During North Bergen Mayor Nick Saccoâ€™s annual ball at the Venetian catering hall, which drew a crowd of over 2,000 people, a theme among a few of the stateâ€™s top Democrats was electing Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) to another term.
The first to express that sentiment was Bergen County Democratic Committee Chair Lou Stellato, who of course also wants to see Phil Murphy elected governor.
“Seriously, look: we are one county – Bergen, Passaic and Hudson. We’ve been working together for a long time, you don’t find one of us without the other two. It’s a triad that will bring great things to the State of New Jersey,” stated Stellato, noting they’re all working together to get Murphy in office.
“I want each and every one of you to know, as I want Nick Sacco and Vinny Prieto to know, of course John Currie and I know this already, we are committed to work[ing] arm in arm, hand in hand to the bitter end.”
While introducing John Currie, the head of the New Jersey and Passaic Democratic Committees, emcee Joey Muniz – a veteran operative of Team Sacco – made it clear that Stellato and Currie would be supporting Prietoâ€™s third term.
“Like Lou said, it’s not three counties, it’s one region. The three are together and nobody will separate it for any reason. Nobody will be bought off by contracts, by favor[s], this is a real friendship, it’s a solid alliance,” quipped Muniz.
Essex County Democratic Chairman Leroy Jones, who once made the triad a quad, has already thrown his support behind Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-19) for speaker, a fact that clearly hasn’t been lost on Prieto loyalists.
“As Chairman Stellato said, there is no way we go, nowhere we go, that we’re not with Hudson, Bergen and Passaic. We are one, we’re gonna win this thing and we’re up and ready to go!,” exclaimed Currie.
As heâ€™s previously told Hudson County View, Prieto said that his main priority right now is getting Murphy elected governor.
“We’re here for one thing: we want to make sure on November 7th we have a friend in the executive branch, that we elect Phil Murphy as the next governor of the State of New Jersey,” Prieto said to applause.
“After eight years under [Gov.] Chris Christie, we need New Jersey to come first and this is the guy that’s gonna do it. So for me, it’s a pleasure to be able to be here today and stand with all these elected officials behind this man [Murphy] and behind Nick Sacco.”
Greeted with enthusiastic applause as â€œEye of the Tigerâ€ blared over the speakers, Sacco explained how North Bergen had taken big hits to their budget under Christie – a big factor in him supporting Murphy.
“Our Urban Enterprise Zone lost its money, we can’t develop anymore in our town. We have been attacked and destroyed by this current governor. I’m now here to introduce you to our next governor,” said Sacco.
“A man who understands the urban needs of the State of New Jersey. Understands the people of New Jersey. Who worked hard to get where he is now. He didn’t just arrive here, he worked at it. He understands what we need and how we’ll survive when we go to the future. It will not be easy.”
Before the program wrapped up, Murphy said that Hudson County would see the biggest benefit from a changing of the guard in Trenton – with Bergen and Passaic Counties not far behind.
“We have had it with the Christie/Guadagno administration. We need to turn the page. And with your help, we’ll turn the page. And no county will be more better off if we do turn that page than Hudson County, followed right behind by Hudson and Bergen,” exclaimed Murphy.
” … We have 33 days to go. But listen, remember one thing: we can’t wish it to happen, we can’t hope it to happen, we can’t pray it to happen, we have to vote it to happen.”
Murphy endorsed Prieto for re-election to the Assembly back in April, but has thus far stayed neutral in the speaker race.
The laundry list of officials that made the trek to Garfield included Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, East Newark Mayor Joe Smith, Guttenberg Mayor Gerald Drasheff, Harrison Mayor James Fife, Kearny Mayor Al Santos, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, West New York Mayor Felix Roque, Assembly members Nick Chiaravalloti (D-31), Angelica Jimenez (D-32) and Raj Mukherji (D-33), Guttenberg Council members Wayne Zitt, Monica Fundora and John Habermann, North Bergen Commissioners Allen Pascual, Julio Marenco, Frank Gargiulo and Hugo Cabrera, West New York Commissioners Cosmo Cirillo, Margarita Guzman and Sue Colacurcio, Freeholders Caridad Rodriguez (D-7), Anthony Vainieri (D-8) and Al Cifelli (D-9), Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari, former U.S. Sen. Robert “Torch” Toricelli, ex-West New York Mayor Sal Vega, among many, many others.