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NJ AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech. (Photo by Nikita Biryukov)

Wowkanech won’t say if he’d help Murphy, Sweeney make peace

NJ AFL-CIO boss sidesteps question of mediator role

By Nikita Biryukov, January 21 2019 1:56 pm

New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech declined on Monday to say whether he would be willing to act as a mediator to assuage the tensions plaguing the relationship of the New Jersey’s top two Democratic officials, Gov. Phil Murphy and Senate President Steve Sweeney.

“I’m talking about this today,” Wowkanech said, referring to an event calling for an end to the ongoing shutdown of the federal government Wowkanech attended along with Sen. Bob Menendez, Rep. Donald Norcross (D-Camden) and Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis).

Wowkanech has ties to both Murphy and Sweeney and would be an obvious choice for a peacemaking role.

Murphy and Sweeney have feuded repeatedly during the governor’s first year in office office, most recently over a redistricting constitutional amendment that would have stripped Democratic State Chairman John Currie, a staunch ally of Murphy’s, of the power to unilaterally appoint half of the board’s members.

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