My Tribute to Byron Baer
By Paul Swibinski
I met Byron in 1976, when he ran for Congress against Henry Helstoski, who eventually won after a scandal involving over 2000 altered absentee ballots. I was a young volunteer at that time. Later I became his media consultant and worked on all of his campaigns.
In 1993, Byron and Englewood Mayor Donald Aronson (also a friend and client) both wanted to succeed retiring Senator Matty Feldman and appeared before the District 37 county committee convention seeking the party endorsement.
Paul Fader was working for Don and I was working for Byron. Paul and I were both very intense and we began arguing over where campaign posters would be placed. We had one of those “gentleman square-offs” where we circled each other, both waiting for someone to separate us because neither wanted to throw a punch. Fortunately someone did!
The committee vote would be very close. In the end, Byron won after he announced during his speech that he had just received Feldman’s support. Whether that “support” was actually an endorsement or not will never be known, but it was a very clever political tactic.
This is a video that my firm produced for Byron that was sent to all committee members. It documents the amazing life and career of a great friend, a wonderful human being and one of the most productive state legislators in New Jersey history. You will also see some prominent political leaders giving tribute to Byron. Some of them look a little different today. We edited out the “comparative” information about Don because that doesn’t matter anymore. We had to digitize this from a 14 year old VHS copy, so it’s a little frayed around the edges. But I still enjoy watching it and I hope you do too.
For Byron & Linda, June and a great group of people I will never forget.