First Latina Running On New Jersey Gubernatorial Ticket


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New Jersey’s Republican governor Chris Christie has garnered national attention, especially after his active involvement during the state’s devastating Hurricane Sandy.  On Tuesday he faces his second election, and polls have consistently given him comfortable, double-digit leads. This has not deterred, however, the first Latina running for executive office in the state’s as well as New Jersey’s first two-woman ticket.  Milly Silva is running as lieutenant governor with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono.
“One of the most exciting and humbling experiences is traveling to an event where everyone is only white, or only black or only Asian, or of a different income group, and yet at the end people come up to me and say, ‘We really appreciate what you have to say,’” says Silva. “At the end of the day, we have such commonality, and we want to see our state and our country in a better place.  This election is about pocketbook issues.”
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Silva, who is married and has three young children, grew up in New York, raised by her single mother.  Both her parents came to New York from Puerto Rico when they were young adults.
“I come from a working-class, low-income background,” says Silva. “My mom taught me that it was incredibly important that I use education as a way to provide a better life for myself than she could provide for me.”
Before being picked by Buono to run on the Democratic gubernatorial ticket, Silva was executive vice president of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, a union that represents workers in the homecare, hospital and nursing home industries, as well as pharmacies and other health care settings.  Silva says years of negotiating across the table on multi-million dollar contracts has given her an understanding of the needs of businesses – as well as workers.
“Barbara and I are running a campaign calling attention on growing wealth inequality, and how these disparities greatly impact women and families.  When Governor Christie vetoed a minimum wage increase, this disproportionately impacted Latino households. On issues, our state is 44th in job growth and we have the 8th largest unemployment rate,” Silva adds.  Some of the issues she and Buono have campaigned on include bolstering and supporting small business, improving infrastructure, tackling the gender gap in pay, and strongly supporting LGBT issues such as gay marriage.

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