CLARK, NJ -- Union County Democrats gathered in force on Wednesday, May 25, for the official grand opening of the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign's Union County headquarters.
Heading the bill of political luminaries and workers were former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, who arrived about 2:30 p.m.
Waiting for them were interested residents, candidates for local offices, chairpersons of local Democratic committees, former county, local and state officials and current freeholders, state assembly and senate members.
State Senator Ray Lesniak (D-20) spoke directly to Giffords on her signature topic, gun safety. "Gabby, over seventy percent of the crimes committed with guns in New Jersey come from out of state." Those guns are purchased "without background checks" at gun shows and "the only way to stop that is to make sure Hillary is elected," he said.
It's particularly important because in New Jersey, "Every single one of the universities and colleges have gun-free zones" which Trump has said he wants to eliminate, he said. According to Lesniak, Trump has also said he would permit "concealed guns on campus."
Kelly called it "critical to make sure she (Clinton) is our next President of the United States." He cited statistics related to gun violence to make his point, "About 33,000 people die from gun violence" each year. That's a rate "we do not see in the rest of the world." The elected officials are "stuck in the grip of the gun lobby." Those officials are "terrorized, terrified by the gun lobby," he said, so much so that when then-president George W. Bush suggested prohibiting people on the "No Fly List" from buying guns, the idea went nowhere.
Electing Clinton is necessary because "until we have strong federal legislation" it will be impossible to make communities safer from gun violence, Kelly added.
Kelly then introduced his wife, whom he said is not only able to get things done by being nice, she "also has the ability to work across the aisle for the people she represents" and isn't one of those who "park" themselves on the left or the right
Giffords, who was the victim of gun violence in 2011, greeted the crowd with a cheery "Hello, New Jersey." Her message was short, but on point. "Hillary is tough. Hillary is courageous. She will work to make our families safer. In the White House, she will stand up to the gun lobby ... Come January, I want to say these two words, 'Madam President.'"