The Jersey City Young Democrats hosted a fundraiser for their one-year anniversary last night, with four women endorsed by the Hudson County Democratic Organization appearing as special guests.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
The guests were Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31), who is running for state Senate, Jersey City Democratic Organization Chair Barbara Stamato, who is running for Assembly in the same district; Jessica Ramirez, an attorney running for Assembly in the 32nd Legislative District; and Hudson County Commissioner Yraida Aponte-Lipski (D-4).
“We strive every day to help our community … Women bring another of view. They bring another perspective,” JCYD President Cory Garriga said at the Light Rail Cafe.
While addressing the room, Ramirez, also a Jersey City Planning Board commissioner, explained the she was born in Puerto Rico before moving stateside in the 3rd grade.
“I made it my mission to help the underdog. To truly make a difference, you need to remain engaged,” she began, also noting that she wants to push more equitable policies if elected, which seems likely given that she has no primary challenger.
“Healthcare should be a right, not a privilege,” she added, which is the slogan of the Medicare for All campaign.
She also said she wanted to address climate change, mental health funding, and student debt before mentioning that women should have more voices at the table.
“It’s been decades, and I’m still paying my student debt. It’s an economic crisis. Women are underrepresented in government. I really think things are changing. Women are taking on leadership roles,” Ramirez declared.
“As minorities, we bring brand new priorities. We women, we do the same thing. Women can drive that change.”
Jersey City Council President Joyce Watterman was one of several other electeds who attended and she echoed a sentiment similar to Ramirez’s during her public remarks.
“I’ve been an advocate for women. Women bring a lot to the table. We’re still lagging with women in leadership,” she asserted.
“If 50 percent of women will vote … we will win every time. It’s time for us to stop sitting on the sideline … Women really need to be at the table. We’re nurturers. We bump each other up.”
Hudson County Commissioner Bill O’Dea (D-2), affectionately referred to as the godfather of the young Dems, was featured briefly and he commended the group and the women on the ballot with him in the June 6th primary.
“God bless everybody. All the women running this year are amazing,” he exclaimed.
Assemblyman Will Sampson (D-31) also expressed his support of women in leadership roles and talked about bolstering voter turnout this cycle.
“It’s about being at the table. It’s very important for you to get out and vote … If they know Hudson County is a force … they will put more money behind Hudson County. Why would you want to put something where you don’t get a high voter turnout?”
McKnight also encouraged people to tell their friends and family to vote before noting that while politics can get dirty, women are naturally nurturers and caregivers.
“We know how to multitask. Everything I do, I do with my heart. We need young Dems here. We need to pass the baton here. We’re at the table together. Let’s create more and more tables” she stated.
“It is a pleasure and an honor to be here. I’m so proud that we have a group of people like you. We need women. If we don’t have women, don’t count me in. We’ve been suppressed,” Aponte-Lipski stated.
Stamato, who also serves as an aide to Ward D Councilman Yousef Saleh, pointed out that while O’Dea is the godfather of the young Dems, she is the godmother. She congratulated them on their first year in operations.
“If you’re with the group, it’s an organization. If you’re not with the group, it’s a machine. We work together to make sure we’re doing the right thing for the Democratic party,” she said.
“I’ve done everything behind the scenes. I always liked what I’ve done. Not everybody can be an elected official.”
Others in attendance included Hudson County Register Jeff Dublin, Jersey City Councilwoman-at-Large Amy DeGise, former Jersey City Ward F Councilman Jermaine Robinson, who owns the establishment, and New Jersey Democratic State Committee Deputy Executive Director Leslye Moya.