Local fire chiefs step up to defend Garrett from Zadroga Act smears

They’re hoping something will stick, eventually, if they keep throwing stuff at the wall, Save Jerseyans.

It’s not exactly a strong sign of campaign exuding confidence, is it?

Nevertheless, after revisiting the SCOTUS-settled gay marriage debate didn’t work, the NJ-05 campaign of Democrat challenger Josh Gottheimer decided to take a shot at incumbent Republican Scott Garrett by… politicizing 9/11.

Yes, THAT 9/11.

Scott Garrett
Scott Garrett

We saw the most tangible, disgusting example of this strategy at last week’s Bergenfield 9/11 commemorative ceremony when Gottheimer partisan Tim Eustace, a Democrat Assemblyman, ripped Congressman Garrett during the ceremony (before walking out) over his withdrawn support for the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The Democrat’s campaign is also running a TV spot on Garrett’s vote.

The truth? Unsurprisingly it’s something very different from what NJ-05 district voters are hearing.

Congressman Garrett was a cosponsor of the original 2007 legislation when it solely addressed the plight of first responders and he voted for final passage after Democrat-backed tax increases were removed by way of a Senate amendment.

Garrett also cosponsored the Zadroga Act’s reauthorization in mid-April 2015.

He subsequently asked the Congressional leadership for a standalone vote on the Zadroga Act but the reauthorization was ultimately paired to a $1.1 trillion government spending bill. Garrett couldn’t back the new debt in good conscience.

On Friday, two firefighting veterans came to Garrett’s aid and fired back at those forces trying to manipulate his record.

Parker Space
Parker Space

“The community of Oakland is only a short car ride from New York City, and our residents remember both the heroism and the losses of September 11, 2001. In the days following the 9/11 attacks, I went to Ground Zero to lend my support. I saw the devastation and destruction first hand. Our residents also remember the advocates for our community in the aftermath – one of whom is Congressman Scott Garrett,” Robert Knapp, former Oakland Volunteer Fire Department Chief, declared in a release from the Garrett camp. “Scott has fought for our First Responders and he has opposed efforts to politicize their struggles. Just as they stand strong in the face of adversity, we know we can rely on Scott to stand strong for them in the face of political pressure.”

Assemblyman Parker Space, former Wantage Fire Department Chief, also chimed in to disagree with Eustace, his legislative colleague.

“Scott Garrett is a champion for the brave men and women in uniform that serve the Fifth District. Any suggestion otherwise is a shameful smear manufactured to score cheap political points,” added Space. “I’ve known Scott for years and have personally witnessed his public service and dedication to our community’s First Responders. As a third generation firefighter, I’m deeply offended by the lies cooked up by some Washington, DC political operatives in a ploy to obscure the truth here in New Jersey.”