A few hours after Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts (D-Camden) officially gave notice that he will not seek reelection, South Jersey AFL-CIO President Donald Norcross sent out a mass email announcing his candidacy to replace him.
During a press conference today, Roberts said Norcross has his “full support.” Soon after that, dozens of South Jersey elected officials endorsed Norcross, who is also co-chair of the Camden County Democratic Committee and brother of power broker George Norcross.
Below is the full text of his letter:
I wanted to personally let you know that I will be a candidate for the open 5th District State Assembly seat in this November’s election. As many of you know, our friend and colleague Joe Roberts has decided not to seek another term. Speaker Roberts has served this district and all of New Jersey with class and distinction for nearly two decades, and his leadership will be sorely missed.
I am asking for your support in this campaign in part because I want to continue the work that Speaker Roberts has done on behalf of our region. His success in bringing critically needed state resources to South Jersey is unmatched and must be continued. His commitment to fiscal responsibility, especially in these difficult economic times, must become a way of life in Trenton. And the high standards he set for integrity and accountability for our elected officials should be a model for all.
I am also running to bring my experience, deep-rooted knowledge of our region and sense of shared purpose with the people to the task of making state government work for the taxpayers – not the special interests. I have come to know many of you through my work in organized labor and my participation in countless charitable causes, as well as through my association with the state and local Democratic Party. In many ways, representing you in the State Assembly would be an extension of the work I’ve done, the associations and friendships I’ve made and the things I’ve learned about this region and its people over the last three decades.
I am an electrician by trade. After serving as an apprentice in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in 1980, I rose through the ranks to become assistant business manager of the IBEW Local 351. I am also president of the Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO. I have seen firsthand the hardships our working families face each and every day, with many losing their jobs or seeing their paychecks cut. At the AFL-CIO, we have created countless jobs for area residents, boosted minority membership in unions, and established training programs to give people the skills they need for good-paying jobs. Trenton owes it to our citizens to cut wasteful state-government spending, create jobs and hold the line on taxes.
As an executive board member of United Way of Camden County, I have learned the great things we can do as a community to make life better for the less fortunate among us. As vice-chairman of the coalition that brought the USS New Jersey to the Camden Waterfront, I saw how our elected officials – working in a bi-partisan way at all levels of government – can get things done to improve the economy and vitality of the region. And as a resident of Camden, where I was born, I understand how pulling together to redevelop the city’s neighborhoods, waterfront and central business district can boost the region’s economy and restore pride in the city.
Everything in my background has prepared me for this challenge. The Norcross family, led by the example of our father, George E. Norcross Jr., has made public service and charitable work a way of life. My father and my brother, George E. Norcross III, have been leaders in the unprecedented expansion of Cooper Hospital, creating thousands of jobs, boosting the economic climate in the city of Camden and vastly improving the quality of health care in the South Jersey region. They also established scholarship programs that have befitted scores of South Jersey students.
I learned from my father the values that have shaped my entire life – to work hard and to treat people with dignity and respect. My father helped make Southern New Jersey’s unions the strong forces they are today, and he taught me to be an advocate for social justice, fair wages and safe working conditions for the common man. He instilled in me the importance of giving back to the community that has been so good to us.
Through his influence, my entire adult life has been dedicated to helping the working men and women of our area – advocating their causes and helping pass state and federal legislation important to their lives. I have worked alongside thousands of average Americans, whose very livelihoods depend upon acquiring and keeping their job, receiving a fair wage, and looking to our government to protect their rights and keep our economy strong.
Together, we have an opportunity to make a real difference in the way Trenton works. Joe Roberts has set the standard by which our elected officials should be judged, and his decision not to seek reelection has left a void that we must fill. It is critical that our party choose a candidate who can win in November and be the strong voice that Speaker Roberts has been for the hard-working families of this district. I’m confident I can be that voice, and that I will follow Speaker Roberts in doing the peoples’ work in an effective, open and accountable way.
I would be deeply honored to have your support to be the Democratic Party’s candidate for State Assembly in the 5th District and to represent you in Trenton. This is an opportunity for me to make a real difference in peoples’ lives, and I will use my experience, judgment and vision to fight for you and your families. With hard work and sound decisions, we will keep the American dream alive for everyone. Thank you for your time and for your efforts to make our community the great place it is to live and work.