewzwicker.com].