For the past year, I've been critical of our GOP caucus in the legislature. Allowing the governor to run essentially unchecked with a pile of executive orders that crushed our businesses, social interaction, and our education system. Of course, there were a few who stood strong throughout the lockdowns but as a minority and without the support of the party leadership, it was a tough fight.

As you hear me say often, New Jersey can't be fixed from the top-down only. We need to have the people rise up and start taking control locally to turn around the bad policies that have devastated our economy and culture over the past twenty-plus years. Many have decided to leave with NJ topping the list for the past several years of states people are moving away from. Then an interesting thing happened on Election Day.

While the GOP candidate against Murphy who decided to trash the former GOP president in the last couple of weeks and refused to commit to signing EO's which would liberate our kids and businesses, hundreds of local candidates who embraced freedom and common sense, won. The GOP local Assembly candidates made tremendous gains as well, closing the gap on the Democratic Majority. And the big win, truck driver Ed Durr, toppled the most powerful legislator in Trenton, Senate President Steve Sweeney.

The victory gave new life to the opposition to the lockdown/mandate party and we saw the energy erupt at the capitol this week. The Democratic Assembly Speaker desperately tried to enforce a vaccine mandate, to the point of ordering the New Jersey State Police to bar lawmakers refusing to comply from the chamber. The good news is that the well-trained and disciplined troops were not going to ignore the law to play the speaker's political bullying game.

After the GOP resistance took their rightful seats in the chamber, the speaker lost it. Doubling down on his vaccine mandate, he threatened the legislators with forceful removal if they did not comply. Once again, the NJSP stood strong and on solid constitutional ground, refusing to remove anyone. The Speaker then had no choice but to start the voting session but not before he trashed the NJSP members for not following his misguided and blatantly unconstitutional order. Disgraceful for sure.

The arrogance of some NJ politicians knows no bounds. The chaos at the State House yesterday showed us that if you stand your ground and display courage in the face of outrageous power-hungry elites, you can win. And win we did. Thank you to the courageous GOP legislators who stood up for all of us during this protest and our brave State Troopers who clearly understand the law better than the Democratic majority in Trenton.

Several lawmakers who were at the forefront of the confrontation joined me on the air Friday. Hear their stories:

Assemblyman Jay Webber (Represents: Butler, Fairfield (Essex), Jefferson, Kinnelon, Lincoln Park, Montville, Morris Plains, North Caldwell, Parsippany-Troy Hills, Rockaway Township, Verona, West Caldwell, West Milford)

Assemblyman Brian Bergen (Represents: Bernardsville, Boonton, Boonton Township, Chester Borough, Chester Township, Denville, Dover, Mendham Borough, Mendham Township, Mine Hill, Morris, Morristown, Mount Arlington, Mountain Lakes, Netcong, Randolph, Rockaway Borough, Roxbury, Victory Gardens, Washington (Morris), Wharton)

Assemblyman Erik Peterson (Represents: Alexandria, Alpha, Bedminster, Bethlehem, Bloomsbury, Bound Brook, Bridgewater, Califon, Clinton, Clinton Township, Franklin (Hunterdon), Franklin (Warren), Frenchtown, Glen Gardner, Greenwich (Warren), Hackettstown, Hampton (Hunterdon), Harmony, High Bridge, Holland, Kingwood, Lebanon Borough, Lebanon Township, Lopatcong, Mansfield (Warren), Milford, Peapack-Gladstone, Phillipsburg, Pohatcong, Raritan (Somerset), South Bound Brook, Tewksbury, Union (Hunterdon), Washington Borough (Warren), Washington Township (Warren))

Assemblywoman Serena Dimaso (Represents: Aberdeen, Atlantic Highlands, Fair Haven, Hazlet, Highlands, Holmdel, Keansburg, Keyport, Little Silver, Marlboro, Middletown, Monmouth Beach, Oceanport, Rumson, Sea Bright, Union Beach)

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app

Where NJ's 'red wave' of the 2021 election was reddest

In 2017, Gov. Phil Murphy won the election by 14.1 percentage points, a margin exceeding 303,000. His re-election was much closer, an 84,000-vote, 3.2-point victory. He and others talked about a ‘red wave’ of Republican voters in the electorate, and certified results show which counties turned red most.

How to get from Monmouth/Ocean to the Holland Tunnel without paying tolls

Sometimes even your GPS doesn't know the back way to certain places.