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Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick)

Somerset Dems attack bigoted statements

Raritan committeeman suggested Muslims be nuked in Facebook posts

By Nikita Biryukov, September 19 2019 10:34 am

Democrats in Somerset County went on the offensive, targeting two officials there who have previously made remarks targeting minority groups.

Somerset County Freeholder candidate Melonie Marano, a Democrat, continued her calls for the removal of Felicia Nace from the Raritan Valley Community College board.

“Someone like Dr. Nace, whose beliefs are in direct contradiction to our county college’s mission of inclusion and diversity, would never have been nominated except in a closed, secretive process like the one the Republican Party has used for decades,” said Marano. “The process leads not just to cronyism, but the resulting limited pool of applicants weakens our boards and commissions and creates a lower quality of services for our communities.”

Nace spoke against LGBT education during a straight pride parade in Boston last month.

She has so far resisted calls for her resignation, calling instead for a dialogue on the issue.

In a statement provided to the New Jersey Globe earlier this week through the campaign of Somerset County Freeholder Pat Walsh, against whom Marano is running, Somerset County GOP Chairman Al Gaburo declined to comment on Nace’s association with the straight pride parade but advised those concerned about Nace’s tenure to look at her resume.

Nace’s views aren’t the only one to come under fire.

Raritan Committeeman Lou Reiner posted a meme suggesting Muslims be killed with nuclear weapons, according to a report by TapInto Flemington/Raritan.

“Some cancers must be treated with radiation. Islam is one of them,” said one of the images Reiner posted to Facebook. It was accompanied by an image of a mushroom cloud.

“An elected official represents everyone regardless of their religious belief and calling Islam an ‘evil religion’ and a ‘cancer’ is simply appalling,” Assemblymen Roy Freiman and Andrew Zwicker said in a joint statement. “Raritan Committeeman Reiner’s recent comments against the Islamic religion are hurtful, insensitive, and display a disgusting form of hate speech and his apology today does not change that fact.”

The state’s Republicans did not hesitate to condemn Reiner’s statements.

In statements to Politico New Jersey, State GOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt condemned Reiner’s statements, and Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, who is running for the seventh congressional district’s House seat, called for the committeeman’s resignation.

“The increase of hate speech in New Jersey is deeply troubling, even more so when coming from an elected official. Hate has no home here in the 16th district or in our state,” the two Democratic assemblyman said, adding a call for Reiner’s resignation.

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