An unconventional path to the Senate

first_imgEditor’s Note: This is the first story in a series featuring the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s graduates serving as members of Congress. This series, titled “Trading Golden Dome for Capitol Dome,” will run on Fridays.  When Sen. Frank Lautenberg died on June 3, 2013, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie asked Sen. Jeff Chiesa, then the state’s attorney general, to advise him on what action to take in light of the senator’s death.  Leaving the meeting, Chiesa said he did not think he was someone Christie might ask to fill the vacant Senate seat. At about 10:15 p.m. that night, Chiesa said he received a call from Christie. “I got a call from the Governor, who asked if he could come to my house and talk to my wife and I that night,” Chiesa said. “And that’s when I said to my wife, ‘He is not coming over here to talk Notre Dame football’ … He is coming over because he is going to ask me to go to the Senate. We have a decision to make.’” Chiesa said he spoke at length with his wife and Christie about his appointment to the Senate, and then accepted the offer the next day.   “He didn’t care if I was running, he never asked me how I would vote on anything, and he thought that it would be a great way for me to continue my public service – he knew how much I loved being Attorney General,” Chiesa said. “I thought this would be a wonderful thing to do, you can have a big impact even in the four or five months I’m here, and once [my family] was comfortable with [the appointment] we made the decision the next day.” A life of service Chiesa, who graduated from Notre Dame in 1987, became the first Republican to hold a New Jersey Senate seat since 1982. His tenure will be the fourth shortest of the 65 senators in New Jersey’s history.  His desire to give some of his life to public service was strengthened during his time at Notre Dame, Chiesa said.  “There is a faith-based component to your education here that is with you when you get there, and further nurtured while you’re there,” Chiesa said. “You can tell it’s an atmosphere of community. It’s a college atmosphere where people are always looking to help each other, looking to improve the lives of people they don’t know in many different ways.” “I think anybody who enjoys and admires the kind of thing that Notre Dame stands for, the best way you can translate that professionally is to commit some part of your life – and some people commit their entire careers – to public service.” Chiesa said he feels various aspects of the Notre Dame community instill a desire to serve in its students.  “The academic training you get as a student, but just importantly the community that you live with: my friends, my professors, the people at the University [emphasize the value of service],” Chiesa said. “Fr. Hesburgh was president when I was there, and he was somebody who gave his entire life to other people through his priesthood and through his service to the University – I admired him greatly and continue to admire him greatly. “If you’re going to try in some small way to emulate that kind of behavior then you want to try to get into public service. I think the Notre Dame education and the sense of community stay with you for your entire life … I think that is a fundamental characteristic of people who graduate from Notre Dame.” Working for New Jersey After he graduated from Notre Dame with a B.B.S. in accounting, Chiesa received his J.D. from the Catholic University of America and then went into private practice. Following 10 years in private practice and seven years as a U.S. prosecutor, Chiesa said Christie asked him to serve as his campaign counsel.  “When he was elected, he made it clear to me he wanted me to be a part of his administration, and that he wanted to pick the role I could best serve in,” Chiesa said. “It was a very easy decision for me – he is one of my closest friends, I have tremendous respect for him as a person and professionally and I knew that he was exactly what New Jersey needed to pull itself out of a horrendous situation, both in terms of the financial picture of the state and moral, generally.”  Working in state government positions, Chiesa said he enjoyed being able to work toward tangibly improving New Jersey for its residents.  “As a public prosecutor you have a huge impact on your state and on your community,” Chiesa said. “I never thought I was going to be attorney general, but you have that chance and a tremendous opportunity to impact your state and your community.” Still, Chiesa said he never expected to hold elected office. “My last elected office was senior class president in high school, so I did not expect to be here,” he said.  