N.J. Sen. Barbara Buono is not afraid to speak out on sensitive issues | Commentary | NewJerseyNewsroom.com -- Your State. Your News.

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N.J. Sen. Barbara Buono is not afraid to speak out on sensitive issues

pizzurosal073111_optBY SALVATORE PIZZURO
COMMENTARY

State Senator Barbara Buono has placed core values and principles above personal political attainment throughout her career. She served as the Senate Majority leader and established a reputation as someone who would follow her conscience, rather than blindly follow party politics in order to achieve personal advancement.

A strong believer in the Democratic process and the will of the people, she voted against the Pension and Benefits Reform Package because it meant depriving public employees of the right to bargain collectively. A committed Democrat, she is not afraid to say no to party leaders if she is asked to complete a task that will challenge her moral conscience.

Recently she has spoke publicly about her concern for the lack of transparency on government contracts. According to Buono, municipal contracts are not always monitored by the State comptroller office as required by law. According to Buono:

"Nearly 20 percent of midlevel public contracts were found to be out of compliance with the very rules that are designed to ensure that taxpayers are getting a fair shake"

The Comptroller’s office is required to review municipal contracts since they are put out for bids, but not before. Buono has introduced a bill that will change that.

Matt Boxer, the State Comptroller, has stated that perhaps thousands of municipal contracts are concluded without oversight, costing taxpayers vast sums of money. It has recently been reported that the Comptroller’s office found errors in one-third of all contracts that were reviewed.

Barbara Buono has been willing to speak up on issues that other legislators find “embarrassing”, causing them to remain silent. She was among the first to address the plight of vulnerable homeowners threatened with foreclosure, by sponsoring a bill designed to protect them from predatory lenders. In addition, she assumed leadership by authoring an "Anti-Bullying Law," requiring school districts to make schools safer for all children. In addition, she was a sponsor of a bill that would protect consumers from telemarketing harassment.

Buono is an atypical politician, showing allegiance to her constituents before party leaders.

Dr. Salvatore Pizzuro, a Disability Policy Specialist, holds a doctorate in Developmental Disabilities from Columbia University and an advanced degree in Disability Law from New York Law School.

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