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New Jersey lost a proud progressive, liberal voice last night with the passing of Byron Baer, retired NJ State Senator for district 37.  Legislative giant for four decades dies at 77  Byron spent 34 years in the New Jersey legislature; 21 years as an Assemblyman and 11 years as a state Senator.  

Byron orginally pursued a career in movies special effects, but moved to politics after the call of social justice led him to became a Freedom Rider in the 1960's.  His efforts to expose inequality and promote voting rights resulted him serving time in the Mississippi state Penitentiary along with Martin Luther King.  

During his time in the legislature, Byron wrote and/or sponsored NJ's Truth in Pricing, Right to know Act, Open Public Meetings Act (Sunshine Law), Toxic Catastrophe Prevention Act, Ethnic Terrorism Act, Open Public Records Act, and many more devoted to good government, civil rights and Consumer protection.  Byron's legislation served as a model for many other states and for national legislation.  Biography

Byron devoted his life to public service and to his family.  Bryon didn't just talk about civil rights, he tried to experience it. When migrant farm workers were being abused, Byron went undercover as a farm worker to experience the conditions first hand.  When he was discovered, he was beaten and hospitalized.  This experience resulted in the some of the first legislation in the country designed to protect these workers.

Bryon won numerous awards and certificates, but he was always motivated by the fact that Government should protect those that needed protection and that Government could work effectively if it was open and available for public participation and input.  

On a personal note, Bryon is my step-father.  Bryon was warm, caring, loving and funny.  He always made time to be with family and when public obligations interferred, we understood since we knew he was contributing to a better society.  

My entire family is very sad about this loss, but relieved that the suffering that Bryon had been experiencing is over.  We are so extremely proud of his service to this state and the country.  

I think it is easy to get jaded and lose faith in government with the current administration.  The early years of Byron's career where in the Nixon Era.  The words and actions of politicans like Byron who put ideals and legislative action ahead of self promotion went a long way towards healing the country.  If we fight for and promote politicans like Byron Baer we can help heal this country from the nightmare the current administration has created.  

Originally posted to arogue7 on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 05:23 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  In Byron's Honor (11+ / 0-)

    I hope everyone will make a commitment to support a politican who still believes that Government can work and is willing to make laws that implement our best idea's and ideals.  

    "The woman's life is misery; for God's sake, people, at least give her a few good songs". NYT review of The Color Purple

    by arogue7 on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 05:22:18 AM PDT

  •  This is a beautiful tribute (3+ / 0-)

    Thank you for sharing him with us.  He sounds like a remarkable man.  The episode with the migrant workers is particularly compelling.  My condolences to you, your family, and the people of New Jersey.

    "For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, and the dream shall never die." Ted Kennedy

    by sobermom on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 05:39:01 AM PDT

    •  thank you. (3+ / 0-)

      He had an amazing life.  Ironically, Byron's cell mate from the mississippi jail, who was also a freedom rider, contacted the family last week and he was able to visit this past week.  The gentleman told the family stories of the time in jail and he brought some art that Byron had created in jail and his old mugs shoots.

      In my family, it is a badge of honor to get arrested for promoting social justice.  

      "The woman's life is misery; for God's sake, people, at least give her a few good songs". NYT review of The Color Purple

      by arogue7 on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 05:55:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank You (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CarolDuhart, BachFan

    People get so focused on federal offices such as Congress and they forget all the good work that is done and NEEDS to be done at the state legislative level.

    My wife ran for the state legislature in the last cycle and lost by 68 votes (not that we were counting!) so I do understand to a small degree some of the sacrifices needed in that job.

    I think the best tribute to Senator Baer is to find and "adopt" a state legislator or a state legislative candidate who needs your support, both financially (of course) and at least as important they need your labor.

    We can't have good Congresspersons without developing the "farm team" in the state legislatures.

    Our condolences for the loss to your family and to the state of New Jersey.

  •  He was one of the great ones (0+ / 0-)

    In the classic liberal Democrat mold. An amazing life story as well.  He will be missed.

  •  He was an inspiration to the Senate Staff (0+ / 0-)

    I know that everyone at the Senate Dems staff has missed his conviction and humor since he retired.  We're all saddened by today's news.  Your step-father was truly one of a kind.

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