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Incumbents in the 39th legislative district chided their Democratic challengers for missing a town hall at Westwood Regional High School Tuesday.
“It’s simply inexcusable that our opponents reneged on their commitment to attend today’s Town Hall, especially just one day after claiming they will be strong advocates for young people,” Assemblyman Bob Auth said. “I guess it is too difficult for them to defend their extreme agenda that is driving so many people — especially our young people — out of state to find good-jobs and a more affordable life.”
Auth and his running mate, Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, attended the event.
Westwood Mayor John Birkner and Emerson Council President Gerald Falotico were scheduled to attend but backed out because Birkner had to be present for testing of the county’s back-up power system.
“The [Bergen County Utilities Authority] was testing our emergency back-up power operations which required that I be on site for technical guidance for the shutdown and startup of sensitive analytical instrumentation. I had a vacation day scheduled however the environmental safety and health of our delicate waterways outweigh a campaign appearance,” Birkner said. “Shame on Holly Schepisi and Bob Auth. But then again, their environmental record speaks volumes.”
The incumbents’ campaign said their candidates discussed gun control, student loan debt and property taxes, among other things, with the students.
“We believe actions speak louder than words, and the actions of Birkner and Falotico in backing out of their commitment to our local children speaks volumes about exactly what kind of Assembly people they would be,” Schepisi said. “Bergen and Passaic Counties deserve strong leaders willing to show up for them. Bob Auth and I do just that; John and Gerry obviously don’t.”
The challengers are still looking to spar with their Republican opponents in the public square.
“We eagerly look forward to debating the assembly members as soon as possible in a public forum where we can present our vision of fair funding for our local schools and infrastructure, keeping the state’s promises to our teachers and police officers, standing up for working families, protecting the environment, and combating the nationwide epidemic of gun violence,” said Brad Raimondo, the Democrats’ campaign manager. “Apparently, our opponents consider those ideas ‘extreme’ But we just consider them common sense.”