New Jersey Sen. Loretta Weinberg visited Fanwood Wednesday evening to meet Union County voters and fellow Democratic candidates prior to the Nov. 3 general election. Union County Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella and his wife, Phyllis, opened up their Tillotson Road home for the event, where Weinberg applauded local Democrats for providing the momentum behind her campaign to become the state’s first Lieutenant Governor.
“I think this is every resident that lives in Fanwood!” Weinberg joked as she welcomed the crowd gathered inside the Mirabella’s living room. It was a small-town reference from a big-wig politician who promised healthy benefits for towns like Fanwood if she and incumbent Governor Jon Corzine are re-elected.
“We are the party that stands for working families,” Weinberg said. “Jon Corzine has managed a balanced budget that kept our priorities straight.”
Weinberg asserted the invaluable educational benefits of Corzine’s state-wide expansion of pre-school programs, saying: “We are beginning to lessen the achievement gap between urban and suburban children and we’re seeing it now at the lowest grades.” The NJ STARS program and other tuition aid grants have also increased enrollment in institutions of higher learning, she said.
Alluding to the fragile economy, Weinberg detailed coverage mandates for health insurance. Corzine’s plan requires providers to cover mammograms for women and prostate screenings for men as well as 48 hours of after-care for new moms and their babies.
“I don’t want a governor in the state of New Jersey that’s going to turn back the clock and start selling mandate-free insurance,” Weinberg said. “We worked hard to get every one of those mandates in. There was not an insurance company in New Jersey that handed them over willingly.”
Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr was among the local Democrats who attended the reception Wednesday night, which was sponsored by the Fanwood Democratic Committee.
“This election is about family values, a rejection of mandate-free health care, and the work the Democratic party does to stand up for the working families of New Jersey," Mahr said.
Mirabella also commended the governor’s work to bring stimulus dollars into the community, helping to create jobs and stimulate the economy.
“He has a brilliant financial mind,” he said.
Weinberg told Patch that the support of small municipalities like Fanwood is exactly what she and Corzine need to be re-elected.
“We are going to get elected because of the grassroots support," she said. "To have a great organization like this in a little town is tremendous. It’s wonderful to see, and it’s very energizing.”