Englewood Democratic Municipal Chairman Phil Meisner has endorsed Valerie Vainieri Huttle for State Senate in the 37th district, saying Democrats “have the opportunity to support a woman who has taken her gifts of grace, compassion, thoughtfulness and caring and applied them so successfully in her daily work for all of us.”
“Let’s not miss that opportunity,” Meisner said.
Vainieri Huttle and Gordon Johnson, both State Assembly members from Englewood, are facing off for the Senate seat of Loretta Weinberg, who announced last week that she would not seek re-election to a sixth term in 2021.
“It has been said that if an individual has greatness within themselves, it comes to light, not in one flamboyant hour, but in the ledger of their daily work. That is especially so with Valerie, whom I am proud to endorse for the State Senate,” said Meisner. “The ledger of Valerie’s daily work, her dedication and service to all of us over her 20-year career in government is evidenced by the creation of a multitude of landmark laws and initiatives that have made the lives of our people better and more secure.”
Meisner’s endorsement follows one from his local political rival, Englewood Mayor Michael Wildes yesterday for Johnson.
Johnson backed Wildes against Meisner in the 2018 Democratic mayoral primary, while Vainieri Huttle supported Meisner.
Running off the line, Wildes defeated Meisner to replace Mayor Frank Huttle, the assemblywoman’s husband, who was stepping down.
After the primary, Wildes supporters ousted Meisner as municipal chairman by a vote of 18-12 in 2018.
Meisner returned to the post in 2019.
Meisner previously served as Vainieri Huttle’s chief of staff.
“I have been privileged to be there with Valerie during some of her journey and I can tell you firsthand of her commitment to us not just as a legislator fighting for great things in the General Assembly, but as a leader and an advocate for her constituents and for those in need,” Meisner said.
The former chairman pointed out Vainieri Huttle’s laws “against human trafficking, against bullying, for equality, for greater justice and who stands as a giant in the New Jersey Legislature.”
“But there is also the Valerie, who as Chair of the Human Services Committee, made it her priority to go to every State facility that cares for the mentally ill, the disabled, the weak, the forgotten amongst us in order to see them, to hold their hands, to make sure they knew that they had a friend and that their voices would be heard through her,” Meisner said.