Right now, Senator Barbara Buono and labor leader Milly Silva are at the Sheraton Meadowlands Hotel & Conference Center in East Rutherford, as Buono is introducing SEIU’s Silva as her running mate in the fight against Gov. Chris Christie.
Here, below the fold are Buono’s remarks, followed by Silva’s, as prepared for delivery:
Sen. Barbara Buono:
When we launched this campaign six months ago, I said that it would be one for each and every one of you. That’s just as true today.
This is a campaign for New Jersey’s middle class and its working people.
This is a campaign for our students and those who make it their life mission to educate them.
This is a campaign for everyone who’s been left behin
d and forgotten for far too long.
Up and down the state of New Jersey – from Sussex to Cape May -the people of NJ know we can do better than this. We can do better than 400,000 people out of work. We can do better than skyrocketing property taxes.
We can do better than the shouting and showmanship, the broken promises and empty rhetoric of the Christie Administration.
Chris Christie’s made it clear – instead of creating jobs here at home, he’d rather be out campaigning in the cornfields of Iowa.
Instead of resolving the problems we have here in the Garden State, he’d rather focus on the road to the Rose Garden.
Instead of building a road to prosperity for your future, he’s so blinded by the national limelight that the only future he’s planning for is his own…political future.
Do any of you believe Chris Christie will stop his attacks on Planned Parenthood and women’s health in a second term? His attacks on our environment? His attacks on gay couples who want the right to marry? His attacks on WORKING families who DESERVE a higher minimum wage? No, we KNOW better.
I’m running, because I understand the magnitude of this race.
I’m running, because I understand that stopping Chris Christie starts with us.
Choosing the person who would stand by my side in this fight has not been easy – not because this state wants for leaders but rather because we have so many talented public servants ready, willing, and able to don the mantle. And I thank them for that.
After much thoughtful consideration, I have selected a candidate for LG in whom I have full confidence,
someone with an indisputable sense of dedication to this state,
someone who’s living proof that if you just give people a chance, they’ll reach their full potential.
This is a woman whose fundamental beliefs align with this campaign’s guiding principle – that a strong and vibrant New Jersey doesn’t come from the top down but from a robust middle class.
That’s why today I am so proud to announce that my running mate in this year’s gubernatorial race is Milly Silva.
As an Executive Vice President of 1199 SEIU, Milly understands the plight of working New Jerseyans.
For the last 20 years, Milly has dedicated herself to being a voice for the voiceless. And I know she will bring the same passion to the lieutenant governor’s office.
From increasing the minimum wage to making tuition more affordable, Milly knows how public policy can help improve the lives of New Jerseyans and their families.
It is a perspective she gained early in life.
Through hard work, Milly earned a scholarship to attend a prominent all-girls middle school in seventh grade. Every morning, she’d make an hour-long trip from home, taking a bus and a train to get there.
At her new school, Milly met young people whose upbringings differed greatly from her own. For them, family vacations abroad were a part of everyday life. For Milly, the working-class daughter of a Puerto Rican single mom, such luxuries were completely foreign.
But it didn’t take long for Milly to realize that the only real difference between the kids on her block and the kids in her classes was opportunity.
Milly and I share a powerful bond-we’re only here today because of hard work and determination-and because we were given a chance to lift ourselves up.
That philosophy laid the foundation for Milly’s life of service.
It drove her to become an advocate for affordable housing, safe streets and fair wages for working families just like hers…just like ours.
And to this day, it fuels her as she fights for New Jersey’s workers who are struggling to provide for their children.
She embodies everything this campaign stands for.
I sought a running mate who would stand up and speak out for all of New Jersey… and I found Milly Silva.
Milly’s spent her entire career lifting up everyday people and striking down injustice without fear or reservation.
And she won’t stop now.
So together – as two women who simply believe this state’s residents deserve better – we will fight for opportunity, for hope, the land of a fair shot and a fair shake that is New Jersey.
And we will win.
Now it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Milly Silva!
Buenos días y bienvenidos. Good morning and welcome. Thank you – all of you – for being here today.
Thank you, Barbara. It is a high honor to be your running mate as we embark on this journey to restoring New Jersey together.
I want to take a moment today to let all of you know who I am, where I have been, what I believe, and why all of that makes me so eager about this chance to bring change to New Jersey.
I have spent my career fighting for healthcare workers who can’t afford to see a doctor when they’re sick and home health aides who leave their own families in the morning to go look after someone else’s.
Day in and day out, I have gladly embraced their struggles as though they are my own.
To me, that’s what leadership means. And that’s what I see in Barbara Buono.
She is a woman of courage and candor, someone who never hesitates to say what needs to be said.
And when she raises her voice for our middle class and our working people, our women and our children and our seniors, it is with a sense of sincerity that I have long admired.
I’m proud to be on the ticket with a woman who shares my values.
Many of you here today may know me as 1199SEIU Executive Vice President Milly Silva.
That journey started just over 20 years ago, when – as a sophomore at Columbia University – I saw an ad in The New York Times calling for people passionate about organizing, about progress, about creating a better tomorrow. I thought of the friends and neighbors I grew up with in the Bronx, people who wanted nothing more than opportunity.
