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Thread: Stem cell bill passes New Jersey legislature

  1. #21
    Here are some more stories about Fraguela who is a native of Cuba and a registered democrat since he became a U.S. citizen 26 years ago.


    Stem cell vote gets pol booted by GOP

    Went on conscience, not politics: Fraguela

    Wednesday, December 17, 2003

    By Jason Fink
    Journal staff writer

    State Assemblyman Rafael Fraguela of Union City, who became a Republican earlier this year after a falling out with the Hudson County Democratic Organization, was kicked out of the Republican caucus Monday, following his vote for a controversial stem cell research bill that passed the lower house by a razor-thin margin.

    "In light of Assemblyman Fraguela's disturbing vote supporting the harvesting of human embryonic cells, I cannot in good conscience recognize him as a member of the Assembly Republican caucus," said Alex DeCroce, R-Morris Plains, the Assembly minority leader.

    Fraguela was the only Assembly Republican to vote for the bill.

    The bill, which passed with 41 votes in the 80-member Assembly - Fraguela joined 39 Democrats and Matt Ahern, a Green Party member from Bergen County, in passing the bill - made New Jersey the second state to officially encourage medical research using embryonic stem cells.

    Fraguela, a native of Cuba who said he had been a registered Democrat since he first became a United States citizen 26 years ago, defended his vote, saying his position reflects his own views and those of his constituents.

    "I discussed this with my conscience and at the end of the day this was the best decision," Fraguela said yesterday during a telephone interview.

    "Politics were inconsequential, it's the ideologies of the people I represent that are important."

    Fraguela, who represents the 33rd District, switched parties after a dispute with Union City Mayor Brian Stack, who won the seat in November.

    After Stack got the backing of the HCDO for the Assembly seat, Fraguela ran unsuccessfully on the Republican ticket challenging state Sen. Bernard Kenny, D-Hoboken.

    "I seem to get myself kicked out of places when I express myself," said Fraguela.

    Supporters of the stem cell bill, which has been approved by the Senate and is expected to be signed into law by Gov. James E. McGreevey, argue that the use of embryonic stem cells is crucial to scientists searching for cures to diseases ranging from Alzheimer's to Parkinson's to diabetes.

    Opponents, which include many Republicans in Trenton and the state's Catholic bishops, have characterized the potential consequences of such research as "ghoulish," conjuring images of fetus farms where stem cells would be harvested from genetically engineered humans.

    The bill makes it a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison to clone a human being.

    Fraguela said yesterday it was that provision that convinced him to vote for the bill.

    DeCroce, in a message posted on the Web site of the Republican Assembly caucus, said Fraguela failed to discuss his vote with Republican leaders beforehand, which amounted to a betrayal of his colleagues.

    "The discussion in our caucus was comprehensive and resulted in a decision to have a united front," said DeCroce. "Assemblyman Fraguela turned his back on his constituents and his colleagues. For the duration of this legislative session, he can go his own way."

    Fraguela said he has no interest in participating in Republican caucus meetings for the remainder of his time in Trenton. He will be replaced by Stack on Jan. 13.

    The chairman of the Hudson County Republican Party, José Arango, condemned DeCroce's decision.

    "I strongly believe that our process allows for disagreement," said Arango. "The Republican Party didn't live up to the commitments they made to Fraguela when he switched to the Republican Party."

    Fraguela is accustomed to being an outcast in his own party. Earlier this year, after his aides criticized Stack over a crackdown on city bars, a rift opened between the two men. Shortly afterward, Stack announced he would run for Fraguela's seat on the Democratic line and Republicans offered Fraguela a spot on the ticket opposing Kenny.

    "If they want they can label me as an independent or yellow or green or whatever," said Fraguela. "No one can force me to do anything - this is America. That's why my parents got me out of Cuba."

    Jason Fink can be reached at

  2. #22
    from a friend

    "Just got the word!

    The Governor is signing the stem cell bill at the Kessler Institute in West Orange at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 21, 2003.

    Please spread the word far and wide!"

  3. #23
    There has been a change in the schedule.

    On Sunday, December 21, at 1:00 pm, Governor James E. McGreevey will be signing into law the legislation that permits stem cell research in New Jersey. This ceremony will be held at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation located at 1199 Pleasant Valley Way in West Orange.

    I believe that Assemblyman John F. McKeon and other sponsors of the bill will be there. This is an opportunity for the community to go and applaud those who fought for this bill and made it happen.


  4. #24
    Senior Member kate's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    bellevue, wa, usa
    What a great story! Can somebody post (or email me) the contact information for Mr. Fraguela so I can write and thank him?

  5. #25
    kate, look down a few posts... his contact info is there. By the way, I have heard of a number of other backlash stories. A person with spinal cord injury was just kicked out of a prominent catholic organization because he wrote a letter to a local newspaper praising the bill. Feelings are running real hot. Wise.

  6. #26
    Please note that the signing ceremony is open to the public and people can come to Kessler to congratulate the legislators.


  7. #27
    ATTENTION, posted by Patricia Morton

    Due to the death of Senator Codey's father, the signing of the New Jersey Stem Cell Research bill has been postponed until January 4th at 2:00 at Kessler.

    We are hoping for a great turnout.

    Persist in Hope,

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Lake Hiawatha, New Jersey, USA
    We are very excited to hear that Governor McGreevey will be signing the bill at Kessler West Orange on Jan 4th. We will definitely be there for this occasion. Can Governor McGreevey's email address be posted here so we can contact him to help show support for this bill?


  9. #29

  10. #30
    Many thanks to Renee, her family and the NJ legislators for supporting this important bill. I will be sure to send my regards to Mr. Fraguella.

    [This message was edited by seneca on 12-23-03 at 04:04 PM.]

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