Buono, Silva Spend First Day on Campaign Trail on the Defensive

By Dari Kotzker
NJ Today

Barbara Buono and Milly Silva wanted a positive kickoff to their campaign. Instead, the Democrats met Gov. Chris Christie’s criticisms head on.

Silva admits it’s true she did not vote in the last couple of elections, but, “Before the sun was rising I’ve been out the door on election day, making sure that we had our people out on the street to vote and frankly then, the polls closed. If I could go back, I would absolutely have said I need to make sure how to figure out how to get back to my district and to cast my vote and I’m embarrassed about that.”

Both women bristled at Christie’s accusations that Silva’s unqualified for the lieutenant governor job.

“How dare you? Since when is holding elective office a unique qualifier? Milly Silva … has spent her life standing up for people like us,” Buono said.

“My experience representing thousands of health care workers, my ability to negotiate contracts, and also having to be an advocate. I may not have worked in Trenton, but I’m familiar with Trenton because I have been there advocating on behalf of health care workers across the state for so many years,” Silva said.

Then team Buono/Silva went to work, wooing voters at the Willingboro Senior Center. Their message? This a campaign for the middle class and working poor. As Buono put it, the people left behind by Christie.

“We know that his governor isn’t concerned about building a road to prosperity for your future, for your children’s and your grandchildren’s future. He’s so blinded by the national limelight and his thought that getting to the Rose Garden that the only future he’s concerned about planning or is his own political future,” Buono said.

“We also know that Gov. Christie has taken New Jersey in the wrong direction,” Silva said. “There are over 400,000 people who are still without work. But if you own your home, you have seen your property taxes here in Willingboro, taxes have gone up as much as about 17 percent.”

Buono’s campaign picked a South Jersey location because they were in North Jersey when they made the announcement yesterday. And their supporters were out in full force.

“We want them to understand that everything can be changed. It’s time for a change in New Jersey,” said Eric Berrouet from Willingboro.

“Because they will turn things around, they will make it a better place,” said Maria Johnson of Willingboro.

Buono and Silva say they will hit every corner of New Jersey to speak with regular folks and remind them that there is an alternative on the November ballot to Chris Christie.