While state Senator/Union City Mayor Brian Stack, Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro, and Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (all D-33), don’t currently have any opposition in the June 8th primary, that didn’t stop the top leaders in the state from endorsing them at today’s campaign kickoff.
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“His commitment to Union City knows no bounds … he brings a special kind of leadership, a willingness to work together, and act on the tough issues we face,” Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said in taped remarks played during an event at St. Anthony’s Church this afternoon.
“Senator Stack is one of the most dedicated public servants I’ve know throughout my career and the 33rd Legislative District is lucky to have him fighting on their behalf,” exclaimed U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ).
Other supporters included U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8), state Senator Vin Gopal (D-11), state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3), Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, and Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner.
Turner attended the event and also gave complimentary remarks: beyond Union City, LD-33 also encompasses Weehawken, Hoboken, and parts of Jersey City.
“I’m the tiny humble mayor from Weehawken that has happened to know Senator Stack for about 35 years – not as much as Menendez, not as much as Sires. But it’s been a very busy 35 years,” Turner said, later citing Stack’s workmanship and compassion as two primary reasons as to why he’s been so successful – as well as a pleasure to work with.
When it was finally Stack’s turn at the podium, he said that he and his team are seeking another term to continue pushing initiatives such as providing $100 million in rent relief during the pandemic and mandating additional staffing in nursing homes.
“You have our word that we’ll work together as a legislative team to make sure we improve public health. If we saw anything in this country: we need to be better prepared. Every single one of us can agree on that,” the state senator noted.
Stack continued that he and his legislative team believe that their actions speak louder than words, as well as that public service “is not just a job, it’s my passion.”
“The people are my boss and I never forget that: I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I wake up every day, I may have a bad day the day before, but I wake up with a fresh attitude in the morning – even when I’m dealing with Mayor Turner, which is not always easy,” he said to laughter from the crowd.
“We love to fight for the people: we are by no means perfect, but I can tell you, we give it our best every day.”
Furthermore, Chaparro, first elected in 2015, praised the 24/7 efforts of Stack and his team, and shared a story about how the job seemed a bit overwhelming at first.
“When I came on board, I have to tell you – I wasn’t much into politics – but I definitely loved people and wanted to help people, but I wasn’t sure if this was the road I wanted to take,” she began.
“When I decided to do it and met with the senator, I have to tell you: the first year I was just floored – the passion he had, the commitment he had – there was a couple of times I was in headquarters going ‘holy crap what did I get myself into.’ But I realized this man really loved people, he really is a team player …”
As for Mukherji, who was voted in for his first term in 2013, recalled that when he met with Stack about running on his ticket that it was during a somber time in his life since his dad had just passed away.
Despite the timing being less than ideal, the assemblyman said it was “the opportunity of a lifetime” to serve in the state legislature.
“Whatever I thought as an outside looking in, the Brian Stack reputation of being the hardest working civic servant in the country, the turkeys, no kid in Union City goes without a toy during the holidays, … what I’ve learned over the past seven years, is that the reality, being at the table, is 10 times more impressive.”
A state senator since 2007 and also a former freeholder and assemblyman, Stack, along with Chaparro and Mukherji, are expected to cruise to re-election this November.
In their navy blue Democratic district, Republicans rarely come away with even 20 percent of the vote.