Top Democrats from across the state, including leading Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy, packed La Reggia in Secaucus to support Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32), who also serves as the chairman of the Hudson County Democratic Organization.
With about 200 people in attendance, politicians practically lined up at the microphone to praise the job Prieto has done as both the Assembly Speaker and the chairman of the HCDO.
In one of his first public speeches since endorsing Phil Murphy for governor and announcing he’ll run for re-election, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop led off the program for the evening.
“I think you know that when you have a commitment from Speaker Prieto, it is a 100 percent rock solid,” exclaimed Fulop.
“Over the last two years, I can tell you the job that he’s done managing Hudson County, managing down in Trenton and being a friend to some of the thing we were exploring here in Hudson County, has been second to none in a job that is beyond difficult.”
Fellow Democratic Committee Chairmen LeRoy Jones, Lou Stellato and John Currie, of Essex, Bergen and Passaic (Currie is also the statewide chair), respectively, also had nothing but good things to say about Prieto.
“The thing that underscored Vinny is something that Steve [Fulop] just alluded to: and that is simply loyalty,” stated Jones.
“You don’t have to talk about the moral obligation of government when you’re here because Vinny Prieto exemplifies that moral obligation,” added Stellato.
“Let me tell you, we are so fortunate to have this man as our Speaker. You guys, and ladies, are also fortunate to have him as a county chairman because you cannot find a man with a better heart,” Currie proclaimed.
U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) also commended Prieto on his pleasant demeanor, which he called the “antithesis” of Gov. Chris Christie (R).
State Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco, a mentor and close friend of Prieto, reminded those in attendance that Prieto stood his ground against Christie on pension reforms.
Receiving a standing ovation as he took the podium, Prieto, who moved to Hudson County from Cuba when he was 11 years old, said it was truly a privilege to be able to have a positive impact on New Jerseyans.
“Whatever the issue is in the State of New Jersey is a passion and a labor of love, is [about] trying to do the right thing,” Prieto said.
” … There’s so many issues, for me, coming from where I came, how I grew up and how blessed I am, with my family and the places I’ve been, and the opportunities I’ve gotten, able to do so many things, for so many people, it’s very important to me.”
Before the night was over, leading Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy, who received a plethora of endorsements last week (including the HCDO), said Prieto is one of the state leaders he admires in Trenton.
Political operative Joey Muniz served as the emcee for the evening.
The long list of those in attendance included Assemblywoman Joann Downey, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (both D-11), Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D-17), Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19), Assemblyman John McKeon (D-27), Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti, Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (both D-31), Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez (D-32), Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro (both D-33), Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (D-35), Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-36), Assemblyman Joe Lagana (D-38), Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-38), Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, Kearny Mayor Al Santos, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, West New York Mayor Felix Roque, Freeholders Anthony Romano (D-5) and Anthony Vainieri (D-8), West New York Commissioners Sue Colacurcio, Margarita Guzman and Cosmo Cirillo, Jersey City Democratic Organization Chairman Shawn “Sully” Thomas-Sullivan, among many, many others.