Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro (D-33) hosted her first fundraiser since taking office last night, with guests such as Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32), Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise making appearances.
“When your the [Assembly] speaker, you have so many obligations, and one of them is, if you’re able to, is to attend the events for other members and that’s a very big obligation around the state,” event emcee Bernard Kenny, a former state Senate majority leader, said about Vincent Prieto.
Prieto spoke moments prior, commending the passion Chaparro brings to Trenton and calling her a great addition to the Legislature.
Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33), Chaparro’s running mate from this past November, couldn’t resist bringing up the ongoing struggle in Atlantic City while he had the floor.
“The speaker of the Assembly, and our house, may be the only body in our state government right now, standing up for Democratic ideals and the collective bargaining process, an elected Democracy and certain principles that are the core to our party.”
According to Mukherji, Chaparro has actually been one of Prieto’s closest Assembly allies in the months-long ordeal, recalling one instance
“It’s because of folks like Annette having the chutzpah, and I was so proud of her that day in caucus, without discussing the content of what she said, she stood up and the Puerto Rican in her came out,” he said to loud laughter and applause.
Mukherji declined to go into the particulars of the discussion, noting earlier that “what happens in caucus, stays in caucus.”
Zimmer, along with Union City Mayor/state Senator Brian Stack (D-33), was instrumental in getting Chaparro to run on the Hudson County Democratic Organization line – replacing longtime Zimmer nemesis Carmelo Garcia.
The mayor, planning on seeking her third term in office next November, recalled when Chaparro spoke with Hudson County View inside the Brennan Court House minutes after the endorsement last March.
“I remember when you were just starting out and you had your first interview and she turned to me and she was like ‘I don’t have prepared remarks’ and I said ‘You don’t need prepared remarks just go with what you feel and let if flow’ and that’s exactly what your doing.”
Zimmer also commended Chaparro for fighting to get more affordable housing in the Mile Square City.
Chaparro, the fiancee of Hoboken Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante who also works in the city clerk’s office, reflecting on the warm welcome she received in Trenton from Prieto and Mukherji, later noting that she never thought she’d be in this position today.
“He [Prieto] basically just told me ‘be true to yourself, you’re gonna find you’re passion. And I’m like ‘well, I’m not sure I’m gonna find my passion.’ He goes ‘oh no, you’re gonna find you’re passion.’ Well, I didn’t know the passion was that as soon as somebody turned on him, I was like … on fire,” she recalled.
“The mayor [shakes head] … dragged me into this. But, I’m happy she did, because I wouldn’t of. I would’ve said no way, forget it, it’s not for me,” the Assemblywoman said, before Zimmer cut her off to remind her she initially turned down the gig.
“Three times, but we’re not gonna get into that, I’m here,” she said over some laughter.
Others on hand at Dino & Harry’s included Hoboken 5th Ward Councilman Peter Cunningham, Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (D-35) and Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner.