Barbara Buono is endorsing the executive director of SEIU, Lizette Delgado, to be the NJ state Democrats’ number two. She would be the first Latina in New Jersey history to serve in that capacity. Delgado made history in 2002 when she became the first Hispanic to be named Assistant Secretary of State.
This is fresh off an announcement last weekend at the Democratic state conference in Atlantic City that her pick for chair is Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell. It is NJ Democratic party custom for the nominee to have the right to set party direction by selecting the officers that will run NJDSC. Those selections are traditionally confirmed when the party reorganizes after the June primary. But it’s unclear what will happen this time. The O’Donnell pick didn’t make Senate President Steve Sweeney happy, and he has been very vocal about it, undercutting both the Buono campaign and her authority as nominee (and his Senate colleague) inside the party.
I don’t know whether a vice chair pick from Labor is meant to shut Sweeney down – his day job is General Organizer for the International Association of Ironworkers – but Delgado on her own merits is an excellent choice. SEIU is a strong progressive union, representing more than 40,000 workers across the state in four major industries. Most importantly, many of the workers Delgado has spent her organizing years working for are low-wage workers. Delgado understands to her bone what the lives of the working poor of New Jersey are about.
In a state where the Governor’s policies – sometimes with considerable Democratic enabling – favor the state’s wealthiest and the expense of New Jersey’s children and those who are working but struggling to pay the household bills, including Delgado’s voice in Democratic Party leadership is a major forward step. And it would signal a return to the values and principles the Democratic Party is supposed to be about.
A first-generation Hispanic American, the highly-regarded Delgado believes that our economy is strongest when the middle class is growing and workers are represented and fairly compensated. Delgado:
“I am honored to be named Vice Chair of New Jersey’s Democratic State Committee. This campaign will decide what kind of New Jersey we want to be. In Governor Christie’s New Jersey, economic and educational opportunities are scarce, property taxes are at record highs and union workers are vilified. That’s not the kind of New Jersey I believe in.”
A champion for the working poor, Delgado has spent her career advocating for the underrepresented. A first-generation Hispanic American, Delgado believes that our economy is strongest when the middle class is growing and workers are represented and fairly compensated.
“I am determined to elect Democrats up and down the ticket. Our party is the best way forward to restore New Jersey’s economy and strengthen our middle class by investing in infrastructure, reining in property taxes and protecting workers’ rights.”
Boom. Deal with THAT.