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State Sen. Dawn Addiego, left, with Senate President Steve Sweeney

Dems watching how Addiego votes on minimum wage

Measure is senator’s first test of party loyalty after party switch

By David Wildstein, January 31 2019 5:12 am

Gov. Phil Murphy had a clear message for party-switching State Sen. Dawn Addiego (D-Evesham) on Monday: Welcome to the Democratic Party — now be a Democrat.

Three days since Addiego announced that she was switching parties, the former Republican returns to Trenton for her first voting session as a member of the Senate Democratic caucus.

While her party switch is a huge political victory for Senate President Steve Sweeney and South Jersey Democratic leader George Norcross, Democratic activists in her Burlington County-based legislative district are less than enthused by the presence of a right-of-center Republican as their new senator.

All eyes will be on Addiego today as the Senate votes on a measure that would increase the minimum wage to $15-per-hour.  As a Republican member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, she had previously abstained on the measure.

The minimum wage vote is considered a core Democratic issue – the package has the backing of the legislative leadership and the governor.  Anything less than a yes vote will make it exponentially more difficult for Addiego to make friends among her new Democratic base.

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