Some of the New Jersey’s most influential women leaders have signed on to a letter endorsing Gov. Phil Murphy’s nomination of Matt Platkin as Attorney General, a move intended to send a signal to some members of the State Senate that Platkin enjoys considerable support among important women in the state Democratic Party.
“Matt Platkin has a deep commitment to reproductive rights, personal and family leave, workers’ rights, social, economic and racial justice, equality for all, ethical conduct, and good government,” the group said. “We support Governor Murphy in this choice and urge the New Jersey Senate to quickly confirm this appointment.”
The list of 51 women comes with considerable fire power and includes grassroots activists, fundraisers, union and party leaders elected officials and potentially eases the path for senators to support his confirmation despite some bubbles
Signers of the letter, done as individuals and not on behalf of their affiliated organizations, include former New Jersey CWA state director Hetty Rosenstein, Democratic National Committeewoman Marcia Marley, New Jersey Citizen Action executive director Dena Mottola Jaborska, New Jersey Working Families Party executive director Sue Altman, and Jeannine LaRue, who has played a major role in New Jersey politics since the 1970s as one of the state’s first woman powerbrokers.
Women who play a key role in New Jersey’s labor movement are also backing Platkin: New Jersey AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer Laurel Brennan; CWA state director Fran Ehret; New Jersey Education Association secretary-treasurer Petal Robinson; National CWA official Estina Baker; American Federation of Teachers president Donna Chiera; New Jersey Labor-Environmental Alliance executive director Deb Coyle; Rutgers URA-AFT president Christine O’Connell; CWA Local 1036 political director Michele Liebtag; and Marie Blistan, the former NJEA president.
Political veterans, including: Democratic powerhouse Maggie Moran; Camden County NAACP president-elect Moneke Ragsdale; Clinton Mayor Janice Kovach; South Orange Village President Sheena Cullum; New Jersey Pinelands Commission chair Laura Matos; former Sussex County Democratic Chair Leslie Hahn; former RWJBarnabas Health executive vice president Michellene Davis; lobbyist Idida Rodriguez; lobbyist Patricia Zita; Blairstown Democratic Municipal Chair Gina Trish, the communications manager to Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver; and Shawn Kathryn Laurenti, who has spent more than three decades as a New Jersey political insider, were signatories of the letter.
The letter also includes young Democratic rising stars like Alana Burman, Imani Hamm, Emi Quisby, and Elizabeth Coulter, who worked with Platkin for 18 months as a top staffer on Murphy’s 2017 gubernatorial campaign.
Among the activists who are pushing for Platkin’s confirmation: Action Together New Jersey executive director Winn Khuong; Save Our Schools executive director Julie Borst; New Jersey Citizen Action president Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, director of organizing Liz Glynn and workplace justice program director Yarrow Willman-Cole; Indivisible Lambertville board member Elycia Lerman; and Indivisible Cranbury founder Laura Zurfluh.
Myra Terry, a former president of the National Organization for Women of New Jersey, has endorsed Platkin, along with NOW NJ president Anjali Mehrotra and Merrill Mezzacapa, and Truscha Quatrone, a former Morris County Democratic vice chair and Emerge NJ executive director,
Several prominent women from the private sector also signed the Platkin letter, including Wendy Saiff; Cathy Brienza; Jill LaZare, Teresia Bost, and Pam Miller,
Former South Orange Village President Joyce Harley, Lacey Rzeszowski, Jean Simonetta, Janice Roots, Cathy Danalos, and Kathleen Bence are also on the letter supporting Platkin.
The massive list of endorsements could blunt criticism of Platkin’s response to allegations that a top official on Murphy’s 2017 campaign sexually assaulted a volunteer and still got hired for a job in the administration.
Katie Brennan, who says she was raped during Murphy’s 2017 campaign by Al Alvarez, a senior campaigns staffer who was later became chief of staff at the New Jersey Schools Development Authority. Brennan has called Platkin’s nomination “deeply disappointing.”
Senate Minority Leader Steve Oroho (R-Franklin) and Michael Doherty (R-Oxford), the ranking minority member on the Judiciary Committee, said they wat a “thorough vetting of Platkin” before a vote to confirm him.
Murphy nominated Platkin, a partner at Lowenstein Sandler, seven days ago to serve as the 56th attorney general of New Jersey. He is set to become acting attorney general on Monday as he awaits action by the State Senate.