Last updateWed, 04 Dec 2019 3pm


My Night at Governor Chris Christie’s Victory Party

Every state and federal election my University’s Political Science Club takes a bus to the campaigning headquarters of the two different parties. This year I decided to jump on the board and get the full on experience. However, this year the professor in charge could not leave until 8 pm, so we could only go to the winning campaigns victory party.

The Bus

The bus was outside of our University’s student center, waiting for all the political science junkies to get excited to go to the Headquarters of non-other than the Governor Re-Elect Chris Christie. It was large and in charge (fitting I know), with comfy seats and TV screens pulled down, reminding me of what real political journalist ride on following their assigned candidate. We figured, as the political science group, that there would really only be other fellow members. What we did not expect was not know the majority of the people on the bus. There were graduate students, undergradrautes and people from the community alike all on board to have a night of political nerdiness. While on the bus waiting for the official call that we all knew was coming, I got the tweet that we were heading to the right party to hear the right Candidate give his acceptance speech.

Getting into the Party

When entering the Asbury Park Convention Hall we all had tickets and ID’s in hand. While waiting a woman working for staff went around informing all the women in the group they could not have a bag bigger than the size of a wallet for security reasons. This my friends is to make sure that no one was carrying in any weapons to such an event as the  Governor’s accepting his speech to be a Governor again. Luckily I did not have a bag much bigger than the size of a fist, in preparation for such and ideal, and got in without a problem. 

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Voters Raise Minimum Wage

New Jersey voters passed a constitutional amendment to raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 and to tie future minimum wage increases to inflation. This raise will affect businesses and workers alike.

The amendment passed 60 percent to 40 percent, according to USA Before the vote, Gov. Chris Christie had vetoed the bill (A2162) passed by the New Jersey Legislature in 2012. The Legislature voted to have it placed on the ballot where it passed on Nov. 5.

Christie said that raising the minimum wage was not a good idea.  He said it was, “Just an irresponsible thing to do.” He has also called it “a truly ridiculous idea” to write the minimum wage increases into the state constitution, according to a USA Today article.

“The money doesn’t come off a magic money tree. The money comes from the pockets and the hard work of the small-business owners,” Christie said.

Aimee Parks, Assistant Director of Human Resources for Student Employment said that there are 1,048 Federal Work Study (FWS) placement students. Parks said that there will be meetings regarding the effects of the new wage. She also said this will make student positions more competitive. “Our office expects more students will want to work on campus and on campus [jobs] will be even more competitive. It will be a good motivator for students to sign up for their job in advance next fall,” said Parks.

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Five Years Since the Economic Crisis: Where Are We Now?

President Obama announced the five-year anniversary of the financial crisis at his address to the nation last month, reminding Americans that we have yet to fully recover from the economic collapse of the 2008.

The 2008 financial crisis, known worldwide as the Global Financial Crisis, has had immediate and long-term effects on our nation’s economy that we are still recovering from today and most likely will be for many years to come.

According to an article from CNN, the economic crisis resulted in the failure of hundreds of large and small businesses and contributed to a vast decline in consumer wealth estimated in trillions of U.S. dollars.

The downturn in American economic activity also led to the 2008-2012 recession; argued by many economists to be the worst recession our country has seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

It has been five years since the crisis began and thousands of U.S. citizens and their families, small and large corporations, investment banks, as well as our national government are still struggling to recuperate.

Despite government attempts to remedy the economy after the financial collapse, there has been minimal economic recovery, an article from CNN explains. For example , the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 attempted to save and create jobs as well as provide temporary relief for those impacted by the recession, but has not had worked as anticipated according to the article.

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Special New Jersey Senatorial Election Voter Turnout at All Time Low

On Oct. 17, Democrat Cory Booker won the special election to be U.S Senator for New Jersey against Republican Steve Lonegan. They both ran for an aggressive two months to finish Sen. Frank Lautenberg term after he passed away while in office last June at age 89. Unfortunately, the turnout was extremely low for this election.

