Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg Serves as Hughes Center’s Legislator-in-Residence
For Immediate Release; with photos on flickr
Galloway, N.J. - State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg visited Stockton University on Oct. 18-19 as the university’s legislator-in-residence, hosted by the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy.
The legislator-in-residence program is designed to bring New Jersey lawmakers to Stockton to engage with students and faculty and to share their experiences as legislators. Their firsthand stories of politics and government provide additional insight beyond the classroom curriculum. The program alternates between Republican and Democratic lawmakers from both the Senate and Assembly.
Sen. Weinberg, a Democrat, represents the 37th Legislative District in Bergen County and serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee. She is one of the lead legislative investigators of the “Bridgegate” scandal concerning lane closures at the George Washington Bridge. She served in the state General Assembly from 1992 to 2005 before being moving to the Senate.
“The legislator-in-residence program exposes students and the Stockton community to real-world politics and how issues are addressed in New Jersey,” said Sharon Schulman, executive director of the Hughes Center and special advisor to the president. “Students ask questions of the legislators and get candid answers.
“The program also shows state government leaders why Stockton is so distinctive and illustrates the important role the university plays in higher education,” Schulman said.
During her visit to Stockton, Weinberg took a tour of the Campus Center led by Dean of Students Pedro J. Santana and toured the Sara and Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center with Director Gail Rosenthal. Weinberg met over lunch with Stockton President Harvey Kesselman, Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff Susan Davenport, Provost Lori Vermeulen, Schulman, other administration leaders and members of the faculty.
The senator spoke in several classes, connecting with Stockton students on a variety of topics.
She repeatedly urged students to vote and get involved in the political process. She noted that her legislative accomplishments – laws that banned smoking indoors, lowered the legal blood- alcohol level in New Jersey to 0.8, and forced insurance companies to cover hospital stays of up to 48 hours for new mothers – came about largely because of help received from activists and advocates.
“Being a politician shouldn’t be the goal,” Weinberg told members of Stockton’s Student Senate. “What you need to figure out is how to use politics to achieve your goals.”
Weinberg, an advocate of marriage equality, took part in Professor of Political Science Linda Wharton’s “Women and the Law” class; Assistant Professor of Political Science Jennifer Forestal’s “Intro to Politics” class; Professor of Economics Ellen Mutari’s “Economic Inequality” class; Adjunct Instructor and former Activist-in-Residence Rona Whitehead’s “Tools for Social Change” class; and Assistant Professor of Political Science Dan Mallinson’s “Public Administration” class.
In addition, Weinberg was briefed by Senior Fellow Darryl Greer of the Center for Higher Education Strategic Information and Governance (HESIG) about his research on higher education and visited the Stockton Polling Institute, meeting with John Froonjian, senior research associate at the Hughes Center, who organized the legislator-in-residence program, and student polling interviewers.
Past legislators-in-residence have included Senate President Steven Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver and Senators Jim Whelan, Joseph Kyrillos and Chris Connors, a Stockton graduate.
About the Hughes Center
The William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy (www.stockton.edu/hughescenter) at Stockton University serves as a catalyst for research, analysis and innovative policy solutions on the economic, social and cultural issues facing New Jersey, and promotes the civic life of New Jersey through engagement, education and research. The center is named for William J. Hughes, whose distinguished career includes service in the U.S. House of Representatives, Ambassador to Panama and as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Stockton. The Hughes Center can be found at https://www.facebook.com/StocktonHughesCenter and can be followed on Twitter @hughescenter.