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Washington Review, August 30, 2013

Aug 30, 2013
Washington Review

This week, I had my yearly meeting with members of United Parcel Service (UPS) to discuss their operations, address any concerns they may have, and consider upcoming legislation. This year, we discussed the highways and transit bill, MAP-21, and how it could help facilitate UPS operations. Additionally, we discussed new health care mandates of the Affordable Care Act and how they may impact UPS employees.

Also this week, Senator Menendez and I held a symposium to press for action on disruptive helicopter traffic in our district and to urge federal authorities to take action to uphold the safety and quality of life for residents in New Jersey's Hudson River waterfront communities. Those attending included Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials, local elected officials, representatives of the tourist helicopter trade industry, law enforcement, a representative of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and the Chairman of the Eastern Region Helicopter Council, Jeff Smith.  Many New Jersey residents attended, as well. 

Among the recommendations made to the FAA by me, Senator Menendez, and the elected officials that represent the Hudson River waterfront were: requiring that helicopters fly higher and further away from the New Jersey banks of the Hudson River, requiring helicopters to fly less frequently, improving the monitoring of flights over the Hudson River, and providing better helicopter flight security.  As a result of the meeting, Administrator Gallo committed to reviewing the recommendations to see which agencies would be best suited to implement them and report back to all stakeholders within 30 days.

Lastly, I would like to recognize the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom that was celebrated in our nation’s capital and around the United States this week.  Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, gave his historic “I Have A Dream” speech that inspired a nation. A year later, on August 6, 1965, President Johnson signed the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act which has helped secure the right to vote for millions of Americans. Despite these significant steps forward, progress must continue.

The first key step that Congress must take this year is to restore the power of the Voting Rights Act by enacting a legislative fix in response to the Supreme Court decision in June which declared part of it unconstitutional. This legislative fix must fully protect the right to vote for years to come. We must ensure that ladders of opportunity are available to every American.  And, we must continue to strive until Dr. King’s vision is finally realized and America fully lives up to its true promise and ideals.

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