"I have absolute confidence in Albio Sires and Bob Menendez, in their character and in their leadership to represent New Jersey," said Governor Jon Corzine, who was among the honored guests at the Union City First campaign kick-off at Schuetzen Park last Thursday, Oct. 5.
Hosting the event was the Union City First team, Mayor Brian Stack and the Union City Board of Commissioners, who packed the hall with crowds of supporters and volunteers.
"First of all, thank you to all of you for the tremendous victory that you gave us in May," said Stack. "We have to be proud to live in Hudson County and take pride in what we do."
Other honored guests at the kick-off event were Assemblyman Luis Manzo, Secaucus Mayor Elwell, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, and Jersey City Mayor Jeremiah Healy.
"We need help from Washington and we need to turn the tide in this country in November," said Manzo. "All eyes are going to be on Union City and your tally will possibly change the complexion of the Senate."
You have the power
The evening started off with some brief opening statements from Stack and the Board of Commissioners, who called upon Union City as the turning force in this election for Menendez and Sires.
"Times are extremely different and this upcoming election is an election of life and death - maybe not to us, but to our children," said Commissioner Christopher Irizarry.
"Our country is headed in the wrong direction and we have the power this November to change that direction. We in Union City have the power to truly make a difference, and this is to elect a man who has stood up and will continue to stand up to President George W. Bush. To make sure that our children don't get sent over to die for the ego of the United States," added Irizarry.
Afterwards the floor was turned over to Governor Jon Corzine.
"Bob Menendez represents the very best that we have in North Hudson, and if we need to fight with tooth and nail, we know how to do it in Union City," said Corzine. "It's crunch time here in New Jersey. Let's make sure another Hudson County [representative] is on the scene in Washington."
Corzine said he believed that in Union City he got the highest poll numbers in the state during his own gubernatorial run.
"And I don't even speak Spanish," he jested.
Union City has had high voter turnouts over the last few local and statewide elections and could deliver key numbers in the upcoming senatorial and congressional races.
Still for Menendez
Despite Menendez's recent controversies, he still has a considerable force of loyal supporters behind him in Union City, from where his political roots stem.
"[Menendez] is a product of Union City, never forgot his roots," said Commissioner Maryury Martinetti. "Since the beginning of his political life, he has made tremendous progress and never forgot Union City."
"Menendez has done a remarkable job in the United States Congress," said Corzine. "Let's make sure he continues to be the voice [for new Jersey] for the next six years, and we can make it happen."
Arriving a little late was Albio Sires, who arrived with fellow Column B candidate Willie Flood for Hudson County Register. Sires apologized for his delay, as he had been attending several kick-off events prior, as was Menendez, who made a brief appearance towards the end of the evening.
"We have a very important election coming up," said Sires. "Bob Menendez is a product of Union City, a product of Hudson County, and people are trying to make us [think] that we are somehow less than the rest of the state."
Sires added, "Tom Kean Sr. loved Hudson County when he was campaigning for governor. Now his son is running and we are somehow less. If we were good enough for his father, than we are good enough with Bob Menendez, and now I also have the honor of possibly being the next congressman and continuing to serve you."
In addition to his own candidacy, Sires has been working hard to get the vote out for his fellow running mates.
"[Tom Kean Jr.] does not have the intelligence, the experience or the commitment that our senator has, and we in Hudson County should be offended that they are throwing dirt on us," said Sires. "We're going to show them that we do not allow people to throw dirt on us."