Labor gets behind Congressman Pascrell

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Today 21 union locals announced support for Congressman Bill Pascrell in his primary fight.  Bill Mullen, President of the New Jersey State Building and Constructions Trade Council put it best: “Moving your home to challenge one of your own doesn’t make sense.  That’s why we’re standing by Congressman Bill Pascrell.”  And he is 100% right.  Bill Pascrell isn’t moving anywhere.  I can say with certainty that if he was drawn into a district with Scott Garrett he wouldn’t be running from the fight.  He would take it head on like he has every race in his career.  

That is the most disappointing part of Rothman’s decision to move into Pascrell’s district.  There is a golden opportunity to take out one of the most extreme, ideologically driven members of Congress.  A man who wants to drill for oil on New Jersey’s shores, voted against reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act and refused to support funding for Hurricane Katrina victims.  Garrett refuses to compromise on anything and epitomizes everything that is wrong with Washington D.C. right now. Instead of taking this fight to Garrett – someone Rothman disagrees with on almost every issue – he is fighting his own, another progressive Democrat who he almost always agrees with.  

It makes no sense.  

It is no secret that I’m a strong Pascrell supporter.  Since my first race for the Haledon Board of Education right up until my election as the Mayor of Haledon he has been behind me.  Bill Pascrell didn’t start this fight.  But you can rest assured he is going to end it.  

Comments (4)

  1. Bertin Lefkovic

    When I was deputy campaign manager on Pascrell’s re-election campaign in 2000, I was asked to be his surrogate at a Sierra Club meeting that he very simply did not want to attend.  When I got there, it quickly became apparent why.

    The SC membership in attendance that night was not happy with him.  It appears that like most machine politicians in NJ, when the environmental community and the B&CT collide over construction and development issues, Pascrell sides with the B&CTs 100% of the time.  Everything that I had been briefed on before this meeting had to do with all of the environmental issues that he had supported during his tenure in Congress, but none of them had anything to do with construction and development.

    I did the best that I could to put the best spin possible on the situation and in the end, the Sierra Club endorsed him despite their complaints, primarily because they did not have much of a choice.  His Republican opponent who had little to no chance of winning was even worse on environmental issues.

    But what was most frustrating about this incident was what I was told when I reported back to campaign headquarters, which is that the Sierra Club was absolutely right.  When it is easy to support an environmental issue, Pascrell has no problem supporting the environmental community’s position on an issue, but when they are on the opposite side of the B&CTs, he will be with them every time.

    So if Pascrell wants to take pride in his B&CT endorsement, he should.  He has earned it, often at the expense of our environment.

    That said, this has nothing to do with Rothman’s decision.  Pascrell cannot claim ownership of a district just because his town of Paterson is in it and the town that Rothman moved to a few years ago isn’t.  Rothman’s ties to the new CD9 are as strong as Pascrell’s if not stronger and he has every right to make the decision that he made.

    The people in CD9 who like Pascrell are going to use this ridiculous talking point, because they have no other reason to dislike Rothman.  But I seriously doubt that many, if any, of the residents of CD9 who like Rothman are going to demand that he run against Garrett, because they like the job that he has done representing them and want him to stay.

    Anyone who is willing to look at this situation fairly and honestly realizes that there are other candidates who can run against Garrett and in my opinion, at least one of the them, Assemblywoman Connie Wagner has the potential to be a stronger candidate against him than Rothman.

    Conversely, Pascrell is going to have as hard of a time beating Rothman in CD9 as he would have beating Frelinghuysen in CD11.  The difference is that he is without a doubt the strongest candidate who the Democrats could run in that district and win or lose, could go out in a blaze of glory and possibly with greater statewide prospects than he has at the moment.

    So for Pascrell’s sake and the sake of his staff, some of whom could be retained by Rothman, he should seriously consider running in CD11 instead of CD9.


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