Much of our work in the District 11 Legislative office during 2020 revolved around the COVID-19 public health emergency and the economic downturn. As we look back on the past year, we remain committed to working with our partners in nonprofit and civic organizations, small businesses, education, healthcare, local clergy and municipal government to help Monmouth County residents meet the challenges of the pandemic in the year ahead.
In the Legislature, 18 of our bills were signed into law. Several focused on veterans, who were hit hard by the virus, especially those living in state-run nursing homes. Our legislation called on Congress to release CARES Act funds to offset COVID-19 related losses at veterans homes and fully fund rebuilding two of them. Other bills set standards to ensure a veteran’s service is recognized when they compete for civil service jobs and in calculating a public pension.
Our efforts to help Monmouth County residents and small businesses get through the health emergency included legislation that changed the public notary law to enable individuals and businesses to get documents notarized remotely during a public health emergency. That law helped open the bottleneck, as did our legislation allowing new drivers who have passed a road test to get their driving permit stamped on the spot and use it as a driver’s license until they can obtain a permanent license.
We succeeded in requiring long-term care facilities to institute Isolation Prevention Plans so their elderly residents would not be cut off from family and friends during a health emergency.
In the community, our constituent services team assisted nearly 2,500 residents in 2020 with basic needs including finding food pantries and providing resources to help pay rent and utility bills. They helped Legislative District 11 residents navigate the Department of Labor’s overwhelmed website when applying for unemployment insurance benefits and provided information on voting by mail-in ballot in the Primary and General Elections.
The office conducted drives to collect socks and women’s toiletries to distribute at shelters for those experiencing homelessness, as well as toys to help cheer children in need during the holidays. They hosted virtual Kid’s Congress to help young pupils learn how government works, and held Mobile Office Hours to assist Legislative District 11 residents in the communities where they live before the health emergency and virtually when they could no longer go in person.
We conducted a blood drive to support Charlotte Scalese, a 2-year-old cancer patient who lives in Neptune, where we also recently hosted free COVID-19 testing and flu shots. We will continue to host the pop-up COVID-19 testing and flu shots with our partner Ocean Health Initiatives Inc. in other towns during the months ahead.
Our office also hosted virtual forums and roundtables with our Legislative District 11 community partners to generate conversation about police-community relations, school funding and reopening policies, and barriers of entry to persons with disabilities.
None of this work could have been done without you, the residents, businesses and community partners of Legislative District 11. Your advice, your comments and your suggestions drive the Legislative District 11 office, and that’s the way government is supposed to work. We ask for your continued help in the year ahead and, as always, we welcome your ideas. If we can be of assistance, please never hesitate to call our office at (732) 695-3371, or email us at email@example.com.