The election results on November 9th symbolized a terrible victory for the worst part of ourselves, and the worst parts of our national identity.

Those results, which many of us witnessed with increasing despair in the early morning hours, will have immediate, ugly, concrete ramifications for all of us, for our culture, and for our economy. The results will force us to reassess how to protect the progress every single person who is concerned about labor rights, women’s rights, and immigrant rights, has fought for in recent history. This we know, and we should keep talking about it.

However, looking forward, and look forward we must, there’s plenty to remain optimistic about right here in New Jersey. Our political landscape is shifting, and the opportunities available for everyone here to fight for positive, progressive, state-based reform are numerous and exciting. This is our opportunity to demonstrate that New Jersey can once again become an innovator, a leader, and that we won’t give in to despair.

We are, all of us, going to turn New Jersey into a state that represents the ideals we value, a state that repudiates of the politics of meanness and corporate greed. We’re going to strengthen our state labor laws; we’re going to end the privatization of our public services and reinvest in the public good; we’re going to fix our broken infrastructure, protect our immigrant and vulnerable populations; and we’re going to keep Wall Street and private interests away from our tax dollars.

We’re going to put power back in the hands of New Jerseyans, and we’re going to show the rest of the nation that an economy that works for all of us is the only economy that works. But none of us can do that alone. We need to come together and get new allies involved; to build a powerful broad-based movement that will support the transformation of this state into a progressive, innovative leader again, we’ll need as many people involved as possible.

It’s important now, more than ever, that we engage with our families, our communities, and our local governments. That we protect each other, and that we continue, fearlessly, to stand by our values, and each other.

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