Only New Jersey and Virginia are holding elections for statewide offices this November, and the National Jewish Democratic Council points out that both Democratic nominees for lieutenant governor are Jewish women.
Earlier this week, incumbent New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) named state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, a 74-year-old self-described "feisty grandmother," as his running mate. The New Jersey Jewish News says Weinberg is known as a "straight arrow," and her stand on ethics was a key factor in the choice:
In an e-mail to supporters, Corzine described his high-energy, forthright running mate as “a partner that I can trust” and someone who “will become a unique and important voice in the next Corzine administration.”
Observers took particular note of his labeling her “the conscience of the Legislature.” In a race with the lead players already slinging charges at each other for either abetting corruption or being too soft on those committing it, Weinberg is clearly intended as a “clean” presence on the ticket.
One of the most liberal state legislators, Weinberg is known for her focus on family issues, including hospital care for new mothers and their babies and funds for autism research.
The paper also noted Weinberg’s involvement in the New Jersey Jewish community:
Among Weinberg’s numerous awards, in 1995 the National Council of Jewish Women gave her its Hannah G. Solomon Award, and in 2000 she was named Legislator of the Year by the Jewish War Veterans.
Melanie Gorelick, an associate with the Community Relations Council of United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ, welcomed the news of Weinberg’s selection.
Weinberg has been a champion of JWIN, Jewish Women’s Involvement in the Political Process, a project sponsored by the CRC, the NCJW’s Essex County Section, and the Northern NJ Region of Hadassah.
“She has attended all our events, and she has really championed the cause,” Gorelick said.
Meanwhile, in Virginia, Jody Wagner, who has served as the commonwealth’s secretary of finance and is the former president of Jewish Family Services of Tidewater, will face Republican incumbent Bill Bolling. (Unlike in New Jersey, the lieutenant governor candidates aren’t on the same ticket with the gubernatorial nominees, but run in a separate election.)