Election Day is coming…Who’s with me?
Election Day on Nov. 3 needs to be a State PBA swarm: members buzzing around the Forge in Edison where we are setting up our phone banks; members out in the legislative districts urging voters to support the candidates that have shown they support us; members going to the polls all across the state to vote. All our members. And their family members.
I’m promising big and hoping our membership backs me up by making the elected officials feel our presence. This is the day we have been waiting for; to follow up on the show of strength we made during the Primary Election in June so state, county and local politicians know that the police is a force.
Now, we can’t be overconfident just because there are only a couple legislative districts that will closely-contested. This is what’s at stake on what we need to make a day to remember for the State PBA:
I will be at the Forge beginning at 10 a.m. to help organize the phone banks. I think we can get more than 200 people in there from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. We will be led by our Retired Local 600 members who know that one more phone call to one more voter can make the difference in preserving, and getting back, the benefits that they worked so hard to get and ensure that we will all have them for years to come.
I have great expectations for the phone bank, and not just because of what happened in June. I talked to a lot of members at the PBA Convention last month in Las Vegas who wanted to know about working the phone banks. Come out for two hours. Come out for five hours. Whatever you can do will help. I’ve talked to staff members for some assembly representatives wanting to know if we will be working the phones. That should give us a hint at the impact we can make.
If you can’t make it to Woodbridge, make a difference in your own backyard. The first couple hours of the day will be very important to get members out in the districts reminding voters which candidates are the ones who support those who protect them in their communities. And we need to keep up the effort throughout the day.
We know we will have a lot of bodies in the 1st and 2nd Legislative Districts where the races will be close. And we already have 150 bodies committed to working on the ground in the 38th District in Bergen County. Local 600 volunteers will also be out in force.
If you don’t know which candidate we are backing, call the State PBA office and ask for Rob Nixon or myself. It’s not about voting Democrat or Republican. We need to be supporting the candidates who will support us once this governor is gone.
nd it’s not just about the State Legislative races. We can make a huge difference at the local government level. In Bergen County, our members made a big impact in helping Jim Tedesco get elected as County Executive. There’s a whole bunch of Freeholders that need to know we’re out there. And you don’t want to look back in a couple years and kick yourselves for letting a mayor get elected who made it hard for your Local to get a good contract. You can get together as a union and go after a mayor or a Freeholder.
I can tell you our efforts are working. We’ve gone to a lot of events with legislators the past year. A year ago, we would walk into the room and they didn’t always know who we were. We’ve built relationships. They know us; not just State PBA President Pat Colligan and myself. They are getting to know our members – the executive board, the county conference chairs and others. We’ve taken some baby steps.
Now, we need to take some big steps. We need to do better than the recent PFRS Trustee Election when just a third of our members voted. If you need any motivation, think about Chapter 78. We need to learn our lesson and this is our chance to hold legislators accountable. It’s one day of the year. Get off your butt and vote.