And I had to answer the call.
Since then, I have knocked on doors. I have marched and rallied and poured my heart and soul into communities in need of affordable housing and safe playgrounds and a chance at the American Dream.
That is who I am.
But when I go home at the end of each day, I bear another title, the only one I think is more important than “organizer.”
When I was asked to take on this role, as you can all imagine, I thought about a lot. But more than anything else, I thought about my three children.
I thought about the New Jersey I want them to inherit.
And I decided that a New Jersey that gives 2.1 billion dollars in tax credits to corporations but denies working people the right to an increased minimum wage tied to the cost of living – that isn’t good enough for them.
I decided that a New Jersey where the cost of college makes higher education impossible for some of our best and brightest students – that isn’t good enough for them.
I decided that a New Jersey where the men and women I work with every day must choose between keeping the lights on and putting food on the table – that isn’t good enough for them.
I decided that my three children deserve a better New Jersey.
Under Chris Christie, New Jersey’s hurting.
Because of his failed fiscal policies – policies that are rooted in trickle-down economics – New Jersey has one of the worst business climates in the entire nation.
Today, 400,000 men and women are still looking for work.
While the wealthiest get away with paying less than their fair share, Governor Christie’s raised taxes on working people by slashing the Earned Income Tax Credit.
And just Friday, he continued his attack our middle- and working-class residents when he decried Obamacare, calling it “a sad legacy” for our President. But what’s really sad is that because of Christie, hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans still don’t have access to the care they so desperately need.
At a moment when we need comprehensive gun reform to reduce violence and establish safer communities, Chris Christie’s offered nothing but hollow solutions.
And in 2013, in one of the most progressive states in the country, loving, committed couples have been denied their right to marry – and it is because of Chris Christie alone.
We live in a New Jersey where whatever Chris Christie says goes.
That’s not a leader.
That’s a bully.
I stand before you as the daughter of a single mom from Puerto Rico. Estoy aquí como una Boricua que representa la comunidad latina.
So as a member of the Latino community, I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to talk about Chris Christie’s dismissal of one-fifth of New Jersey’s population.
Aún no tenemos igualdad para los estudiantes inmigrantes en la universidad. Y esto es por Chris Christie.
Aún tantas latinas en New Jersey – sin seguro de salud – están sufriendo porque las clínicas médicas sean cerradas. Y esto es por Chris Christie.
Aún no tenemos un gobernador que está trabajando para la reforma migratoria. Aún no tenemos un gobernador que nos habla de las cuestiones que nos afectan.
Hoy en día decimos – no más.
To all our friends who don’t speak Spanish, you ought to know that the only thing standing in the way of tuition equality in New Jersey is Chris Christie.
His veto of $7.5 million in funding for women’s clinics four years in a row impacts Latinas significantly.
Even though he is in a position to do so, he’s failed to lead the push for immigration reform.
And if – as the old saying goes – we can judge him by the company he keeps, Chris Christie’s associations with right-wing extremists are a cause for alarm.
Just recently, his good friend Steve King casually said the majority of DREAMers – young immigrants who had no choice about whether to come to this country with their parents – are more likely to be criminals than scholars.
And Chris Christie – putting the approval of a man like Congressman King first, putting his own ambitions before those of our undocumented residents – hasn’t stood up and denounced it.
So here’s the bottom line – on the issues that most affect Latinos, Chris Christie has failed.
On the issues that most affect African-Americans, Chris Christie has failed.
On the issues that most affect our women, Chris Christie has failed.
When the people of New Jersey have needed him most, Chris Christie has failed.
And yet – in absolute disregard for our state – he is criss-crossing the country, charting a path to the presidency.
At this point, Governor Christie is just itching to leave New Jersey in the dust to satisfy his own personal ambitions. We know where his priorities lie. But when Barbara came to me, I thought about my own.
I thought of the working people I represent – people who have to choose between filling their gas tanks and filling their refrigerators.
I thought of the recent college graduates drowning in debt, sending cover letters and résumés to employers who never call them back.
I thought of you – the people of New Jersey – waiting for years to be heard, desperate for something to change, calling for a brighter tomorrow.
And I had to answer the call.
I have full faith that Barbara Buono will put New Jersey back on the path to prosperity.
She knows that progress will begin only when this age of forcing the middle class to sacrifice for the sake of the wealthy comes to an end.
She understands first-hand that a quality education is the most powerful tool we can give the next generation.
And she believes wholeheartedly that a New Jersey of equality of opportunity for all of our residents is possible.
Here and now, the stakes are high. There is so much riding on this election. In this moment, men and women all across our state are counting on us.
And we owe it to the people of New Jersey to deliver.
You know, my mother taught me from an early age to say what I mean and mean what I say – bien predica quien bien vive.
So in closing, let me say this – Chris Christie may have made a pit stop in Trenton, but New Jersey belongs to us.
And on November 5th – for my children, for your children, and for every child across this great state – we are going to take it back.