Washington Review, March 18, 2016
While in Washington this week I met with various groups from the 8th District and completed Foreign Affairs work.
This week, I met with representatives from the Essex County Section of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW). We discussed legislation that would help assist runaway and homeless youths including H.R. 1779, the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. John Yarmouth (R-KY). I am a cosponsor of this important legislation which would reauthorize the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act and add new protections for young victims of human trafficking.
I also had the opportunity to meet with Colonel Caldwell, Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and members of his team to talk about ongoing civil works projects in the 8th District. Next, I met with members of the New Jersey Bankers Association who were in Washington, DC for their annual Government Relations Summit. The Association consists of 95 banking institutions and over 230 firms that provide goods and services to the banking community in New Jersey. They visited by my office to discuss issues that are important to their members including data security and consumer protection.
On Tuesday, I met with Gloria Bramon and Ana Rosano, student leaders from the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) who live in the 8th District of New Jersey. HACU represents over 400 colleges and universities that are dedicated to Hispanic higher education in the United States, Puerto Rico, Latin America and Spain. We discussed the importance of funding Hispanic Serving Institutes (HSIs) as well as the impact they have on the Hispanic community.
It was my pleasure to meet with Staff Sergeant Jessee Perard, a drill instructor for the United States Marine Corps at Parris Island, South Carolina. The Recruit Training Regiment at Parris Island is the headquarters for all administrative and command functions for basic training of recruits. Staff Sergeant Perard, a Newark native, works to implement standards established by the Commandant of the Marine Corps to train, teach, mentor, and lead recruits through a demanding training system.
Later in the week, I met with members of the Sports and Fitness Industry Association to discuss initiatives that seek to improve health in America through physical activity. We talked about the importance of investing in personal health and the benefits of physical education in our schools. Finally, I met with New Jersey Primary Care Association representatives from New Jersey’s Federally Qualified Health Centers. We discussed various issues facing community health centers and the importance of funding high quality, cost-effective primary care. During the meeting, I was honored to be recognized by the National Association of Community Health Centers for my support of America’s health centers and the communities they serve.
Marina Litvinenko, the widow of Alexander Litvinenko, came to my office with the Free Russia Foundation this week to discuss the death of her husband. In 2006, after fleeing Russia and being granted asylum in the United Kingdom, Alexander Litvinenko was hospitalized in London for a case of poisoning by radioactive polonium-210 that resulted in his death less than a month later. Following his death, investigations into the poisoning led to a suspect but Russia refused to extradite him to Britain. I was grateful that Marina Litvinenko was able to share her story with me.
Finally, this week, my colleague, Rep. Jeff Duncan, and I met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua, Laura Dogu. She updated us on the civil rights situation in Nicaragua and we discussed human rights and protecting freedom of speech. I am concerned with the repression of free speech and the increased harassment that the press in Nicaragua has been facing in recent years. We must remain committed to addressing these issues and preserving values that are the foundation of any democracy.