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.
I discussed this with my conscience?
Fraguela: Excuse me conscience, are you busy?
Conscience: Who is speaking to me? Oh it’s been so long Rafael, yeah I got a few minutes.
Fraguela: Well I wanted to ask you about embryonic stem cell research?
Conscience: You mean the deliberate destruction of human life to experiment on and possibly help to extend someone else’s life.
Fraguela: Well no, I meant embryonic stem cell research.
Conscience: Do whatever you want, I am going back to sleep.