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Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-Newark). (Photo: Rep. Donald Payne.)

Laborers’ back Payne for re-election

Pocino: ‘Politics has more than enough people who love to speak, love to tweet, but there are fewer and fewer leaders like Donald Payne’

By David Wildstein, February 09 2022 12:32 pm

The Laborers’ International North America-Eastern Region, one of the state’s most politically powerful labor unions support comes with money and boots on the ground, has endorsed Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-Newark) for re-election in New Jersey’s 10th district.

“Donald Payne, Jr., has demonstrated a willingness to support working families and the ability to get things done,” said Ray Pocino, the LiUNA vice president and eastern regional manager.

Pocino, one of New Jersey’s respected labor leaders for the last few decades, took a veiled shot at Imani Oakley, a mountebank vagabond who is challenging Payne in the June Democratic primary.

“Politics has more than enough people who love to speak, love to tweet, but there are fewer and fewer leaders like Donald Payne, Jr., who first and foremost love to serve,” said Pocino, who didn’t mention Oakley by name.

The six-term Democrat appears to be running the table on union endorsement, picking up support from the New Jersey Education Association, the Communications Workers of America, and the New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association.   An elite group of labor leaders hosted a fundraiser for him last month.

LiUNA has more than 25,000 New Jersey members.

“They want a public servant who has a record of reliability, of approachability, and of accomplishment,” Pocino said.

Akil Khalfani, an Essex County College Sociology professor, is also seeking the Democratic nomination in the 10th.

Congressional redistricting keeps the 10th as one of the most Democratic House districts in the nation, and a primary win is tantamount to election there.  The new map adds Caldwell, Essex Fells and Cranford to the district.

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