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Excerpts from Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Barbara Buono’s Campaign Kick-off Speech

We’re here today to put an end to a philosophy as tired as it is disproven – the notion that our economic problems can all be solved if only we ask the middle class and the working poor to sacrifice more so that the wealthy can become even richer.
After more than three years of this governor’s policies, millions of New Jersey families are suffering – struggling under an unemployment rate that hovers near ten percent…higher than it was a year ago… and nearly two points higher than the nation’s.


Educational opportunity is sliding, with so many of our public schools falling short and tuition costs spiraling out of control.
And while the Governor continues to pray at the altar of his Republican Party’s bedrock principle of tax cuts for millionaires, everyday homeowners in our state have seen their property taxes soar.
From Cape May to High Point…everyday New Jerseyeans are wondering the same thing: for all of this Governor’s “Youtube moments” and choreographed town halls, for all his national press appearances and magazine covers . . . what has he actually done to help my family lift itself from this economic morass?
***
That’s why I’m announcing today my candidacy for Governor of the State of New Jersey.
Our campaign for real change is fueled by a recognition that the only way to bring new values to Trenton is to build a grassroots organization that depends upon New Jersey’s forgotten families and neglected neighborhoods and reconnects with the values that make us great.
***
All along the way, I’ve never been afraid to stand up for what’s right – even at my own peril. Five years ago when I saw that our state pension system was at risk of collapsing under the weight of its debt, I spearheaded efforts to rein in those costs and proposed common sense reforms – to protect taxpayers from massive hikes, and help ensure that our hardworking teachers, police officers, and firefighters had the retirement security they had worked so hard to earn.
I stood up and fought to root out corruption that’s driven up taxes and driven down public trust in the elected officials who are supposed to work for the people. And I fought to create a fiscal watchdog that took aim at the waste, fraud and abuse that has been shrugged off as business as usual for far, far too long.
In every battle fought, I learned a powerful lesson -- that leadership means taking on the tough challenges, even when it’s not politically popular.
And throughout my career, I’ve never forgotten the opportunities – that New Jersey gave me, and countless others who share my story. If I didn't have a chance to get the education I needed to land a good job at a living wage, I know that someone else would be here speaking to you today.
I believe in New Jersey…in the state that gave me so much…because the people of New Jersey believed in the kid of an Italian immigrant… the young girl who didn’t have much, but had big dreams and a commitment to hard work.
That’s the New Jersey way.
***
We must change business as usual…remake politics as usual…never mistaking name-calling for consensus-building…never confusing shouting and showmanship for strength and solutions…
It’s time for leadership that puts New Jersey first…that sees our state as more than just a steppingstone… that believes every child in every neighborhood deserves a state where they have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
That’s the kind of Governor I will be.
***
Some say that the odds of beating this Governor are insurmountable.. . . I say I’ve heard that my entire life . . . and look where we are today . . . right now!
I say that with the support of each and every one of you by my side, we will fight to take back our state . . . we will show this Governor what it looks like when people rise together and fight for their future . . . and we will win!

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