Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford) says he secured endorsements from fourteen of the 23 Democrats in the State Senate in his bid to oust Richard Codey (D-Roseland) as Senate President.
In a statement release this morning, Sweeney says he has the backing of Barbara Buono, Bob Smith, Nicholas P. Scutari, Raymond J. Lesniak, M. Teresa Ruiz, Nia H. Gill, Paul Sarlo, Jeff Van Drew, James Whelan, Fred Madden, Dana Redd, Brian Stack, and James Beach. His endorsements come from every region of the state.
Lesniak called Sweeney “a bold, innovative lawmaker whose leadership skills and ideas for the future make him a first-rate choice” to head the Senate. ”
“He works with Democrats and Republicans to find bi-partisan solutions to the most pressing problems facing the people of this state,” said Lesniak.
Buono, the Senate Appropriations Committee chair, said Sweeney “will bring a fresh perspective and a bipartisan approach to the critical and complex fiscal issues that will require our immediate attention in the next legislative session.”
“New Jersey is facing serious challenges that affect the quality of life of all of our families, and we need someone like Steve Sweeney to help guide us through this unsettled period,” said Buono, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, adding that Sweeney
Another Middlesex County Democrat, Robert Smith, says that as Majority Leader, Sweeney demonstrated the “capacity to do the things necessary to get the job done for the hard-working people of this state.”
“He has a unique feel for the financial hardships that families all over this state face each and every day – and he has the experience and vision needed to bring about the changes that will help improve their lives,” said Smith.
Nicholas Scutari praised Sweeney as “a proven champion of the working men and women of New Jersey.”
” He knows the critical need to make this state affordable again, to bring the costs of government down and to hold the line on our unacceptably high taxes,” said Scutari. “He knows that state government must do what our families do – watch every dollar it spends so that the taxpayers are not burdened with the costs of wasteful spending and higher taxes.”
Nia Gill, an Essex County Democrat who had been a Codey ally, said Sweeney has been a stalwart supporter of the economic, educational and civil-rights issues “that have been critical to improving the lives of New Jersey residents of all ages, colors and economic status, as well as whether they live in the inner cities or the suburbs.”
“For Steve Sweeney, good government is not about North Jersey or South Jersey; it’s about all of New Jersey,” Gill said, citing Sweeney’s support for reform issues such as government transparency and strict ethics standards for elected and appointed government officials.”
Sweeney also won the praise of another Democratic Senator from Essex County, Teresa Ruiz.
“As a hands-on leader in the Building Trades, Steve understands the importance of rebuilding our cities and attracting the kind of economic development that will make them prosper,” Ruiz said. “He also understands that economic progress in our cities benefits the entire region and state."
Sweeney pledged to approach the Senate Presidency as he has as Majority Leader – acting as a guardian of the interests of working families in every region of the state. ”
This is about one New Jersey,” Sweeney said. “It’s about working around the clock to do what’s necessary to cut the costs of government and make this a state that’s affordable to live and work in once again,” he said.