State Senator Loretta Weinberg (D–Bergen) has become the defacto protector of women, children, and families in New Jersey. As the chair of the Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, she has been a tireless advocate for appropriate health care and quality of life issues. She is also a member of the Judiciary Committee and the Legislative Services Commission. A few years ago, Weinberg was honored by the Northern New Jersey Maternal/Child Health Consortium for her support of women and children’s health services. She has also been a champion of effective medical and social services for autistic children and adults with aphasia.
Loretta Weinberg has been intolerant of corruption among office holders, and has been non-partisan in her commitment to transparency in government. A life-long Democrat, the Senator has been willing to take on members of her own party when unethical practices were displayed. Weinberg stood up to her own county party chairman when there was a question of irregularities in county committee elections, and spoke out against unethical practices by members of the Passaic Valley Sewage Commission, many of whom were members of her own party, regarding the questionable use of public resources. Her legacy will be that her goal was not her own political or personal advancement, but an improvement in the lives of her fellow New Jerseyans. She has not been afraid to speak out when her fellow party members engaged in behavior that was not in the best interest of the electorate.
This year, Weinberg has been engaged in a battle with Governor Christie over the plight of New Jersey’s vulnerable citizens. She has fought to protect poor Medicaid recipients who are about to lose health care, children who are the victims of abuse, women who rely on specific medical centers, and military veterans who are in need but have been forgotten.
Born in New York City, Loretta Weinberg graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and engaged in graduate studies in Public Administration at Farleigh Dickinson University. Prior to being elected to the Senate, she served on the Teaneck Township Council, and the General Assembly. If any legislator has exemplified the persona of selfless dedication to her constituents, it has been Loretta Weinberg.
Interestingly, while other legislators have quietly accepted the current State Administration’s abandonment of its most vulnerable citizens, Weinberg has been more determined than ever to fight for the rights of those who may not have the voice to fight for themselves. Furthermore, she has a persistent commitment to continue the fight for these individuals, and is relentless in her drive to see that they are not the expendable casualties of a current State policy that benefits the “well-to-do,” at the expense of working families and the “downtrodden” members of our society.
Loretta Weinberg may be occasionally chastised by a governor who cannot tolerate her establishment of her First Amendment rights, but the Senator is determined to continue her mission in New Jersey.
Dr. Salvatore Pizzuro is a disability policy specialist and civil rights advocate in New Jersey.