“Voter turnout in the special election was about 24 percent of registered voters. That’s the lowest turnout for a statewide election since at least 1920, which is as far back as state records go.

“That even includes elections in off-years when there is no statewide office, such as Governor or U.S. Senator on the ballot,” said Patrick Murray, Director of Monmouth University Polling Institute.

One reason to explain what happened during the special election is that many people were unaware of said election, according to Murray.

Murray continues, “Part of this had to do with the fact that New Jersey has never had a special election, let alone one that was so close to the regular election – and on a Wednesday to boot.

Monmouth University Polling Institute found that even among voters who almost always go out to vote, about 1-in-10 were still unaware of the special election just days before it occurred.”

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Is Lobbying Good for Politics?

The Effects on Lobbying in the American Political System

We know that Congressmen are not all math wizzes who can foresee all outcomes when it comes to economic theory; they are not seasoned scientists who can cite the effects every decision has on the environment. Apart from hearings, advisors, and constituents like you and me, who really informs politicians and government officials?

Thomas Boggs is a 72-year-old resident. He has practiced law, worked as a coordinator in the White House, and found success in these fields.

He is also a certified lobbyist. Lobbying is something anyone can do. Lobbying requires a five  minute conversation with your local member of Congress on any topic or issue.

Every major company hires lobbyist ranging from pharmaceuticals to automobiles business hire lobbying firms to have someone promoting their interests, to law makers. Top lobbying firms like the one Boggs is a senior partner for make from $20 to $40 million a year.

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Monmouth Debate Team Attended West Point Military AcademyTournament

The Monmouth University Debate Team competed at the West Point Military Academy tournament on October 18-19, 2013.  The tournament included approximately 90 teams from 17 universities including Cornell, Vanderbilt University, The U.S. Naval Academy, Boston College and NYU to name a few.  Each year, a topic is picked to be debated throughout the year.


The Monmouth team created a case limiting the President’s authority in the area of drone strikes.  Monmouth debater Sana Rashid received a 10th place speaker award at the tournament.  Monmouth entered seven two person teams in the tournament, including team captain Dan Roman and Michelle Grushko, who debated in the experienced division, and Jessica Roberts and Kyle Tucker, Ryan Kelly and Saliha Younas, Danielle Doud and Monica Santos, Rafael Gonzalez and Michael Hamilton, Amanda Kontor and Luis Reyes,  and Sana Rashid and Irma Pinos. Ten Monmouth debaters made their debating debut at this tournament and every team secured at least one victory.  Jessica Roberts and Kyle Tucker fell just short of making the playoff rounds with a 3-3 record.

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Mock Trial Team Won First Award at Coast Guard Academy Invitational

Team B (our novice team) cut their teeth on their first invitational at the Coast Guard Academy this weekend, winning 1 ballot (out of a possible eight).  They were nervous, but prepared and professional. All of the students are eager to compete in more invitational this semester before the regional placements in the spring. This is a mirror image of the current Team A from their very first invitational ever last December at Temple.

Team A placed 9th out of a field of 20 teams, moving up consistently as the tournament went on, finishing with a record of 5 winning ballots, 3 losses.  In only a year of having a team, this is a remarkable achievement particularly the improvement from last year!  Anthony Giannopolous, new to the team this year, was told by a round judge (who is also a fulltime faculty member at the USCGA) that he gave the best cross-examination he’d ever seen in any of these competitions.

Our first award happened at this invitational – Cara Turcich won an individual award for best witness performance.  These awards are determined by the judges in each round deciding which competitors gave strong performances as both attorney roles and witness roles.

PHOTO COURTESY of Gregory Bordelon

Phone Operators Dealing with Obamacare may Have Caused Confusion due to Lack of Training

An elderly man calls to ask if the land he owns will count as income to qualify for health coverage through Medicaid. A legal immigrant asks if she can sign up for a health plan through the state’s online insurance marketplace. A broker wants help to become certified to start selling coverage.

