To the Editor,
Every vote matters.
This past Election Day, all 80 seats in the NJ General Assembly were up for election. In the 16th Legislative District, more than 34,000 votes were cast and less than 600 votes separated all four candidates. By the time all of the provisional ballots were counted, one incumbent won. I defeated the second incumbent by 78 votes, and my running mate Maureen Vella came very close.
People are asking how we did it, how I am poised to become the first Democrat to ever represent the people of the 16th Legislative District. It wasn’t gerrymandering or big money from special interests. And it wasn’t “rocket science.” (Sorry, bad science pun.) It was, quite simply, a democratic (little “d”) grassroots campaign. There was no “secret weapon;” the difference was you.
We created the largest grassroots campaign organization in NJ. That meant we had volunteers from every town in the 16th District and from all around the state. Teachers, students, carpenters, lawyers, doctors, electricians, retirees — people from all walks of life turned out to support us. We knocked on 21,000 doors and made 78,000 phone calls. We received more than 700 contributions from individuals and we fought for every vote. Our team was tremendous, they poured everything they had (and more) into this race and I just don’t know the words to express how profoundly grateful I am to them and you.
Last Thursday, I was talking to a group of supporters and a woman I had never met came up to me and told me that my victory gave her hope, made her feel that her voice was heard, that her vote truly did matter. I’ve thought about that a lot since then. That’s what I’m going to do, be your voice, your representative in Trenton. There’s a lot to be done, from growing the NJ economy, to protecting our beautiful environment or making sure that every NJ student has access to the finest education system in the country. In each of these and in everything I do, I will bring an evidence-based approach to public policy.
It will be a tremendous honor to be your Assemblyman. I will work hard to make you proud.