Limited time in office Chiesa will serve as one of New Jersey’s senators until the state’s October 16 special election, which will allow the people to elect a new senator. Because Chiesa said he will not run in the special election, he will have served approximately four months in office.  Serving in the Senate for a relatively short time period prompted Chiesa to choose several issues to be his focus, he said. “The issue I’m going to pick while I’m here is human trafficking,” he said. “I’m going to try to work to bring awareness to it, to strengthen our laws in any way that I can, and to try to continue as I did as attorney general to communicate the importance of combating human trafficking.” This focus resulted from his experiences as attorney general and his time at Notre Dame, Chiesa said.   “Part of your education at Notre Dame and part of our faith teaches us that you have an obligation when you’re in a position to help somebody else out, to help them out,” Chiesa said. “For me as attorney general that meant I targeted people who would pick on vulnerable victims. So, I went hard after child pornographers, I went hard after gangs, I went hard after human traffickers.” “To the extent that now that I’m in the legislative branch, I can help strengthen the laws or bring more awareness to these topics, that’s what I would like to do.” Chiesa said he also plans to continue advocating for his state to receive the aid it needs from the federal government to fully recover from Hurricane Sandy. “The Governor has done a great job, the state is well on its way,” Chiesa said. “But, a lot of the money comes from the federal government so I’m going to continue to push as hard as I can for New Jersey while I’m here.”  Because he jumped into a position others have held for years and been prepared to take for an even longer time, Chiesa said he had some work to do to prepare himself to weigh in on the issues under consideration in the Senate.  “When I came down here during my first three weeks in-session I was really focused on learning everything I could about [the immigration bill], and then making my judgment at the end of the process,” Chiesa said. “That was something I had to get up to speed on, because they’ve been debating it here in the Senate for months.” Chiesa said he voted in favor of the bill because he felt it would have a very positive effect on the nation and on New Jersey. “It was my feeling at the end of this discussion that the bill that we passed as a Senate improves border security and improves our ability to track people on exit and entry, it improves our e-Verify system so that employers can make sure they’re hiring people who should be here and who are eligible to work,” Chiesa said. “In every measurable way it improves things, and I’m in a state where 450,000 people will be affected by this. … Ultimately, this decision for me was one that made sense. It made sense, I thought, nationally, and I certainly thought it made sense for the people of New Jersey.” Sen. Bob Menendez, Chiesa’s New Jersey counterpart in the Senate and chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, has vocally supported action in Syria and worked with the White House to develop a bill to submit for Congressional approval. Though the Senate shelved the resolution to authorize the use of military force in Syria after President Obama’s national address Tuesday, a Sept. 11 Washington Post article quoted Menendez and several other leaders who indicated talks about potential military action would continue should the use of force be deemed necessary.  Communications director Ken Lundberg said Chiesa is “unannounced” on how he intends to vote on a resolution regarding Syria, though he has attended several classified briefings, met with White House officials and other members of Congress. After his term concludes, Chiesa said he plans to reenter private life to lessen the strain his work has put on his family. Though he now contributes to the formation of national policy, Chiesa said attending Notre Dame was one of the “biggest thrills” of his life. “I remember it like it was yesterday — it was March of 1983 that I got my acceptance letter, really it was just a thrill,” Chiesa said. “I had a hard time believing I was going to have a chance to go to school there. … I think anybody who went to school there is very lucky, and my view is that I will do anything I can to help the University.”  Contact Nicole Michels at nmichels@nd.edulast_img read more

