NEWARK- A packed housed of over 150 political operatives, elected officials, lobbyist, union and community activists gathered at Maize Restaurant to celebrate the work of Latina leaders across the state, as LUPE PAC held their awards gala and fundraiser Wednesday night, raising $55,000 and doubling their fundraising appeal from last year.
The likes of Mayor Ras Baraka, Mayor Jackson of Trenton, Mayor Diaz of Perth Amboy, Senator Ruiz and Assemblywoman Pintor Marin, Freeholder Germaine Ortiz and Essex Co Freeholder Toro were in attendance as well as Mercer County Freeholder Samuel T. Frisby Sr., Ray Pocino with LIUNA and John Ballantyne from the Carpenters were in attendance as well as a large contingency of CWA Local 1037 and their leaders Ken McNamara and Chris Steves; SEIU 32BJ’s Julie Diaz and Patricia Cabrera as well as 1199’s Roy Garcia were there.
Latina operative and 1868 partner Idida Rodriguez was in the room. Operatives like Brianna Earle and Bryan Walensky were, too. So were Kivvit’s Laura Matos and Maggie Moran, an honoree, who gave a barnstorming speech railing against President Trump’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, amid cheers from the crowd and an extended ovation.
It was a show of force, as the PAC looks to propel Latina incumbents legislators as well as promoting new comers at the local level like Iris Perot for County Clerk in Warren County, Kim Keyes for Town Council in Middlsex Township and Esmeralda Trinidad for City Council in Jersey City. Both Kim and Esmeralda are members of LUPE and gone through their training programs. Endorsements for the 2017 general election include Yvonne Lopez, Democrat for State Assembly in District 19 and Ileana Schirmer, Republican for State Senate in LD-14.
Amid celebration of Latina power, chatter was heavy on Kim Guadagno’s ad attacking Phil Murphy’s position in support of sanctuary cities. The PAC has made support of immigrant women and sanctuary cities a chief issue in their endorsement process, and on Thursday released a statement denouncing Guadagno’s ad.