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“Any elected official or candidate running for office that touches on removal of Religious Exemptions to vaccination, touches on taking away parental choice, or touches on taking away freedom of choice will have major issues being elected or reelected. There is a political revolution that is taking place right now and if those individuals want to remain in office or enter office they better not touch upon these freedoms or they will be in very big danger. They can hear me now or they can believe me later.” – New Jersey Assemblyman Jamel Holley
February 7, 2020 — I’ve been running a Health Freedom Blog for 10 months, but it wasn’t until the morning of my long-scheduled interview with the amazing Jamel Holley that my blog was hacked. The New Jersey Assemblyman’s campaign website is no stranger to similar “technical difficulties” ever since Holley began ramping up his challenge to Big Pharma.
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I strongly urge everyone to please give whatever you can to Jamel Holley. After interviewing him I have no doubt that he is 100% committed to fighting across the entire nation for #HealthFreedom & #VaccineChoice. While he is not a parent himself, it is as if he has adopted all of our children in this battle. The passion Holley speaks with is infectious. He is a rising Health Freedom Fighter championing our cause, and what I find most exciting are his discussions on building “Urban Health Alliances.”
“We are discussing how to develop an Urban Health Alliance to focus on educating the African American and Hispanic communities because a lot of these communities are not informed about the dangers of vaccines.” Holley said they plan to bring this message to churches, places of worship, community health and civil rights organizations to make sure Black and Latino communities have access to the real science surrounding vaccination. This is a game changer folks; it is an outgrowth of what Curtis Cost began at The Harlem Vaccine Forum which was so incredibly feared by the likes of Peter Hotez and CBS News. Jamel Holley and RFK Jr. may prove to be an extremely dangerous duo to the status quo.
“Wherever there needs to be a voice to protect parents and their families I will be there to lend my support to this cause,” reassures Holley.
The Assemblyman called me as he was traveling back from Connecticut’s State Capitol after the February 5th Health Freedom protest, where he was one of the keynote speakers. “Several hundred people were at the Capitol today. It was very electrifying; the parents are extremely engaged, more engaged now than ever to bring more people out…This is a political revolutionary one issue movement that I believe is going to take place in every state in this country.”
Holley made sure to clearly express his disdain for the term “anti-vaxxer.”
“Not one parent that I’ve spoken to is an anti-vaxxer. That word should not be used to describe a parent who birthed a child. These parents are good people who want to make their own choice and protect their religious freedom…Government has no place, no entrance into that conversation.”
The Battle in New Jersey
For those who don’t know the specifics of what went down in New Jersey, there was a bill to repeal the Religious Exemption to vaccination that was missing one vote in the Senate to pass. To get that vote a deal was cut with Republican Senator Declan O’Scanlon to allow the Religious Exemption to vaccination in private schools, but not public schools. Holley was already voting no to the bill – long before this amendment was proposed – but when this came on the table he began actively lobbying his colleagues to join him in voting no.
“We do not need to rewind the clock back. We are in 2020 now and if there is going to be equality for all there needs to be equality for all,” said Holley.
Holley was adamant to his Democratic colleagues that they could not vote in support of a bill that allowed a White Republican Senator to segregate children based on income, zip-code and ultimately based on race. This amendment, meant to save the bill, ended up being its fatal flaw; Holley calls it “The Declan Segregation Amendment.”
“The conversation around repealing the Religious Exemption started out as a public health issue for all children, but then it became about segregating children. That’s when I became very vocal,” said Holley.
Holley gained enough resistance in the Assembly to stop the bill from moving forward, but he couldn’t have done it without the parent advocates and protesters. “Ultimately the bill failed because of the thousands of parents who emailed, telephoned, protested outside the state house and actively educated legislators When you are an elected official you are not supposed to take things personal, you are supposed to hear things out. I heard parents tell me about their children who were perfectly healthy before they were vaccinated. It was easy for me to make an informed decision.”
Conway’s Criticism of Holley
I asked Holley about comments from Assemblyman Herb Conway who is chair of the Health Committee in New Jersey. Conway said that Holley is “not making any friends” with his position on vaccination.
“When I was elected,” Holley told me, “I wasn’t elected to make friends. But to the contrary I have very great friends in Trenton (New Jersey’s Capitol). I’ve been a staffer since I was 20 years old in Trenton; the first African American Assemblyman elected to the 20th District 15 years ago. A lot of these members weren’t there when I was a staffer; I’ve seen them come and I’ve seen them go. If one chooses not to be my friend over a position I choose to take, then so be it.”
In addition to this Holley was just recently reappointed to be a member of the Assembly Health Committee yet again – even with his current outspoken position against vaccine mandates. That means the Speaker of the Assembly made a conscious choice to give that appointment back to Holley regardless. So is Holley really lacking friends in Trenton?
Sweeney’s Alleged Comments
I also asked Holley about a recent headline that claimed Senate President Stephen Sweeney was blaming Black lawmakers in New Jersey for putting children in danger by voting against repealing the Religious Exemption to vaccination.
“I have no response to that at all because I can’t confirm that he actually said that. He did not say that to me. What I can tell you is that I made my concern very vocal to both parties and leadership. I am not opposed to providing some level of medical choice to those that need it, but I am not going to participate in removing Religious Exemptions, parental choice, or pushing a Big Pharma agenda. My agenda is for the people of New Jersey. My vote affects the entire state.”
Looking to the Future
Right now it seems there is no appetite for vaccine mandates in New Jersey, according to Holley.
“This bill (to repeal the Religious Exemption to vaccination) is on hold, though it has been reintroduced. There was a similar bill that would allow children 14-years-old and up to vaccinate without parental knowledge or consent, but that bill was quickly withdrawn. I don’t think the will is there to pass these types of bills right now at all. The legislators I have been talking to, who I won’t name at this time, from what they are telling me believe the will for this issue to be voted on is not there. I do believe there is a will for reasonable discussion and debate around the topic of vaccination.”
The political revolution Holley talks about is not about Democrats, Republicans, right-wing, left-wing, divisions or divides; it is simply about the freedom to choose what does and does not go into our bodies and our children’s bodies:
“I’ve been in state government for 20 years. I’ve never worked more closely with Republicans on any other issue than I have on vaccines. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue; it is a choice issue…I am very inspired by the advocacy and the will power of the parents along with their children because they were out there (protesting) with their parents. That means something! And as governmental leaders who are going to make decisions for them we don’t need to listen to inside politics, we need to listen to the parental conversation that is happening.”
Jamel Holley speaking in Connecticut on Feb 5, 2020