BY BARBARA O’BYRNE Jeff Meyer’s recent Op Ed piece smearing Senator John Girgenti was full of lies, bigotry and vicious ageism. I wonder if Meyer thinks everyone over age 60 is “pre-historic.” If so, he should avoid being in the same room with Frank Lautenberg, Bill Pascrell, Dick Codey and many other silver-haired Democrats at all costs.
Meyer should apologize to Senator Girgenti. He doesn’t have a good political record, and so it’s no surprise he squeezed in some kind words for Chris Christie in his vile attack on Girgenti. Will the Gardner campaign continue to throw bouquets to our bombastic and divisive governor?
It was Jeff Meyer who almost singlehandedly brought down the entire Burlington County Democratic Organization, forcing his own resignation as Finance Chairman and the resignation of the County Chairman as well – after his wheeling and dealing and pay to play fundraising turned into an embarrassing scandal.
Those of us who are proud to be Passaic County Democrats know and respect John Girgenti as an outstanding legislator, a person of great integrity and a progressive Democratic leader. John is a full-time legislator with no outside income other than his wife’s salary as a nurse. To replace him with another part-time lawyer/legislator like Gardner would be a big mistake.
Senator Girgenti has stood tall fighting for Democratic values, protecting the rights of working people and collective bargaining, standing up to powerful special interests like the NRA, fighting for cleaner air and water and more funding for our schools. He has always been 100% pro-choice and supported equal opportunity and civil rights throughout his career. He also proudly voted for civil unions, but like many other Democrats he could not support same sex marriage because of deeply held personal and religious beliefs. It was one of the most difficult votes he has ever cast and he still struggles with this issue today, like many other good people – including President Obama.
To his credit, Senator Girgenti didn’t hide. He explained his vote on the floor of the Senate. There was no “fire and brimstone” (as Meyer claims) – just an honest public servant who had the courage to tell his constituents why he had to take a politically unpopular position.
I do not have to agree with him on every issue to know that John Girgenti’s integrity, experience and commitment to public service is exactly the kind of leadership the Democratic Party needs today.
Barbara O’Byrne is chairwoman of the Totowa Democratic Party