As many of you know, I’ve been outspoken in support of primaries, and in support of running for county committee.
So, it was with great pride, and some courage, that I joined with 25 other proud democrats in Hawthorne on Monday to file a full slate of 26 democratic county committee candidates to run in this year’s primary election for Passaic County Committee – under the “Democrats for Hawthorne” banner. It is an historic undertaking – there has not been a contested primary for even one democratic committee seat in Hawthorne in at least 20 years. And our work is far from over.
But this is America, and we should still get to vote on who represents us, and who is in charge of our political parties. Publicly, everyone agrees with that sentiment. Privately, not so much.
You see, there’s another slate running in town, led by our current municipal chair, John Girgenti. Under his 30-year leadership, Hawthorne has failed to elect even one democrat as Mayor or At-Large Councilmember. And, in the last 10 years, we’ve elected only 3 democrats as Ward Councilmembers – 1 who has since switched parties, the other 2 who are supporting our slate. Indeed, about the only people not supporting our slate are Girgenti’s relatives and “employees” – including the multiple Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission employees who owe their jobs to the Senator’s generosity with our tax money.
Our goal is to unite and build the Democratic Party in Hawthorne for a winning future.
But, as you might guess, rather than embrace the increased interest in Democratic organizing this brings to Hawthorne, Girgenti is lashing out, upset that anyone would dare challenge him. He’s quoted in the local paper, basically accusing us of being liberal extremists, and blaming others for his own record of failure as Hawthorne’s Democratic leader.
And, he nearly came unglued at a public event last Saturday (Sheriff Speziale’s campaign HQ grand opening), when he refused to stand next to our only elected Democratic councilman, whose wife is running on our slate. Not very Senatorial. And more importantly, not how a democratic leader should behave in public.
We’re braced for much worse behavior than that – money can pay for all sorts of nastiness, and Girgenti has tons of money to spend. But in the end, this is a campaign to organize Democrats in a town that has been voting Republican for far too long, too often with the Senator’s help.
It’s time we change that. And we took the first step this week.