It’s 10 a.m. Monday inside the call center of Connecticut’s new insurance exchange established under the Affordable Care Act, the federal health law. On the 21st floor of the downtown Prudential Building, about 25 operators in blue shaded cubicles are talking on telephone headsets while a dozen more callers wait on hold.

“It’s controlled chaos,” said David Lynch, the call center manager for the marketplace.

Centers like these were touted by President Barack Obama this week as one of several alternatives for consumers having trouble shopping and enrolling in plans through, the bug-ridden website run by the federal government for residents of 36 states.

“The call centers are available,” he said, reciting the telephone number _ 1-800-318-2596. “You can talk to somebody directly and they can walk you through the application process. . . . Once you get on the phone with a trained representative, it usually takes about 25 minutes for an individual to apply for coverage, about 45 minutes for a family.”

But consumer advocates say the centers were never meant to be an alternative to the insurance exchange website. They were conceived of as a supplement _ a way to offer some consumers more help to understand their options.

“The telephone call center is not a realistic alternative to the website,” said Adam Linker, a health policy analyst for the North Carolina Justice Center, a consumer advocacy group. “The marketplace was billed as a place to easily shop and compare plans, but on the phone there is no real way to do that.”

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Political Superstorm: Sandy and the Government’s Role

Stronger Than the Storm: Superstorm Sandy One Year Later

Superstorm Sandy hit and government agencies and personnel were expected to serve the citizens and communities affected by the storm. Issues such as easements, dune replenishment and insurance claims have been a large part of the recovery effort.

According to a Monmouth University polling institute poll, Gov. Christie is leading over State Senator Barbara Buono by 24 points. Christie’s popularity soared after Superstorm Sandy to 69 percent approval rating.

Dr. Joseph Patten, Chair of the Political Science and Sociology Department, said, “Polls show that New Jersey residents admire the way he took charge during the crisis, and his willingness to work across the political aisle with Democrats to solve problems in our state.”

Patten continued, “This is especially appealing to residents since Washington has been bogged down in partisan politics in recent years.  Generally, Governors and Mayors are less partisan than legislators because as executives they are responsible for solving problems, they actually run the government, and usually prefer not to waste as much time with partisan bickering.”

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Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal in NJ

SSMarriageGov. Chris Christie has stopped his lawsuit to prevent same-sex couples from being married in the state of NJ. Same-sex couples can begin getting married starting Monday, Oct. 21 according to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Christie's attempted to prevent same-sex marriages from taking place until the appeal is settled in January. Following the announcement from the NJ Supreme Court, Christie stopped his lawsuit.

According to's statement from Christie's office, "Although the Governor strongly disagrees with the Court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, the Court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey Constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law. The Governor will do his constitutional duty and ensure his Administration enforces the law as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court."

The New Jersey State Legislature had voted to allow same-sex marriages in 2012 but the Governor had vetoed the bill saying that he believes the issue should be left up to the voters via referendum Nov. 2013. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in 13 states including: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington as well as the District of Columbia.

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LSAT May Dictate Where You Go to Law School

The LSAT Exam is One of the Main Components that Law Schools Examine for Acceptance

LSAT101In a 2011 survey, 12,9925 students took the law school Admission Test, better known as the LSAT, every year. Although there has been a decline in the amount of students taking the LSAT each year, the LSAT attracted close to 250,000 million students a year.

In 2009, 171,514 students took the LSAT and in 2010, 15,5050 students took the exam.

However, due to the recession and international competition from competing oversea law schools, the U.S. numbers have dropped substantially over the years. However, getting into law school did not always require the LSAT test. At one point, a students GPA alone was the determining factor of getting into law school until 1945 when the following schools created a board to structure what would be called the Law School Admission Test.

The idea for a test that would filter out prospective students, who could actually survive the intense curriculum of law school was developed by a Columbia law school teacher, Frank Bowles.

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The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
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Monmouth University
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Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151