Garden State Debate

A weekly News, Politics and Business News podcast
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Happy New Year's season to you and your families! Considering the toll that 2020 has taken on all of us to some degree, and to others more than we will ever comprehend, we hope that we can take some silver linings from 2020 and build upon it in 2021. After a successful Season I of Garden State Debate, amassing 20,000 minutes of viewing and listening in just a couple of months, with little promotion, and excellent content and guests, we can't wait to do it again in 2021, and build on what we started. Thank you to all of our guests, and to the listeners and viewers who checked out the show even if for a little bit, and to those who watched regularly. We have just reached the foot of the mountain and it's time to climb! Stay tuned, more to come on that. For now, we hope you will enjoy some downtime with your family, enjoy New Years, and if possible, raise a glass to getting through a tough year, learning and gaining new perspectives, and looking forward to 2021. This clip is from our final Episode of Season I, which is a fitting toast to a happy and healthy New Year, and more Garden State Debate, featuring NJ Senate Majority Leader, Senator Loretta Weinberg. See you in ‘21. Cheers.
Senator Weinberg is the Senate Majority Leader (D) in the New Jersey State Legislature and has held that post since 2012. Weinberg has been a member of the NJ Legislature for 28 years, serving in the Assembly from 1995 to 2005 and the Senate from 2005 to present. In this one of a kind in depth discussion, Weinberg is not short on details as she walks through policy and accompanying stories, including:Public Service from the beginning, even before joining the Legislature. 2009 bid for Lieutenant Governor on the Weinberg-Corzine ticket. Bridgegate and her role investigating the issue. LGBTQ and Women's Equality and passion and policy from early on. Dynamics between Senator Weinberg as Majority Leader and Senate President, Senator Sweeney. Katie Brennan, sexual harassment, and pending Legislation as a result that the Senator is leading. NJ Transit from the beginning to now, pending Legislation Sponsored by Weinberg. Cannabis Legislation pending, thoughts on potential rollout across NJ. Is Senator Weinberg going to retire in 2021? *Senator Weinberg becomes the first guest to break out the Champagne (literally) on the show! Music, Instrumentals and Lyrics, provided by Jeiris Cook (@JeirisCook)Website: www.GardenStateDebate.comEmail: Podcast@GardenState.ComYouTube Channel: Please subscribe "Garden State Debate" 
Dustin Racioppi, New Jersey Statehouse reporter of USA Today Network, Bergen Record,, and others, top reporter in New Jersey and the region, discusses his experience in the media from the beginning of his career, to the incredible work and challenges that have gone into covering the Pandemic and the Governor. Dustin joins Garden State Debate with two guest hosts to take a deep dive into the following topics, and more:Background: Where did Dustin start his career and how did he arrive at his current position at the Bergen Record?Media Importance: Discussion around the evolution and consolidation of media and it's critical importance in protecting democracy.Media Trust: How does "Fake News", Social Media, and certain individuals disparaging the media impact the job? Pandemic Coverage: Dustin's experiences attending countless Governor Coronavirus Press Briefings, and the group discusses the state of affairs around how the Governor is perceived, what's behind the "red curtain" and what it might mean for NJ. Dustin Racioppi on attending Governor Murphy Press Briefings "To his credit he's been out there two, three, in the heat of it, five days a week, giving updates to people on the basic information that they need, which is a good thing, but certainly when it comes to hard-ball questions and really critical questions, for one, I have been dissatisfied with the answers."Special Co-Hosts Joining Garden State DebateLen Resto, Councilman of Chatham Borough, President of NJ ARP Joe Colangelo, Boxcar, Founder and CEO, Entrepreneur Music, Instrumentals and Lyrics, provided by Jeiris Cook (@JeirisCook)
