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Christopher Jackman served as Speaker of the New Jersey State Assembly NEW JERSEY LEGISLATURE PHOTO

The more things change, the more they stay the same

By David Wildstein, July 01 2018 1:35 pm


One more story about Emil Olszowy: after the popular 58-year-old Republican Assemblyman died of a heart attack in 1980, his obituary in The (Bergen) Record included a reference to his arrest in 1938, at age sixteen, on burglary charges.

That caused the Assembly Speaker, Christopher Jackman (D-West New York) to go nuclear on the North Jersey newspaper, saying that referring to a respected legislator’s youthful indiscretions was unfair and unnecessary.  He urged his colleagues to sign a letter of protest that was being sent to The Record.

“You don’t have to make a hero out of a man just because he dies.  But to dredge out an incident like that from his past just isn’t right,” Jackman said.  “There was no need to bring it up.”

The Record’s editor at the time, James Ahearn, refused to back down.  He said because a political opponent had once used the charges against Olszowy in a campaign, they were fair game for the obituary.

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