Yesterday, Eric Richard, candidate for West Amwell Township Committee, responded to my post about the West Amwell Township Committee race and the issue of a large number of union donations to the Democratic side of the campaign.
Here is his response in its entirety. I’ll have a follow on blog post to respond in full and will link to it here when it’s complete, but I wanted to get this out as soon as I could. This is also posted on the West Amwell Proud Facebook page.
From: Eric Richard
Date: Sunday Oct 16, 12:20pm
Mike – After reading your blog article from yesterday, I wanted to bring to your attention, the attention of your readers and to the attention of all West Amwell residents, some important facts.
First and foremost, when I began my campaign several months ago, I sat down with my running mates and explained to them that I would not accept any contribution from any interest that would benefit from the pipeline. That promise has never been broken and still stands today. Since the day our campaign Facebook page was launched over the summer, it articulates our clear position in opposition to PennEast.
With that understanding, I need to ask you if you researched, bothered to interview anyone (including myself) or are aware of any of the following specifics:
- Are you aware that there are five unions that are signatories to the pipeline that would receive all the work if it were to proceed?
- Are you aware that our campaign has not accepted a PENNY from any of those signatory unions?
- Are you aware, that one such signatory union that you mention in your article sent me a contribution over the summer – and I returned it to them immediately? For precisely the reason you raise in article – to avoid the perceived conflict of interest.
- Are you aware, that not a single union that gave me a contribution EVER even asked me my position on the pipeline or discussed the issue with me. Are you aware that all of the local unions that did contribute represent workers completely unrelated to pipeline construction? For example fireman (FMBA), state and local public employees (196 PAC, CWA), nurses (HPAE) and transit employees (ATU).
- Are you aware – that some of the union leadership that you site in your article – such as Plumbers Local 9 – I’ve had a personal friendship with for over a decade? The business manager for this local was at my wedding six years ago. He has ZERO interest in anything except to see me succeed in my campaign.
- Also – I am in no way hiding who I work for. If you visit my facebook page – on the front page for the last 13 years it has displayed my employer as the AFL-CIO. I am a proud labor supporter. I stand with working people and I am proud to have their endorsement and support.
The voters of West Amwell should be aware of my life long support of conservation and environmental organizations. I’ve participated in events or gave personal donations to a multitude of environmental groups since I was a teenager, including the World Wildlife Federation, the NJ Sierra Club, the Galapagos Conservancy, the NJ Audubon Society, the Stonybrook – Millstone Watershed Association, among others. Also I’m glad you mentioned that our campaign made a donation to OPPOSE the pipeline through your very own organization!
On a personal note, I have a little girl – Ariella (4). The love of my life. Maybe you have seen her on our billboards. We have well water. The proposed pipeline route is a short distance from my back porch. My passion to protect her from every possible threat is on my mind constantly. The fact that you – as well as Mayor Rich and his running mates, all of whom are fathers just like me, that are confronting the same community issue, believes my family’s health and safety is for sale is personally disturbing. Its politics at its worst and the people of West Amwell deserve better.
It’s my hope you will post this on your blog and let your readers be informed of the truth. I will share it on our campaign facebook page and beyond. Furthermore, it is my hope that we can work together to stop PennEast, even though you endorsed my opposition. My campaign is about issues & problem solving – not politics. And together we can achieve much more when like-minded individuals, individuals that have the same exact position on this issue – work together rather than tear the other down for political purposes.
Candidate for West Amwell Township Committee
Proud Member of the AFL-CIO
Proud Opponent of Penn East