Senator Declan O'Scanlon (R) represents the 13th district of the New Jersey State Legislature and has since 2018. Senator O'Scanlon sits on a number of critical committees including, Budget and Appropriations, Community of Urban Affairs, and Law and Pubic Safety. Prior to becoming Senator, O'Scanlon was elected to and held office in the NJ Assembly since 2008. Senator O'Scanlon joins us to discuss the following, and more! Senate Dynamics, New Jersey State Budget, Federal Cares Act Funding Dynamics between the Senate and the Governor's administration, specifically throughout the pandemic. The challenges and opportunities related to being in the minority party in in the Democratic led legislature. Analysis of the FY 2021 New Jersey State Budget and Federal Cares Act funding received by New Jersey. Recreational Cannabis Legislation and Applicable Bills (Current Status) Details on the Senate Bill currently being heard and reviewed by the Senate Budget Committee. Views on primary intentions and goals of and what the current Bill does not address. Views on municipalities and local government officials responding to local constituents in making decisions. 2021 and Moving Forward Will Senator O'Scanlon run for re-election in November 2021? Will O'Scanlon run for Governor? Spoiler Alert - his answer is not what you may expect... Garden State Debate - Information Website: Email: Podcast@GardenState.Com YouTube Channel: Please subscribe at "Garden State Debate" Music, Instrumentals and Lyrics, provided by Jeiris Cook (@JeirisCook)
New Jersey Transit Advocate PanelTodd Barretta, former and first Chief Compliance Officer at NJ TransitLen Resto, President of New Jersey Association of Railroad PassengersRobert Hale, Transit Advocate, global rail construction costs expert who blogs at www.real-rail.comThe panel joins us to discuss a wide range of topics covering NJ Transit, including:The most pressing issues facing NJ Transit currently.Joe Biden presidency (“Amtrak Joe”) potential impact on NJ Transit, e.g. Gateway Project.Grading NJ Transit’s response to safety during the Pandemic.Impacts from outsourcing planning and processes, and relative to global best practices.Assessment of Senior Management and the Board of Directors.NJ Transit Reform Bill, the 2018 Bill that was the passed, and current proposed Bill.2021 and beyond - What should NJ Transit be focusing on moving forward?Podcast & Videocast Information: Website:,Email: Podcast@GardenState.ComYouTube Channel: Please subscribe at "Garden State Debate"Music, Instrumentals and Lyrics, provided by Jeiris Cook (@JeirisCook)
Will Dodge, Founder and Owner of Bull N Bear Brewery, set to open before the end this year, 2020, in downtown Summit, New Jersey, walks us through is several-year battle, both ups and downs, on what has gone into opening up a brewery, a small business, highly regulated, in the midst of a pandemic in New Jersey. A behind the scenes look, candid view of what is to come at Bull N Bear BreweryWhat drove Will's passion and formal decision to making it official and opening a brewery?What was it like from a federal, state, and municipal level, opening a brewery during this time?How has Coronavirus and the Pandemic of 2020 had an impact on Bull N Bear Brewery?Will gives a personal tour of the brewing equipment and capacity. Small location? Think again. Final thoughts, stories, silver lining, generous community support, and special beer tasting!BREWERY OPENING DATE: Will gives the official announcement, and it's less than a few weeks away!"Every problem is an opportunity in disguise" ~ John Adams quote, and Will Dodge perspectivePodcast & Videocast Information: Website:, Email: Podcast@GardenState.ComYouTube Channel: Please visit and subscribe "Garden State Debate" Music, Instrumentals and Lyrics, provided by Jeiris Cook (@JeirisCook)
Bob Gordon, NJ Board of Public Utilities Commissioner (BPU), NJ Transit Board Member, and former NJ State Legislature Senator and Assemblymen, joins us to discuss his role as Commissioner of the NJ BPU and their role within New Jersey. Part II of a two-part series that you don't want to miss!Part II - NJ Board of Public Utilities Commissioner (2018 - Present)Bob Gordon: "The Board has total authority over the private companies and their performance." What is the NJ Board of Public Utilities (BPU), what do they do, and what is their structure? What is the BPU currently working on, including clean energy initiatives?How does Commissioner Gordon assess the response to the most recent storm, Isaias in Aug 2020?Re Isaias, upcoming reports, actionable recommendations to power companies including JCP&L. Majority Senate Leader, Senator Loretta Weinberg, question directly to Bob Gordon.Part I - Life in Public Service, NJ Senate, NJ Transit BoardPREVIOUS EPISODE - ALREADY RELEASED - TUNE IN NOW!
Bob Gordon, NJ Transit Board Member, NJ Board of Public Utilities Commissioner (BPU), and former member of the NJ State Legislature as both a Senator and Assemblymen, joins us to discuss his story from an early age and passion for public service, through his current roles, and everything in between. A discussion of a distinguished tenure in public service, a two-part series that you don't want to miss! Part 1 - Early Life in Public Service, NJ Senate, NJ Transit BoardWhat drove Mr. Gordon's interest to public policy an early age? Time spent in Washington D.C, higher education degrees in Public Policy and M.B.A. Back home to New Jersey to work through private and public sector opportunities. NJ Legislature, Assemblymen (4 years) and Senator (10 years) through 2018. NJ Transit Board of Directors Role in early 2020 through present. Part II - NJ Board of Public Utilities Commissioner - NEXT!
