Houghtaling and Downey Host Holiday Toy Drive

Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey are hosting a Toy Drive to make sure everyone has a very happy holiday this year.

The Toy Drive will be hosted through December 7. All toys will be distributed to local non-profit organizations.

“We feel extremely fortunate to be able to host this Toy Drive and to have a hand in making this holiday season joyful for everyone in our community,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling.

“Everyone deserves a happy holiday,” said Assemblywoman Downey. “We hope you join us in our mission to make this holiday season very merry.”

Donations can be dropped off to the District 11 Legislative Office, located at 802 West Park Avenue, Suite 221, in Ocean Township.

For additional questions, please contact the District 11 Legislative Office at (732) 695-3371 or email the Assembly Members at AsmHoughtaling@njleg.org or AswDowney@njleg.org.

Downey Applauds Appointment of Ficker Terrill as Monitor of Bellwether Behavioral Health

In response to the appointment of Cathy Ficker Terrill by the Department of Human Services to monitor Bellwether Behavioral Health, Assemblywoman Joann Downey issued the following statement:

“The reports of abuse and neglect of patients at Bellwether Behavioral Health’s facilities are deeply disturbing,” said Assemblywoman Downey, Chair of the Human Services Committee. “I am pleased to see Governor Murphy and the Department of Human Services have taken this step to respond to the lack of standards at Bellwether’s facilities. I am confident that under Ms. Ficker Terrill’s watch, these extreme acts of negligence will be an unfortunate thing of the past.”

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Houghtaling, Downey, Pintor Marin, and Gopal Celebrate Portuguese Culture

Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, Assemblywoman Joann Downey, Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin and Senator Vin Gopal, introduced legislation designating March 15 of each year as “Peter Francisco Day” in New Jersey.

The proposed holiday recognizes Peter Francisco’s many acts of bravery and contributions during the Revolutionary War.

“We are proud to represent such a large community of Portuguese-Americans and feel fortunate to be involved in establishing this holiday celebrating a significant aspect of not only their culture but American history as well. We look forward to this bill being signed into law and celebrating the first annual Peter Francisco Day, ” said Assemblyman Houghtaling.

“It is imperative that we celebrate the diverse cultures and communities that make up our great State. Peter Francisco Day would be an ideal way to celebrate our Portuguese-American residents while learning more the contributions that individuals of Portuguese descent have made to our great nation,” said Assemblywoman Downey.

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Downey Responds to Reports of Viral Outbreak At Care Facility

In response to horrific reports of a viral outbreak at a long-term care facility that has claimed the lives of 10 children and infected 27, Assemblywoman Joann Downey, Chair of the Human Services Committee, issued the following statement:

“As a parent and as a legislator, I am absolutely horrified by the details that have emerged surrounding the viral outbreak at the Wanaque Center,” said Assemblywoman Joann Downey.

“Allegations about rusted equipment and filthy conditions indicate a  blatant disregard for patient safety and are absolutely appalling. Having two young daughters myself, I cannot imagine what the parents of these innocent children must be going through. I demand a full investigation on how this establishment was able to operate under these obscene conditions for so long, and how these children were left susceptible to this deadly virus. Those responsible for this inscrutable lack of basic health standards must be held accountable, and the State should be confident that an outbreak like this is prevented from ever occurring again.

“The Department of Health has been on-site monitoring the outbreak and I am encouraged to learn that these teams have also been sent to work with facilities across the State who care for children and youth with disabilities and complex medical conditions.”

Houghtaling and Downey Support New Jerseyans with Type 1 Diabetes

A joint resolution introduced by Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey to designate the Monday before Thanksgiving as "A Day in the Life - Type 1 Diabetes Day" was approved Monday, October 29.

The joint resolution (AJR152) asks the Governor to annually issue a proclamation recognizing the Monday before Thanksgiving Day as "A Day in the Life - Type 1 Diabetes Day," and calling upon public officials and the citizens of New Jersey to observe the month with appropriate activities and programs.

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Houghtaling Bill to Publicize Information of Farm-to-Table Restaurants Advanced Through Senate, Now Heads to Governor

Seeking to bring awareness of the benefits of fresh, clean food, Assemblymen Eric Houghtaling has sponsored legislation to publically promote farm-to-table restaurants on the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism website. The bill advanced through the Senate during the chamber’s voting session on Monday by a 40-0 vote.

“In the age of mass production and processed food, it is important to promote establishments that are providing New Jerseyans with the freshest, cleanest food,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “This will also encourage our citizens to shop and eat locally grown and produced food, which is good for our economy.”

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