By Marion Filler
Congressional candidate Mikie Sherrill brought a pair of prominent African American lawmakers to campaign with her Monday in Morristown’s Second Ward, which has a large minority population.
“We need someone who can work with both sides of the aisle, but we also need a woman who can get the job done,” said Rep. Barbara Lee, a Democrat from Oakland, CA, who is crisscrossing the country to advocate in key congressional races.
Lee was joined by Rep. Donald Payne (D-10th Dist.) of Newark.
“We share a concern about criminal justice reform and gun legislation,” Sherrill said of Payne. “Here in Morristown a lot of us worry about our kids’ safety in school. Congressman Payne is worried about kids getting shot on the way to school. Weapons of war should not be on the streets of New Jersey.”
California Congresswoman Barbara Lee campaigns for Sherrill in Morristown; video by Bill Lescohier for MorristownGreen.com:
Sherrill, a Democrat from Montclair, is a former Navy helicopter pilot and federal prosecutor. She is running against state Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-26th Dist) of Morris Plains for the 11th District seat of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, a Republican retiring after 12 terms in Washington.
Monday’s rally was held outside Mo’Town’s Hair Affair, an Abbett Avenue salon with local roots dating to 1978. It’s the last African American-owned salon in an area that once supported five.
Hiliari Davis, town council vice president and a representative of the Second Ward, recalled that the original owner of Mo’Town’s Hair Affair was a veteran, as were her father and many residents of the ward.
Davis praised Sherrill’s support for affordable housing, criminal justice reform, veterans programs and gun control, and her determination to control the opioid epidemic.
“She’s our best hope and we’ve got to get behind her,” Davis told Sherrill supporters who included Morris County Freeholder candidate Mary Dougherty of Morristown, Mayor Tim Dougherty, and Morris Township Committeewoman Cathy Wilson.
Mikie Sherrill campaigns in Morristown; video by Bill Lescohier for MorristownGreen.com:
Lee serves on the Congressional Black Caucus, started the LGBT Caucus, and has fought for civil rights, “not just for minorities but for people across the political spectrum, because she knows how important that is,” Sherrill said of the Congresswoman.
The candidate also noted Lee is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which Frelinghuysen chairs, “and when we flip the House we could use some good Democrats on that committee.”
Lee said she envisions Sherrill chairing that committee.
“Mikie is authentic, this is part of her mission and believe me, the public understands who is for real –- she connects with people. We are trusting you to make sure she comes to Congress and wins in a big way,” Lee told the gathering.
Sherrill continued to take aim at Webber’s conservative record.
“He was for the [federal] tax plan. No member of the North Jersey delegation supported it –- neither [Rep. Leonard] Lance nor Frelinghuysen.
“We know he was for the [Affordable Care Act] Repeal Bill and Replace Bill, but let me tell you, I never saw the Replace Bill. and thousands of people would have lost their insurance. He voted to defund Planned Parenthood and New Jersey was the first state in the nation to do so. He was one of only two people in the entire state legislature to vote against equal pay for women,” Sherrill said.
A spokesperson for Webber accused Sherrill of “running a divisive campaign focused on looking backwards and re-opening long-settled social issues.”
“Jay Webber is focused on looking forward, to unite people on issues that every North Jersey family cares about- lowering taxes, creating jobs, and fixing our broken immigration system,” said spokeswoman Ronica Cleary.
She said Webber has sponsored bills with “90 percent of his Democratic colleagues” in the Assembly.
“The only person who puts partisan ideology above the people of New Jersey’s 11th District is Mikie Sherrill, which is evident in her fawning admiration for Nancy Pelosi, her support for Phil Murphy’s sanctuary-city agenda, and her choice to run with corrupt Bob Menendez,” Cleary said.
Debates are scheduled next week at Metro West in Whippany, in Ogdensburg, and at NJTV on Oct. 10. Sherrill also is scheduled to participate in a League of Women Voters debate with Independent Robert Crook and Libertarian Ray Martinez; so far, Webber has not accepted that invitation.