Nancy Erika Smith, attorney and partner at Smith Mullin, practicing law in employment discrimination and civil rights, widely recognized as a top-rated attorney in New Jersey and America, featured on many national media outlets, joins us to discuss her life long journey in New Jersey to cases she's working on today, and everything in between, including Ms. Smith's: 1) Upbringing in New Jersey through Rutgers Law School, to the LSATs and how she got started in the 1980s.2) Drive to practicing law, and her focus on practicing in areas of employment discrimination and civil rights. How are cases in these practice areas treated differently by the courts?3) Important and high-profile cases that she won through settlement or litigation, cases vs corporations such as Fox News and Government entities such as NJ Transit.4) Practicing law in NJ under various Governor political affiliations, changes to the NJ Supreme Court.5) Thoughts on policing and transparency, praise for the Force Report, and Ms. Smith’s lawsuits in cases pertaining to Police in New Jersey.6) Thoughts on media and how a valued democracy relies on great journalism.7) NJ Transit specific cases, many over the years, broken down in detail, its impact to taxpayers, including a brief gag order stemming from a Tweet on the back of an Op-Ed that I wrote in The Record - the gag order was quickly dropped. SMITH: "If I were the Governor, I would be saying, why are we defending this?"
Michele Siekerka, President and CEO of New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA), representing over 1 million employees in New Jersey through its membership, joins us to discuss the following and much more: 1) NJBIA's background, organization, and role it serves within New Jersey 2) Pre-Covid business climate, wealth migration, and state business trends 3) Covid pandemic impact on NJBIA, it's members, changes in business trends 4) Federal CARES Act I $2.4bn received by New Jersey and it's status of use of funds 5) FY 2021 NJ Budget, emergency borrowing, pension funding, impacts to crowding out spending 6) Emergency borrowing in detail, impacts to credit ratings and future borrowing 7) What's keeping residents and businesses in New Jersey? 8) Final thoughts, individual and business rent relief, gas tax and toll hikes, 'infrastructure drives economy', when will the economy recover, and what drives Michele Siekerka's passion for New Jersey's businesses?
Charlie Kratovil, Co-Founder of the widely distributed media outlet, New Brunswick Today, political activist, political candidate, and expert on the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA), join us to discuss the following and more: 1) Charlies views on protecting democracy and associated headwinds in NJ 2) NJ laws, OPRA and OPMA, how he uses them and how you can too 3) Critical stories Charlie is covering including latest updates on the Lincoln Annex School
Jeiris Cook, professional singer, songwriter, and musician who resides and plays up and down the state of New Jersey and surrounding areas, joins us, to discuss his journey as a musician 1) His "music is therapy" mantra and it's impact on his style and the pandemic 2) Challenges of being a musician and the passion that drives him 3) Why you don't have to be a mega-star to make music a successful profession Live music on the show including! 1) Garden State Debate Intro 2) Bad to the Bone (current single) Episode Special Guest: Aaron from NY
Professor Peter Woolley, Co-Founder of Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) Poll and head of Global Public Affairs at FDU joins us to discuss Polling in detail, as we tap into his wealth of knowledge to cover these critical questions, and more:What goes into Polling and how is it done?What happened in the 2016 Presidential Election, did Pollsters get it wrong?Why do we bother measuring public opinion?
Dr. Jack Audett, Chief Medical Officer at Overlook Medical Center, part of Atlantic Health System. Overlook, home to one of the state’s largest and highly-regarded neuroscience programs, has been regionally and nationally recognized by HealthGrades, U.S. News & World Report, as well Newsweek’s list of World’s Best Hospitals. When the COVID-19 pandemic arose in our communities, Dr. Audett was at the forefront as the hospital transformed to handle this unprecedented threat to our communities. He joins us today to share how Overlook rose to the occasion, what they’ve learned and what he expects to come as NJ enters the fall of 2020…
Welcome to Garden State Debate, a podcast AND a videocast launched in the fall of 2020. Garden State Debate is multifaceted show that is not like any other, and we can’t wait to show you why. This show will bring you exclusive in-depth conversations with special guests up and down the state of New Jersey and across the country. We are casting a wide net to bring you, our listeners and viewers, the best content that you deserve. We know we have a lot of ground to cover, and we will do our best to bring you a wide range of viewpoints of various topics and issues impacting many of us today. We will be speaking with individuals from small business owners to industry leaders, from community leaders to public officials and those running for public office. We will sit down with advocates fighting for change and we will be here to listen to people who are burning with passion to take a chance on a small idea and make into something much bigger.  We hope that our show will provide you with different perspectives that keep you informed, engaged, and energized on what’s happening in the world around us. Our takeaway from this show is what we make of it – whether it’s to double down on our passion, or to work harder, or learn something new, or simply listen and watch for pure entertainment, regardless, we hope you’ll come along for the ride.   In an ever changing world of news, stories to be told, and people to be heard, we hope you’ll participate and engage with the show and our guests and get involved and join the Garden State Debate.
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Podcast Details

Created by
Garden State Debate®
Podcast Status
Sep 11th, 2020
Latest Episode
Jan 1st, 2021
Release Period
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour

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