Home>Highlight>Gopal names Kaszuba, Angelini to lead anti-harassment working group

State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch). (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Gopal names Kaszuba, Angelini to lead anti-harassment working group

Monmouth senator sponsors bill to give campaign workers a method to report toxic workplace environments

By David Wildstein, January 28 2020 4:32 pm

Senate Majority Conference Leader Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) has named a bi-partisan working group to help make campaign harassment legislation more inclusive and survivor focus.

The group will be co-chaired by ex-congressional candidate Tiffany Kaszuba and former Republican Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini (R-Ocean Township).

Kaszuba dropped her bid for Congress late last year after receiving harassing text messages from Bill Robinson, who was forced to resign his post as a Democratic state committeeman from Monmouth County.  She sharply criticized party leaders for not telling her that Robinson had been convicted of stalking in the 1990s.

“At a time when it is critical to ensure women are adequately represented in government and the political process, we cannot allow the conditions that silence their voices, discourage their involvement or threaten their physical safety or professional futures to persist,” Kaszuba said.  “I am gratified that my experience has helped to raise awareness about this issue.”

Angelini served four terms in the State Assembly and now runs the Preferred Behavioral Group of New Jersey, a non-profit group that combats bulling and harassment.

“We need to make sure that no one is ever harassed or bullied on a political campaign and that proper mechanisms are in place,” said Angelini.  “I look forward to working with everyone to make sure this is a reality.”

Gopal announced earlier this month that he planned to introduce first-in-the-nation legislation to create an independent process for reporting incidents of harassment and discrimination in political campaigns.

Gopal has also named two other prominent Republicans: Monmouth County Clerk Christine Hanlon and former New Jersey Republican State Committee executive director Jeanette Hoffman.

Also on the Gopal working group: Democratic activist Jess Alaimo, Tinton Falls council president Tracy Buckley, anti-sex trafficking advocate Tiffany Miller, former Red Bank councilwoman Juanita Lewis, and former Neptune Township mayor Randy Bishop.

“In order to make this bill survivor focused, inclusive, and just, I believe it is essential for this bill to be shaped by and accountable to members of those communities who most often experience these issues,” Gopal said in a statement announcing the working group.

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg said it’s critical for young women with campaign experience have a role in shaping the legislation.

“I am looking forward to working with Mary Pat and other stakeholders to make sure this bill includes provisions that would prevent and address experiences like mine and protect every future person working on a political campaign,” Kaszuba said.

Under the terms of Gopal’s bill, political and campaign staff and volunteers could immediately report cases of toxic workplace environment to the independent New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission without fear of retaliation.

The legislation will appropriate funds to ELEC to handle the added responsibilities of their scope.

Gopal’s legislation will provide multiple avenues for individuals to easily report cases of harassment or assault, oversight by at least one professional specialized in support for survivors of sexual assault, new guidelines and requirements for political campaigns and organizations to create formal anti-harassment policies and training, and penalties for non-compliant entities and individuals.

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