IRVINGTON, NJ — Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver, the state Democratic Party’s candidate for lieutenant governor, stopped by Irvington’s annual National Night Out event in Civic Square on Tuesday, Aug. 1.
“She’s here all the time and that’s one of the things about having one of our own on the ticket as lieutenant governor,” said Mayor Tony Vauss on Tuesday, Aug. 1. “I think Sheila is a wonderful, wonderful pick. She’s going to be a tremendous lieutenant governor and, here in the township of Irvington, we’re all about firsts and she’s going to be the first African-American lieutenant governor in the history of the state of New Jersey and I’m just looking forward to it.”
Oliver took time out from her busy campaign schedule to enjoy a night out in the Irvington community and to spread the economic message of her running mate, gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy.
“I absolutely am a law-and-order candidate. If you look at my legislative record in the Legislature, you’ll see that I am a friend to law enforcement,” said Oliver on Tuesday, Aug. 1. “I have visited National Night Outs all around the state through the years that I have been a legislator. I think it’s also a way for the community to show support for public safety. You see EMTs; you see fire; you see police. It’s a great family kind of an event and you see the same thing replicated in every county.”
Regarding Vauss’ assertion that Oliver is making history by running for lieutenant governor on Murphy’s ticket, she acknowledged the significance of her bid to win in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 6, but put a different spin on it.
“A lot of times, there are populations of people all around the state (and) their issues never get heard. A lot of the decision makers that sit in the policymaking chairs are so far removed from the needs of just regular working people trying to raise their families, keep a roof over their heads, and I’m hoping that as Phil Murphy’s lieutenant governor I can help bring some focus on the things that are really confronting quality of life,” said Oliver. “Our campaign mantra is ‘economic fairness for everyone.’ We can grow our economy in New Jersey. We can do a lot of good things in the older suburban towns that have to reinvent themselves. We can do a lot to help businesses.
“A lot of times, in the previous administrations, all the focus was put on big, large corporations. Small businesses really are backbones of communities and our small business owners really haven’t gotten the kind of support that they can give. So we’re very excited. We’re taking nothing for granted, but we want to assure people our only agenda is economic fairness for everyone.”
Oliver quoted a former President Ronald Reagan who said, “The best social service program is a job.” Public Safety Director Tracey Bowers agreed with her that building better relations between law enforcement and their communities is a good way to fight crime, but putting people to work in good-paying jobs is the best crime-prevention policy.
“People that are employed, they interact with the community in such a tremendous way where we’re partners, and that’s what it’s all about in law enforcement,” Bowers said Tuesday, Aug. 1. “We need that to create a better environment for ourselves and our children and our residents and people who visit our township and our great state.”
And that’s why, Bowers said, National Night Out is so important.
“We have our annual event, where the people come out and enjoy a great time with the police officers, the community, the fire department and all departments. It’s been a wonderful tradition that we continue to carry out and we love to have an opportunity to interact with the community on a positive note, on a positive basis, and, as you can see, so many people came out today; women, children, young people, employees — it’s a great time so far,” Bowers said.
“National Night Out is important, because it provides an occasion for the community to interact with the police department when it’s not a stressful time. It’s a time where it’s fun and the cops and the community can both let their hair down and enjoy themselves and the festivities and activities and such.”
Vauss agreed that’s what Irvington and National Night Out are all about.
“It’s just a wonderful event. I’m glad to see the kids and everyone having a good time and this is how we do in the township of Irvington,” said Vauss. “I’m hoping everybody has a good time. If you’re not here, next year, you should be here in the township of Irvington, where we make our residents happy.”