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New NCUA Board Member: 3 reasons why it won’t happen

first_imgHe’s too political. Self-Help has close ties to the CFPB, reportedly meeting with the bureau to weigh in on payday loan regs. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby was a strong opponent of the Dodd-Frank Act and is no fan of the CFPB. He’s still angry with Democrats for refusing to attach his Dodd-Frank reform to the omnibus spending package last year. Shelby – whose chairman seat expires this year due to term limit – is unlikely to give Democrats anything before he leaves, especially if someone with CFPB ties is involved. The White House yesterday announced it would nominate Self-Help Credit Union SVP for Hispanic and Latino Affairs John A. Herrera to the NCUA board. Herrera would probably be a great board member, but the odds of him being confirmed are very slim. Here are three reasons why: 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » He’s a Democrat. Why in the world would a Republican-controlled Senate give Democrats control of the NCUA board? Currently, NCUA board party power is balanced between Democratic Chairman Rick Metsger and Republican Board Member Mark McWatters. I doubt the goings on at the NCUA keep Senators up at night, but it would nonetheless defy logic for Republicans to cede control of any federal agency to the opposing party.last_img read more

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Govt should learn from Dutch in apologizing for human rights violation: Activists

first_imgHuman rights activists have urged the government to learn from the Dutch king by, among other measures, admitting past human rights violations, apologizing to the families of victims and working to resolve cases through judicial and nonjudicial measures.Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) deputy director Wahyudi Djafar said the Netherlands’ apology to Indonesia for its excessive violence in the past could be a lesson and motivation for the government to do the same for victims of past human rights violations and their families in this country.Indonesia, he went on to say, should follow the lead of other countries in apologizing for past human rights violations, including Australia, Belgium, Japan, Germany, South Africa and the United States. Wahyudi, however, deemed the President’s statement ironic, given that the government had not apologized for past human rights violations allegedly committed by Indonesian armed forces or caused by the government’s discriminatory policies.“We saw in an interview with the BBC in February when the President explicitly said that enacting human rights values was not his priority at the moment. We lament that statement since many victims or families affected by gross human rights violations have been ignored by the government,” said Wahyudi.He went on to say that the United Nations Convention against Torture, which had been ratified by Indonesia in 1998, stipulated that the government was required to apologize to victims of past gross human rights violations.Read also: Indonesia military to blame for 2014 Papua killings: Rights commissionA 1983 UN resolution on the responsibility of states for wrongdoing also called on governments to express regret and apologize for human rights violations.“The apologies should be oriented toward victims and acknowledgement that gender discrimination also occurred during those violent acts,” Wahyudi added.According to data from the Office of the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister, at least 11 gross human rights violations await resolution, including the 1989 massacre in Talangsari, Lampung, and the shooting in Wamena, Papua, in 2003. (glh)Topics : “We also urge the government to provide economic assistance and trauma healing for people affected by such violations,” Wahyudi said in a statement on Wednesday.Read also: Public lack faith in Jokowi’s ability to solve past human rights abuses: SurveyDutch King Willem-Alexander conveyed the apology during his four-day visit to Indonesia with Queen Maxima, saying he expressed “regret and apologies for the excessive violence on the part of the Dutch in [the early years of Indonesian independence].”President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo responded to the statement by saying that past events, even if they were hurtful, could be lessons for strengthening mutual respect among others in the future.last_img read more

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Storjohann motors to Marshalltown victory

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (June 7) – Travis Storjohann put his no. 12R machine across the finish line first in scoring the victory in the Karl Kustoms Northern SportMod 18-lap event Friday at Mar­shalltown Speedway.  He finished just ahead of eighth starting Jake McBirnie. By Joyce Eisele  The 20-lap IMCA Late Model contest went to Jeff Aikey.  Aikey, piloting the car of Rick Dralle, took the lead from Todd Cooney on lap three, and never gave it up. Travis Storjohann was the Friday night Karl Kustoms Northern SportMod winner at Marshalltown Speedway. (Photo by Chuck Stowe) Shawn Ritter led the 18-lap IMCA Stock Car main event from flag to flag in a race that went cau­tion free.  Ritter grabbed the lead immediately from his outside front row starting spot and was never seriously threatened on his way the checkered flag.  Rust came from ninth to score his third victory of the year. Ethan Braaksma made his debut in the division, moving up from the SportMods, and took fourth after starting 12th. Randy Havlik charged through the field from starting 18th and was fifth.  Joel Rust set his hot rod on the top of the track and sailed to the win in the IMCA Modified 20-lap­per.  Tim Ward finished in the runner up spot, Cody Laney was a hard charger, coming from the 17th starting spot, to finish in third. The 15-lap IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock feature saw a familiar face back in victory lane as Shan­non Anderson ran down early leader Leah Wroten and never relinquished the top spot. read more

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Emirates FA Cup quarterfinals resume live on StarTimes this weekend

first_imgRelatedPosts NBC Code and non-exclusivity provision, by Kunle Osisanya-Afolabi GO partners top retail, tech brands on Black Friday sales this week StarTimes illuminates movie experience with Hollywood Channel, Jenifa’s Diary debuts Soccer fans will be treated to live sporting actions on StarTimes this weekend as the Emirates FA Cup returns with four ties on Saturday and Sunday.The quarterfinal ties of the 2019-20 FA Cup have already been decided prior to the competition being halted in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Norwich City are due to face Manchester United on Saturday at 5:30pm.On Sunday, Sheffield United will play Arsenal at 1pm; Leicester City face Chelsea at 4pm; and Newcastle United will play holders Manchester City at 6:30pm.All matches will air live on StarTimes World Football Channels 244 and 245.The semifinals will take place across the weekend of July 11 to 12, with the FA Cup Final scheduled for August 1.The English FA meanwhile, have announced that the final this year will be renamed the Heads Up FA Cup final to raise mental health awareness. Prince William, who is the president of the FA, said it was an important step.William said: “[The final can be] a moment to promote good, positive mental health for everyone.“It’s quite timely bearing in mind what we’ve all been through with this pandemic [Covid-19]. I think there’s going to be, sadly, a lot of repercussions from this in society, not just in football, in terms of people’s mental health.“Hopefully the FA Cup can be a bit of a pivot that people can rally around.”Another tasty football clash is the Bundesliga cracker between Wolfsburg vs winner’s elect, FC Bayern Munich, on Saturday by 1:30pm. Tags: Emirates FA CupLive FootballQuarterfinalsstartimeslast_img read more

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