Valerie's Voice - January 2015

Dear Friend,

It has been a busy start to the New Year and I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2015. As our local swearing in ceremonies and municipal reorganizations of elected officials come to a close, let us as public servants always remember that under the authority of the people, we will faithfully, impartially and justly perform all of our duties.

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Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle attending local municipal swearing-in ceremonies in Englewood Cliffs and Northvale.

Over the holiday break, we received the news that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed our Port Authority reform legislation which was unanimously passed by both states. We crossed party lines to bring accountability and transparency to the Port Authority, and in a spineless move both Governors crossed party lines to obstruct it. While they continue to ignore the voices of Bergen County residents, I remain committed to bringing lasting reform to the Port Authority. The next step is to work with my colleagues in the Legislature to override the vetoes.

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Assemblywoman Huttle and her legislative colleagues at the state house advocating for landmark Port Authority reform.

In addition to advocating for Port Authority reform, I have also been actively working to address the issue of sexual assaults on college campuses. In recent months, there have been assault allegations at local North Jersey colleges and concerns about how sex crimes are addressed in higher education settings. I have been meeting advocates and higher education officials, including Ramapo University President Philip Mercer, to discuss how we can prevent and respond to campus sexual assault.  In an op-ed that appeared in the Record, I detail how the culture on these college campuses must be changed and I am committed to working on this issue in the legislature. Recently, the Assembly passed legislation that I sponsored that would increase fines for universities that did not properly investigate allegations of sexual assault on their campus. In addition to this, the Assembly Judiciary Committee unanimously passed the Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act which provides additional safeguards for victims of sexual assault. This is only the first step in making New Jersey colleges safer for our students.

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Assemblywoman Huttle at the Assembly Judiciary Committee hearing testifying on the Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act joined by a special guest student in Trenton to learn about the legislative process. A special thank you to our advocates from the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault for their work on this important piece of legislation.

I also had the opportunity of attending the Women’s Club of Englewood’s Ninth Annual Scholarship Reception this month. I am proud to see so many bright young future female leaders from our community. I commend the Women’s Club for providing scholarships and encouragement to women pursuing their educational and professional dreams.

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Assemblywoman Huttle attending Women's Club of Englewood's Ninth Annual Scholarship Reception

Once again, thank you for taking the time to read about my work in Trenton and at home on behalf of our community. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.

In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "the time is always right to do what is right."

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Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle , District 37