SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – Newly elected U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and Congressman Rush Holt spent time in Scotch Plains on Saturday supporting various local Democrats, including Scotch Plains Councilman Lou Beckerman, Assemblywoman Linda Stender, Assemblyman Jerry Green and Senator Nick Scutari.
Holt came earlier in the day to walk with Beckerman as he went door to door talking with residents and answering questions, and ended up at campaign headquarters talking with volunteers.
Booker arrived later in the afternoon, first stopping by the municipal building to connect with the various levels of government before walking through downtown, visiting John’s Meat Market and Darby Road and talking with residents.
His visit culminated in a rally at Democrat headquarters on East Second Street, where hundreds of people packed the offices to hear what the Senator had to say.
Green, who is also the chairman of the Democrat Party in Union County, welcomed everyone and then turned over the microphone to Senator Nick Scutari, who thanked Booker for coming out in support of the Democrat ticket.
Beckerman then stepped up to the microphone. “Before I welcome our special guest, I want to thank the special lady in my life, my wife Ann. We will be celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary on Monday. As important as Tuesday is, Monday is also very important!”
Beckerman also acknowledged the rest of his family, and while he appreciated the Senator’s support, “Without my wife’s love and support I would not be standing here running with such a great slate.
“I love Scotch Plains. Ann and I decided to call Scotch Plains home 34 years ago and I’m running because I want this town to continue to be a place that people can afford to raise a family,” said Beckerman.
Beckerman went on to outline what he felt were the important issues, such as merging the police departments, keeping taxes low, bringing in new development to stimulate economic growth and restoring Shady Rest, the first African-American Golf Club in the U.S.
Booker then took the microphone. “When we realize we need each other we can build great things together," Booker said. "Our country is about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I can’t tell you how charged up I am to be here. I started in Fanwood at Nick’s Pizza, I have never before seen French fries and chicken fingers on a pizza, and now I’m here.”
“Thursday I walked into the well at the U.S. Senate, stood there with Joe Biden. . . and then I ended up at the White House playing catch with the President. I was sworn in on Thursday, but on Friday I was back in New Jersey to get to work. Earlier today I got the chance to play catch with a few kids here in Scotch Plains. I’m telling you right now, throwing around a football with the future of our state was just as special to me as throwing around a football with the President,” Booker said.
“To many people think that country is made from the top down. . .change is not from the top down but from the grassroots up.” He went on to emphasize that when it came to the most important things, it was the local level that made the most difference.
“It is local leaders like Lou Beckerman that define who we are – I grew up in a town similar to Scotch Plains and it mattered that we had good fields to play on and it mattered that we had free public schools to go to, it mattered that we had field trips…this is what we want to preserve,” Booker said.
The Senator then told a short story about how President Lincoln asked Fredrick Douglass what he thought of his Inaugural speech and how Douglass had replied “Sir, it was a sacred effort.”
“All of us are involved in a sacred effort to make our nation live up to its promise and to invest in this idea that this country was formed for the common good and when we stand together .. .we can create a better country,” said Booker.
The Senator finished with a call to be mindful of the “small things” such as posting on Facebook, calling a friend to encourage them to vote and to keep in mind that is was not just about individuals but about the overall “sacred effort.”
The rally concluded with Booker wishing everyone well and saying he was looking forward to celebrating another victory on Tuesday evening.