e-News 2/24/17

Telephone Town Hall: Healthcare, Jobs, Environmental Protection and More

Telephone Town Hall Meetings – How They Work 

“Shameful” Anti-Semitic Threats and Acts Must End

Listening Tour Continues

New Cosponsorships

Salute: Robert D. Pierson, Former Mayor of Mendham Township


Telephone Town Hall: Healthcare, Jobs, Environmental Protection and More

We had over six thousand constituents on the line for another successful Telephone Town Hall on Tuesday as I called residents in the eastern portion of the 11th Congressional District.  I listened to a variety of concerns and views on the President’s cabinet appointments, environmental protection, climate change, opioid abuse, and my support for Social Security, Medicare and the state of Israel.

The future of healthcare was the main topic of discussion.  While Laura from Verona, Mary from Pompton Lakes, Kathy from Little Falls and John from Wayne each has their individual concerns about cost and accessibility to our health care system, I was able to reassure them that the rescue plan being developed by Congress would protect patients with pre-existing conditions and those young adults on their parents’ health insurance.

In the weeks and months ahead, we will be calling into all other sections of the 11th District on a rotating basis.  So, please answer your phone: it may be your Congressman calling!

Telephone Town Hall Meetings – How They Work 

There has been a great deal of misinformation about my Telephone Town Hall meetings circulating in the media these days.  So here are the facts:

I have been conducting these telephone town hall meetings since 2010.  I have received many enthusiastic reviews.

They are not “by invitation only.”  Using technology of a private sector company, we are able to call tens of thousands of constituent homes in a few short minutes to invite people to either listen in or get into the queue to ask a question or state a concern.

Generally, not everyone in the 11th Congressional District is called for every Telephone Town Hall meeting, although we have conducted district-wide calls.  We usually call a portion of the district on a rotating basis.  For example, this week we called into homes in the Essex and Passaic sections of the district.  Our next call will be into Morris and Sussex.

However, we do provide the opportunity for any constituent to be on all the calls.  If you’re interested, please call one of my offices and provide them with a telephone number which will then be added to the list.

Yes, sometimes they are conducted on short notice mainly due to the vagaries of voting schedule on the House floor.  Often these votes unexpectedly conflict with our plans for the telephone town hall meeting, necessitating a postponement or cancellation.

Simply put, there is nothing mysterious or “secret” about our Telephone Town Hall Meetings.  They are just another method by which I keep in touch with my constituents.

Listening Tour Continues

This week I visited the new Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic in Sussex County, met with students at Pope John High School in Sparta, Verona High in Verona and Lacordaire Academy in Montclair.  I was also pleased to accompany my Youth Advisory Council to the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange.

“Shameful” Anti-Semitic Threats and Acts Must End

I signed a letter this week to Attorney General Sessions, Secretary of Homeland Security Kelly and FBI Director Comey urging them to investigate anonymous bomb threats made via telephone against Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) and synagogues across the nation.  They should swiftly assess the situation and advise Congress on specific steps to deter such “telephone terrorism.”

At least 10 such centers have received bomb threats in recent days, including the JCC Metrowest in West Orange.

Anti-Semitism, bomb threats, hate speech directed at synagogues and JCCs must be immediately condemned and quickly investigated.  This nation was built on the foundation of religious tolerance. Anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry are shameful and must end!

The letter I signed urges the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to prosecute the perpetrators for violations of federal criminal laws, and to enable JCCs to enhance security measures in the event that an individual seeks to act on these threats.

The JCC Association of North America reported that 54 Jewish community centers have faced 69 threats, including three waves of bomb threats, since January. They also follow the vandalism of 100 headstones at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis

Read more about the threats against local Jewish Community Centers here:

New Cosponsorships

When the House reconvenes on Monday, I will be cosponsoring three additional piece of legislation:

H.J.Res. 61an amendment to the Constitution prohibiting the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.

H.R. 544the Private Corrado Piccoli Purple Heart Preservation Act, which would prohibit the sale of any Purple Heart medal presented by the government to a wounded service member or their family. 

H.R. 411, the Veteran Suicide Prevention Act, which would require the VA to complete a publicly available review of the deaths of veterans who died by suicide over the past five years.

Salute to Robert D. Pierson, former Mayor of Mendham Township, Police Commissioner of Mendham Township, Fire Chief of the Brookside Fire Company and earlier on, Woodland Fire Company in Morris Township. My thanks to Bob Pierson for decades of service and his early support of the Morris County Police and Fire Academy, which today flourishes in Parsippany!