TEANECK, NJ -- Incumbent Congressman Josh Gottheimer drew a large bipartisan crowd in front of Teaneck's Fire House #4 on Windsor Road Friday morning for the formal announcement of his re-election campaign.
Gottheimer has long promoted himself and been viewed as a Centrist Democrat willing to reach across the aisle for compromise. Republican Mayor Joe Kennedy (Belvidere) and Harry Shortway (Vernon) testified to the commitment Gottheimer has shown to getting the input of local elected officials in matters of federal policy and tax dollars.
He was joined by many of Bergen County's elected officials at his re-election announcement, including Teaneck Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin; Teaneck Councilwoman Gervonn Romney Rice, Oradell Mayor Dianne Didio, Wyckoff Mayor Brian D. Scanlan, Assemblyman Christopher Tully (who is Gottheimer's District Director) and Bergen County Freeholders Germaine Ortiz, Tracy Silna Zur, Tom Sullivan, David Ganz and Mary Amoroso. Also present was Ed Donnelly, President of the New Jersey State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association (FMBA); Vietnam War Veteran Tony Gallop; and Enid Kossar of “Republicans for Josh.”
President Donnelly said that former Congressman Scott Garrett, who Gottheimer defeated in 2016, rarely picked up the phone or lobbied on behalf of the FMBA, but "Josh has been a great advocate for better safety for our crews."
Donnelly's remarks were made over the roar of non-commercial rail cars passing behind the fire station. Many local elected officials spoke of the industrial chemicals and noxious gases that are transported on these old rail lines, and their accompanying need for better safety equipment, which Gottheimer has fought for and delivered to Bergen County municipalities.
"No matter what the issue, whether it be about our First Responders or about how to save our taxpayers money, I know that Josh has been instrumental in bringing it approximately $2 million back into Paramus in the form of cops, better police and fire equipment, etcetera," said Paramus Mayor Richard LaBarbiera. "I look forward to continuing working with Josh for many more years to come."
Speaking of the tragic bus accident that claimed the lives of an East Brook Middle School student and teacher last month, LaBarbiera added "We went through very difficult times and [when Gottheimer called immediately] it wasn't 'how you doing?' it was 'what can I do to help?'"
Gottheimer was finally introduce by his young daughter Ellie, who he lifted on to a chair, which he held in place, while she spoke at the podium to succinctly say "I'm here to introduce my daddy who is our Congressman of the 5th District of New Jersey."
"Two years ago, you entrusted me with this enormous responsibility – to live up to my commitment of putting progress ahead of party, to work to solve problems by finding common ground instead of extremism on either side, and to stand up for lower taxes and Jersey Values – that’s what I’ve done and that is what I will keep doing – because it’s what you deserve and why you sent me to Washington” said Congressman Gottheimer. “As part of our Jobs and Economic Growth Plan, we’ve worked overtime to help our businesses create jobs, grow the economy, and cut out-of-date regulations, including the Regulatory Improvement Act – to help make operating a business here, and living in our state, more affordable."
Gottheimer expressed his pride at being one of 48 members of the so-called "Problem-Solvers" committee, which is comprised of 24 Democrats and 24 Republicans, working together, which likely has a chicken-or-the-egg relationship with that of his bipartisan Mayoral supporters. "We believe in safe communities, [fighting] against terror at home and abroad, and always standing by our seniors veterans and First Responders. I have fought for cops and firefighters because I believe you should always have the backs of those who have yours."