Bergen Record: Loretta Weinberg - a hero of common sense after her Madoff losses

We wish good luck to our local politician Loretta Weinberg and all those who lost money to crooks like Madoff and Merkin and to those who lost in general in the stock market tsunami of the past year. Whether it was 50% or 100% of your investments, it's difficult sure, but it's only money. Loretta says it plainly and honestly in today's paper and we agree. She is a bit modest though. She has her sterling accomplishments in a career of self sacrifice to public service. That's one fine example for us all.
Weinberg: Despite setbacks, life goes on after Madoff scandal

AS I CONTEMPLATE the shocking news about my financial losses connected with the Madoff scheme, it has been an unsettling experience.

I appreciate the gentle words of encouragement and admiration from friends, colleagues and even some folks I've never met. And I try to ignore the mean and vicious (and sometimes anti-Semitic) comments made by the crazies who blog anonymously to spew their own hostilities about the world around them. I worry about my larger family, and think about the fallout from the many charities that will no longer help those less fortunate. How can someone try to ruin the Elie Wiesel Foundation? Yes, definitely shocking.

And it is painful to realize that all that I planned to use for my grandkids' college education or to take them on a trip to Disneyland no longer exists.

I was hesitant to talk about all this publicly before I gave that first interview to a reporter from The Wall Street Journal, who seemed to want to get to the bottom of it all. I wish him luck. My hesitancy arose from the fact that my life (and that of my extended family) has never been defined by how big we thought our IRAs were growing. And I certainly don't intend my future life to be defined in that way either.


I love the work I do as a state legislator. I am particularly proud of the part I've played in trying to help clean up a corrupting political environment. I intend to continue in these roles. I also hope to play a future part in getting our federal government to make sure that the so-called regulators actually do their jobs.

I hope that my decision to publicly discuss being victimized in a scheme that has taken so many innocent folks along the way is not a cause of shame. Life as a public official is more or less an open book, and, for me, this is a footnote in that book.

I know that I am more fortunate than most. I can pay my mortgage and other minimum daily expenses of my life. I have work that I love and that is important.

I have a family rising to the challenge of making their own way in the world. Friends and colleagues are particularly appreciated. And my annual Super Bowl Party will go on with folks bringing some of the pizza.

And, no, there will be no new flat-screen television, which I promised everyone last time, but the Giants will still be cheered on by all of us.

We have much to do to help our economy stabilize and then grow, both nationally and in our state. We have to debate the alternatives and then come together to decide solutions and ways to improve.

We have to remember the families who can't pay their mortgages and are facing foreclosures. We have to figure out how to face ballooning deficits both nationally and in our state.

No easy answers

I know there are no easy answers to this bumpy future road. But each of us, along with each member of our respective families, must travel that road individually and collectively. I know it is scary, but I will try to do it with a little fortitude and appreciation for all I do have.

Together we will face a new year filled with trepidation, but also with many new promises. I look forward to the challenges facing us.

My prayers are with our new president and with each of us. May we share a happy New Year!

Loretta Weinberg of Teaneck is a state senator serving the 37th District. She was reported to have lost her life savings as a result of the alleged Ponzi scheme by Bernard Madoff. Authorities say total losses for all victims stemming from this scandal may top $50 billion.

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