Facebook News Feed; Murphy Cabinet News; Frelinghuysen Retires; Menendez Surges

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Facebook: Bringing us closer together

We love promoting the fantastic things our clients are doing. We’re especially proud of Facebook’s announcement that it is making a major change to the News Feed section that prioritize posts from friends and family over public comment.

In his announcement of the change, Chairman & CEO Mark Zuckerberg discusses Facebook’s commitment to bringing us closer together and feelings of responsibility to make sure Facebook services “aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being.”

Read Mark’s post and Facebook’s full announcement here.

Murphy Cabinet: Recap & Status

Governor Phil Murphy has announced nominations for his entire cabinet and many of them have begun serving in an acting capacity while awaiting confirmation hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee. In case you missed it, here’s a recap:

• Attorney General Gurbir Grewal
• Community Affairs Commissioner & Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver
• Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti
• Treasurer Elizabeth Muoio
• Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet
• Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal
• Secretary of State Tahesha Way
• Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo
• Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride
• DEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe
• Adjutant General Col. Jemal Beale
• Homeland Security Director Jared Maples
• Corrections Commissioner Gary Lanigan
• Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher
• Children and Families Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer
• Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson
• Board of Public Utilities President Joe Fiordaliso

As of this week, the Senate Judiciary has advanced just three Murphy cabinet nominees: Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, Secretary of State Tahesha Way, and Col. Jemal Beale as Adjutant General. Gary Lanigan, who led the Department of Corrections under Governor Chris Christie and who was nominated by Murphy to remain in the post, had his nomination held by the committee. No other confirmation hearings for cabinet nominees have been held or scheduled. We strongly support efforts by the Senate and Murphy Administration to get these hearings calendared as soon as possible.

Senior leadership positions at various agencies - spots like Chief of Staff and Deputy Commissioner - are being filled, as the Murphy Administration rounds itself out.

Rodney Retires

New Jersey learned it will lose significant experience and expertise in Washington when Rodney Frelinghuysen, who was first elected to Congress in 1994 and who ascended to the Chairmanship of the powerful House Appropriations Committee in 2017, announced that he would retire at the end of his current term. Frelinghuysen’s announcement follows a similar one by South Jersey Republican and Chair of the Aviation Subcommittee of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Frank LoBiondo and gives Democrats a legitimate opportunity to flip two House seats in the 2018 midterm elections.

Frelinghuysen is scion of a family whose prominence in New Jersey government and politics dates to the Revolutionary War, where his great-great-great-great-grandfather Frederick Frelinghuysen was a framer of New Jersey’s first Constitution, a delegate to the Continental Congress, and a veteran of the battles of Trenton and Monmouth.

Elected together in 1994, Frelinghuysen and LoBiondo have capitalized on their seniority and leadership posts to deliver for New Jersey. Both also had a reputation for working in bi-partisan fashion in support of key New Jersey priorities like infrastructure. They will be sorely missed.

Menendez has a great week

The US Justice Department has dropped its case against Senator Robert Menendez a week after a federal judge acquitted Menendez and Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen on corruption charges.

The DOJ’s case against New Jersey’s senior senator resulted in a hung jury, reports that most jurors favored acquittal, and the subsequent dismissal of charges. Apparently not getting the memo, the Justice Department had announced it would retry Menendez.

DOJ’s about-face is a huge political win for Menendez, who faces re-election this Fall.

In the meantime, Menendez has regained his post as the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a position Menendez voluntarily stepped back from in 2015.

New Jersey benefits from Menendez being back at full strength in the Senate. The State is also much better off with this cloud lifted. We’re pleased by the recent developments and very happy for New Jersey’s Senior Senator.