Sires talks primary election, why he won’t host a town hall, & importance of the HEROES Act

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U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) discussed his thoughts on Tuesday’s primary election, why he won’t host a town hall, and the importance of the HEROES Act during an interview with HCV.

“The fact that it was done by mail [vote-by-mail ballots] was something that I’ve never done before, nobody’s done it before – on social media, they can put anything on there – so it was different in that respect,” Sires said following an announcement on CARES Act funding in Jersey City on Thursday.

“But at the end of the day, the people in Hudson County know that I’ve been in this county for 57 years – they know the work that I’ve done for the county, they know the work that I’ve done for municipalities, and they gave me their vote: we got about 78 percent of the vote.”

While election results won’t be certified until July 24th, Sires declared victory late on election night and progressive challenger Hector Oseguera, who brought the fight to Sires for about six months, has since conceded – though long shot third candidate Will Sheehan has not followed suit.

According to the latest tallies from the Hudson County Clerk’s Office, last updated on July 9th at 6:39 p.m., Sires scored just a hair under 73 percent of the vote, Oseguera sits at slightly under 25 percent, and Sheehan has a little over two percent with 31,699 ballots tabulated.

Although the number of ballots are expected to at least double, there are currently no trends to suggest the outcome will change, with Sires also posting big leads in the Bergen, Essex, and Union County portions of the 8th District.

Throughout the campaign, Oseguera and some of his supporters were critical of Sires for not being accessible enough to constituents, in particular for not hosting a town hall.

When asked if he and his office were considering this as a possibility, he didn’t mince words.

“Listen, we send out over 100,000 emails every week and let people know exactly what I’ve done during that week. This idea of having town hall meetings: people use it, you go there to create havoc and create noise to develop a name for themselves,” Sires stated.

“And I’m not going to allow that. They’re not going to use me for that. You want to talk to me about issues, come and see me. I meet with everybody. You want to know what I’m doing [during] the week, sign up for my emails: I send out over 100,000 of those.”

Aside from CARES Act funding, Sires said a top priority of his in Congress is the $3 trillion HEROES Act, which stands for Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions.

Although it cleared the House with ease back on May 15th, Senate Republicans have denounced it as “a liberal wish list” as the White House works on their own coronavirus relief funding plan.

Despite those partisan challenges, with a legitimate possibility that the Senate doesn’t post the bill, Sires said he remains optimistic and is continuing to push for the legislation.

“Well obviously we’re working on the HEROES Act: that’s money for municipalities, money for boards of education, money for rent that’s there, money for small businesses there: that’s my priority right now,” the congressman explained.

“As they negotiate, because they are negotiating the HEROES Act, not all [of] that is included in there.”