BY PEG SCHAFFER
As a woman engaged in politics over the past several decades, I have consistently encouraged women to get involved in elections and take leadership roles as elected officials. This includes electing Democratic women at the local, county, state, and federal level, including the majority of the Somerset County Board of Commissioners.
Over the past seven years one of my partners in this effort has been Tammy Murphy. She has served as an advisor to me and many candidates and elected officials, attended campaign rallies and small gatherings of local Democrats and encouraged young women – including pre-teens – to get involved and stay involved in Democratic politics.
As New Jersey’s First Lady Tammy has also been a tireless champion for reducing infant and maternal mortality, protecting the environment, and expanding women’s rights. She took no back seat to anyone, including the Governor. Instead, rose up to use not just the power of the First Lady but her own internal strength, intelligence, and compassion to make a real difference in the lives of Garden State residents.
This is why when I endorsed Tammy as the Democratic nominee for New Jersey Senator I compared her to two other First Ladies who rose well above that position to steer policy and improve the circumstances of Americans. Eleanor Roosevelt was a role model for me as I began work in politics, and I had the privilege of working with Hillary Clinton, including as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2016. In Tammy I see the same passion Eleanor showed in fighting for political, racial and social justice and the same fire that Hillary showed in taking on health care and women’s rights.
Eleanor Roosevelt led the way for women getting involved in politics, and Hillary followed her lead to a seat in the United States Senate. I am proud to support Tammy Murphy to continue this tradition, and to become the first woman to represent the State of New Jersey in the United States Senate.
Any suggestion that Tammy is not her own woman, and not eminently qualified to serve in high office, is ludicrous and an odious devaluation of what these two great women were, and who Tammy Murphy is.
Peg Schaffer is the chair of the Somerset County Democratic Committee.