They crowded into the San Carlo in Lyndhurst this afternoon, not just the chairs of the four northern Democratic counties, but their attendant lower legislative delegations, for what amounted to a show of political power.
This was Essex County Democratic Chairman Leroy Jones joining his counterparts from Passaic, Hudson, and Bergen counties and 18-19 assembly people, each of whom spoke about his or her most pressing issues.
Jones spoke to PolitickerNJ after the session.
“I’m enthused and encouraged and looking forward to a partnership that can bolster dividends for our region,” said the Essex chairman.
The laundry list of issues included Newark, the Meadowlands, the ports, education and a focus on small bus along main street corridors.
“I applaud them,” said Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-28), referring to the chairs who scheduled the meeting. “North Jersey has got to take care of their region on the bigger issues, and yes, gaming is one of them.”
Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-36), chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, also attended.
“Getting everyone together, getting the four chairs together, is a tremendous step forward, not to take away from another region but to underscore the needs of this region,” Schaer said.
The assemblyman said he sees the meeting – the first of its kind among the four counties – as significant.
“The county chairmen have clearly made a statement,” he said. “It’s not one person sitting down saying something today that might not hold water tomorrow.”
Is it a statement to checkmate the power of the south, which to date, unified, holds the largest delegation in the State Legislature with a starting point of 12 members?
“We are following the model the south itself has developed,” the assemblyman said.