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(Photo: New Jersey Chamber of Commerce).

Chamber cancels 2022 Walk to Washington train trip

By David Wildstein, October 28 2021 1:50 pm

The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce has cancelled its 2022 Walk to Washington train trip and congressional dinner but hopes to relaunch the 83-year-old tradition in 2023.

According to a report from ROI-NJ, the organization will instead hold a two-day business summit in Atlantic City next April.

The coronavirus pandemic led to the cancellation of the event earlier this year.  As a result of Covid, the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel had closed in March 2020.  The hotel remains shuttered, and its contents are set to be auctioned off.  Local officials are discussing a plan to convert the hotel into affordable housing.

The Walk to Washington tradition has not been without pitfalls.

In 1996, Princeton Township Committeeman Carl Mayer recorded parts of the chamber train trip as part of a 60 Minutes expose on the relationship between elected officials and lobbyists.

After allegations of sexual harassment, the chamber announced in 2020 that it had banned hard alcohol on the train after a NJ.com published a report called the Chamber’s Walk to Washington and to parties held during the League of Municipalities’ annual conference as hotbeds of sexual predation.

Parties at the chamber event in Washington has even led to the death of a congressman.

In January 1938, Rep. Edward Kenney (D-Cliffside Park) was the keynote speaker at chamber’s dinner at the Carlton Hotel in Washington.

After what may have been an enjoyable evening and unable to travel back to his apartment, the Chamber arranged for Kenney to get a hotel room.  He woke up during the night; presumably disoriented and in search of the facilities, he mistook a French window that was eighteen inches from the floor for a door and fell six stories to his death.

Republicans took back the ninth district seat later in the year.

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