Thursday, August 16, 2012


So just who is this man, Frank J. Pallone, Jr.? He has been a congressman representing parts of Monmouth County for nearly a quarter century but what do we know about him?
We will attempt to provide a bit of information on him, from a political standpoint.
We will begin with the 11th Legislative District and its delegation as it stood back in the early 1980s. This included Senator Brian T. Kennedy and Assemblymen Anthony M. "Doc" Villane, Jr. and William F. Dowd, all Republicans. This lineup had represented the shore district since the mid to late 70s; the delegation was known as the "Shore Team" because of their active interest in the Jersey Shore, especially Doc Villane. Bill Dowd withdrew from the ticket in 1981 and was replaced on the ballot by Freeholder Joseph A. Palaia. The team of Kennedy, Villane and Palaia was successful in 1981.
Frank Pallone, Jr. is the son of Frank J. Pallone, Sr., who was a longtime Long Branch Republican and a member of the County Committee. The elder Pallone brought his son to G. O. P. leaders and tried to get him on the 11th District legislative ticket. In addition to there being no vacancy on the ticket, Pallone was told that he would have to "walk before he could run". The Pallones then went to the Democrats, probably his first act of political opportunism. Pallone was elected to the Long Branch City Council in 1982.
1983 was a "perfect storm" election. Republican Freeholder Frank Self was suffering from a credibility problem due to discrepancies brought up by Democrats about his Vietnam War service. Democrats smelled blood in the water. Pallone was the senate candidate in the 11th. Democrat leaders bosses targeted Kennedy as the weakest on the delegation and Pallone was elected to the Senate by less than 1,000 votes. He would dually hold both his city and legislative offices until elected to Congress in 1988.
In the Legislature Pallone was considered a conservative, he was actively pro-life and not crazy on fiscal matters, which probably didn't hurt him getting reelected in 1987. Among his peers in the Legislature, however, he was earning a reputation as a political opportunist. He quickly co-opted the G. O. P. team's issue of the Shore, and gained a reputation for stealing and taking credit for other legislators' bills.
The incumbent congressman at the time was Democrat James J. Howard. It was no secret that Pallone was close to Howard, whether this was sincere or just more opportunism is open to speculation. Howard, although not indicating that he would retire, was clearly grooming Pallone to succeed him. Other Monmouth County Democrats favored State Sen. Richard Van Wagner (D-13).
The 1988 election cycle opened normally. Howard was running for reelection and would be challenged by Joseph Azzolina, the veteran legislator.
Suddenly Howard died and Democrats nominated Pallone to replace him on the ballot. Pallone would defeat Azzolina in the General Election.
Many Republicans initially considered Pallone an improvement over Howard, due to his conservative leanings in the State Senate and willingness to reach across the aisle. Congressman Chris Smith was pleased to have another pro-life colleague, especially on the Democrat side of the aisle.
Within six months of taking office Pallone suddenly morphed into a pro-choice, tax & spend liberal. More political opportunism.
After the 1990 Federal Census, New Jersey lost a congressional seat. The old 3rd and 6th Districts were combined, and Rep. Bernard Dwyer (D-6) retired rather than go against Pallone in a primary. This extended the district deep into Middlesex County, safening the seat for Pallone.
The Pallone of today is a far cry from the 1980s "Blue Dog" of the State Senate. Long gone are his pro-life days. Long, long gone. Now a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Pallone supports cap & trade and has even claimed authorship of the Obamacare legislation:"This is not Obama’s bill. This isn’t Nancy Pelosi’s bill. This is MY bill."
It is time for this chameleonic character to go.
They say a woman's place is in the house; it's time to put Anna Little in the U. S. House of Representatives!

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