By Gus Ostrum, Trades & Union Digest
While hundreds of local union supporters, elected officials, and well wishers were on hand to greet State Senate President Steve Sweeney during last weekend’s “Sweeney for Senate Rally” at Union Field in West Deptford Township, quite a bit of attention was focused on one particular attendee grabbed immediate attention when he arrived.
Not surprisingly, an old friend and well known political figure was on hand to support Sweeney: Former Governor Jim Florio.
And both Sweeney and Florio – who served as New Jersey Governor from 1990 to 1994 and was a long-time U.S. Congressman – made no doubt about their admiration for each other.
The former Governor faced a grassroots revolt during his term due to his attempts to balance a budget and initiate many needed reforms. He lost his bid for re-election to Republican Christine Todd Whitman in 1994, but since has been applauded for his efforts to always make the right decisions (popular or unpopular) affecting his New Jersey constituents.
That legacy was not lost on Sweeney, who often has been compared to Florio and who applauds the former Governor’s political career.
“Gov. Florio did an amazing job and now everyone says he was right,” Sweeney commented. “The state today would be in a much better place than we are now (if we kept with his programs). The decisions he made were the right ones regardless of what they meant to me and you. “
When Florio took the podium, he received a thunderous ovation from the hundreds of onlookers before he cut right to the chase about Sweeney, his long-time ally.
“Steve Sweeney always does the right thing for New Jersey and our citizens, and believe me, this isn’t always easy to do,” 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.”
Florio noted that he will support Sweeney’s re-election bid in 2017 and urged the large audience to continue their support as well.