By Gus Ostrum, Trades & Union Digest
Surrounded by legions of loyal union supporters as well as prominent New Jersey government and union officials, State Senator Steve Sweeney held a highly visible rally for his re-election campaign on a cold, blustery March Saturday morning at Union Field in West Deptford Township.
And if you think any of the hundreds of local supporters would let the bone-chilling temperatures swirling around South Jersey dampen their enthusiasm — well, guess again!
They were present to support their candidate, Steve Sweeney, who has always stood up for their way of life.
“No one takes care of South Jersey like Steve Sweeney, and we need him returned to the State Senate,” Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D, 3rd District), the master of ceremonies, told the cheering throng.
Among the prominent elected officials on hand included Rep. Donald Norcross, Assemblymen Burzichelli and Adam Taliaferro, as well as several Gloucester County Freeholders and officials.
Prominent union officials were present as well, including Daniel Cosner, President of the South Jersey Building Trades Council; William Mullen, President of the New Jersey State Building and Construction Trades Council; and Rich Tolson, Director of the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers of New Jersey.
Sweeney also had two additional supporters on hand – former New Jersey Governor Jim Florio and Tammy Murphy, wife of Democratic gubernatorial candidate and front runner Phil Murphy.
Sweeney, one of the most powerful elected Democrats in the state, has served in the New Jersey State Senate since 2002, where he represents the 3rd Legislative District. He was expected to launch his candidacy for Governor in 2017, but announced late in 2016 that he would not enter the race.
A union ironworker by trade, Sweeney was elected as State President-designate in November 2009. He has been a friend to unions, their members and union officials throughout his career, playing a prominent role in launching a construction boom in South Jersey.
“Steve Sweeney always does the right thing for New Jersey and our citizens, and believe me, this isn’t always easy to do,” former Governor Jim Florio told the capacity audience. “He is a man of integrity and an elected official who never forgets his roots or his constituents and we need to give him our continued support.”
Always the advocate for New Jersey employees, Sen. Sweeney pledged to his union brothers and sisters that he will continue fighting for their rights and those of working class families.
“I can tell you that we will work hard to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour,” Sweeney told his supporters to a thunderous ovation of cheers. “We’re going to do the right things for working class families.”
He added: “I will never forget or stop fighting for anyone in my South Jersey family. Your support really means a lot to me.”