Many of the top Democrats in the state coalesced around Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) on his home turf of La Reggia in Secaucus.
“The guy who stays calm even when the fights get tough and the insults start flying, Vinny always has the same demeanor. And that has manifested itself right into Hudson County where we’re going through an unprecedented pox-Prieto where we’ve been at peace for a long time,” said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise.
Tammy Murphy, the wife of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy, said that Prieto was the type of leader that needs to stand up to Gov. Chris Christie (R) in his final year in office.
“I can tell you on a personal level, and I know I speak for Phil and everyone in this room, how we’re all looking to you to stand up in this next year to Chris Christie, as he has the backing of he who shall not be named in Washington D.C.,” she said.
After LeRoy Jones and Lou Stellato, the Democratic Committee Chairmen of Essex and Bergen Counties, respectively, spoke about their continued quad county alliance with Prieto (as well as with Passaic/Statewide Dem Chair John Currie), political operative Joey Muniz introduced the man of the hour.
“He’s the same guy that I met in 2004. He’s a gentleman, he’s caring, he’s mindful, he’s not selfish, he’s not arrogant, he’s level-headed, and it is so nice to see a guy with all those great values succeed,” said Muniz, who also served as the event’s emcee.
“I’m just Vinny and I told everyone I like to be called Vinny: I’m the same guy when I got here and hopefully, when I leave here, I will be the same guy,” Prieto stated.
“For me, it’s about a labor of love of trying to make the quality of life of the residents of this state better and each and every single one of you know you have a seat at the table regardless what the issue is.”
The many dignitaries in attendance included Assembly members Nick Chiaravalloti, Angela McKnight (both D-31), Angelica Jimenez (D-32), Annette Chaparro (D-33), Sheila Oliver (D-34), Shavonda Sumter (D-35), Gary Schaer (D-36), Joe Lagana (D-38), Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari, Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, Harrison Mayor James Fife, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, Guttenberg Councilman Wayne Zitt, Hoboken Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-8), West New York Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo, among any others.