Home>Highlight>Assembly memo advises members to close district offices until at least Jan. 20

The New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Assembly memo advises members to close district offices until at least Jan. 20

Concerns over further political violence fuel caution in lower chamber

By Nikita Biryukov, January 12 2021 11:24 am

The executive director of the General Assembly advised members to shut down their district offices until at least Jan. 20, citing concerns over the prospect of continued political violence.

“Given the events that occurred last Wednesday, in Washington DC, and the increased internet chatter and subsequent potential demonstrations that may occur in our own State Capitol, Trenton, we are advising you to close the district office and work remotely until further notice,” Assembly Democrats Executive Director Skip Cimino said in a memo to members.

The memo, first reported by Politico New Jersey, follows an assault on the U.S. Capitol carried out by supporters of President Donald Trump Wednesday.

It comes on the heels of news of further armed rallies planned at Capitols in all 50 states, including one on Sunday at New Jersey’s Statehouse.

“The Assembly Majority Office has been working remotely since November due to the surge of COVID cases and will continue to do so until new cases and retransmission rates fall significantly,” said Kevin McArdle, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge). “In response to the riot at the US Capitol on January 6, the State Police has increased security at the State House.”

It’s not clear which members received the memo, as not all of them did. Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Neptune) said her office was not sent the document.

Mounted units from the New Jersey State Police were present on statehouse grounds Monday, when the senate held an in-person voting session, though no protests took place.

The State Senate, so far, isn’t moving ahead with a similar plan. A senior source in the chamber speaking on condition of anonymity said the office was working on its own guidance but had not issued a similar advisory to its members.

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