By Cleve Bryan
COLLINGSWOOD, N.J., (CBS) – Some high-profile New Jersey Democrats took the stage to gather support from organized labor groups Friday.
It was the Annual Labor Day Observance with the Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO Central Labor Council.
NJ Senate President Stephen Sweeney introduced Newark Mayor Cory Booker by saying his rival for U.S. Senate Steve Lonegan is a “scary, scary man.”
The speaker who received several standing ovations was NJ Senator Barbara Buono (D-18) who focused her remarks at the podium to strengthening the middle class by raising the minimum wage.
“We have a middle class that has shrunk under this governor. We have poverty that has increased every single year under his tenure,” Buono told Eyewitness News.
Buono believes her campaign is ahead of schedule with Fairleigh Dickinson polls this week showing a decrease in Governor Chris Christie’s election lead.
“We’re in the dog days of summer in August and quite frankly we knew it would narrow – we thought it would happen after Labor Day,” says Buono.
For his part, Governor Christie spent the week making appearances on shore boardwalks all along the coast talking about Sandy recovery.
Buono criticized Christie’s Sandy recovery efforts saying it has taken too long to get money to people with damaged homes.
“People expressed to me their frustration with being unable to cut through the bureaucratic red tape with the Department of Community Affairs – every time they call they get a different person,” says Buono.
She says one difference between her and Christie in preparing for future storms is taking long-term action against climate change.