Home>Campaigns>News briefs: the statehouse’s reopening, Aikens’ voter registration, Mastrangelo’s missing votes

An eagle flies above the rotunda of the renovated New Jersey Statehouse. (Photo: Joey Fox for the New Jersey Globe).

News briefs: the statehouse’s reopening, Aikens’ voter registration, Mastrangelo’s missing votes

By Joey Fox, May 01 2023 5:28 pm

Statehouse officially, finally, truly reopens

Gov. Phil Murphy and a cavalcade of elected officials officially marked the reopening of the New Jersey Statehouse today, six years after the project to overhaul the crumbling, centuries-old building began.

“What we have now is a statehouse rebuilt and restored to what it looked like just over a century ago,” Murphy said. “From its decorative moldings to its color palette to its panache, this is, for all intents and purposes, a brand-new statehouse tucked inside a historical exoskeleton. It is a building that we who work here can enter every day with pride.”

The renovation project, which focused on the executive wing of the statehouse, began in 2017 during the final year of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration. That means Murphy is only just now beginning to work in his proper office rather than a substitute down the street – more than five years after he first became governor.

Among other things, the renovation means that the governor’s office and other executive branch departments will now be just across the hall from the legislative chambers, potentially boosting relationships across the two branches of government. (The legislative wings of the statehouse were mostly left untouched by the renovation project.)

Murphy and the other assembled officials at today’s event also paid tribute to Raymond Arcario, the executive director of the New Jersey Building Authority and the leader of the renovation project until his death in March 2022.

“No one was more passionate about this project,” State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio said to Arcario’s family members, who were present at the ceremony. “He considered its stewardship to be the honor of his career.”

Fantasia, Inganamort continue pushing on Aikens’ voter registration history

Was Lafayette Board of Education President Josh Aikens, a candidate for the Assembly in the 24th district this year, once a registered Democrat in Pennsylvania? That’s a question that his opponents, Sussex County Commissioner Dawn Fantasia (R-Franklin) and Chester Township Mayor Mike Inganamort, seem intent on asking.

At last week’s New Jersey Globe/Save Jersey debate, Fantasia accused Aikens of being a registered voter in Pennsylvania for more than a decade while also being registered in New Jersey. Aikens flatly denied the attack.

“I never lived in Pennsylvania, so I don’t know what to tell you about that one,” he said.

But in a new release today, Fantasia and Inganamort provided evidence that someone with Aikens’ name and birthday did indeed register to vote at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania in 2002; they demanded that Aikens explain the discrepancy.

“Today, we are calling on Josh Aikens to provide evidence that official public records showing he lived in Pennsylvania and registered to vote as a Democrat there while in college are inaccurate, or he can come clean and admit that he lied at our debate last Thursday in an attempt to mislead voters,” Inganamort said.

There is no evidence that Aikens voted more than once in the same election. 

Mastrangelo didn’t vote to condemn woke agenda, Pennacchio says

State Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R-Montville) sustained his attacks on Morris County Commissioner Tom Mastrangelo (R-Montville)’s attendance record today, slamming Mastrangelo for failing to vote on a county-level resolution decrying the state’s sex education curriculum.

At a July 2022 meeting, the Morris County Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution demanding that the state “immediately repeal and abandon the 2020 New Jersey Student Learning Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education [and] refrain from any punitive actions against school districts that refuse to implement the controversial standards.” Mastrangelo was absent from the meeting.

“Unlike Mastrangelo, my commitment to conservatives doesn’t end after Election Day,” Pennacchio said in a statement. “I will always fight for our beliefs and will never stop defending our children from the radical, Woke sex-ed agenda in our schools.”

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