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HomenewsN.J. a Lawmaker Condemns "name-Calling, Insults, and Arrogant Answers" from His or...

N.J. a Lawmaker Condemns “name-Calling, Insults, and Arrogant Answers” from His or Her Colleagues

One of New Jersey’s highest-ranking elected officials used a rare address from the lectern at the Statehouse in Trenton on Thursday to reprimand fellow lawmakers for “hurling insults” and “name-calling” during recent voting sessions.

During his opening address to the Assembly before Thursday’s vote, State Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, did not single out any one lawmaker, criticise any political faction, or provide any concrete examples.

The statements, however, followed two particularly intense debates on measures involving police at voting sites and gun regulation, the latter of which resulted in one member calling another a “a**hole.

N.J. legislator scolds colleagues for ‘name-calling, insults and smug responses’

The usually mild-mannered Coughlin stated, “I have been horrified as I have watched fair and thoughtful debate deteriorate into name-calling, insults, and smug comments in this chamber.” Not only do I feel this way, but so do many other people. I have heard from members of both parties in the Assembly who share my sentiments exactly the same.

As a group, we can do better than that. We need to set a precedent. We should always strive for respectful debate, which can be spirited when warranted. Let’s not delude ourselves, though. It’s not passion if it involves calling the other side names, insulting them, and demonising them. That’s the height of disdain. Ignorance of the responsibility and authority that come with our position.

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Coughlin pointed out that this is a result of the “coarse, provocative, and divisive” tone that the national political conversation has taken as people have grown more politicised and angry.

He emphasised that this should not be an excuse for allowing partisanship to spread in the room.

A bill that would reinstate police officers at voting booths in schools and senior living institutions in New Jersey under certain scenarios was overwhelmingly passed by the Democratically controlled Assembly after a 45-minute debate in October.

Trenton’s opposition party, the Republicans, have accused the majority party of being biassed against police by not letting officers to wear uniforms and restricting their access to polling locations.
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Many African-American Democrats responded that many people of colour have strained relationships with law enforcement.

Last month, the Assembly passed a sweeping measure to reform and severely limit concealed carry in New Jersey in response to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, sparking even more heated discussion.

Assemblyman Brian Bergen, R-Morris, asked the sponsor, Assemblyman Joe Danielsen, D-Somerset, to clarify a language in the measure in the most memorable interaction of the two-hour debate. No, Danielsen answered, urging Bergen to “contact an attorney or the dictionary instead.”

To which Bergen retorted, “This is the madness, the folly, quite honestly, of the attitude you take,” before being overheard on microphone muttering of Danielsen, “God, he’s such an a**hole.”

Bergen reacted back after a reporter reported his comment, “I did say that. Oh, I was serious.

N.J. legislator scolds colleagues for ‘name-calling, insults and smug responses’

In an interview on Thursday, Bergen claimed that Coughlin’s remarks seemed “directed at a few people” on “quite a few topics,” one of which was the gun bill argument. The majority status is used to oppress us in this chamber, he added, claiming that Democrats are the party in power.

Thus, “we have to press back occasionally,” Bergen explained. They aren’t accustomed to having to answer questions about the money they spend. Legislation does not just become law, and I feel obligated to point that out.
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Someone must serve as a sponsor and introduce the measure. If a bill you sponsored becomes law, you should be held legally responsible for it.

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Bergen, too, praised Coughlin for his remarks on Thursday. Bergen remarked, “I felt he did a terrific job.” I found his analysis to be clear and concise; he did not pick out any particular party for criticism. To that end, he made an effort to straighten up his sleeping quarters. The speaker is responsible for…

It is his responsibility to oversee this assembly.

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