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RELEASE: Gottheimer, U.S. Commerce Secretary Raimondo Visit North Jersey Small Businesses, Push for Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill
Also working toward a reconciliation package with SALT that can pass both chambers of Congress and get to the President’s desk
Glen Rock, NJ, September 20, 2021
Above: Congressman Gottheimer with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and local elected leaders.
GLEN ROCK, NJ — Today, September 20, 2021, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) welcomed U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to New Jersey’s Fifth District, where they visited small businesses in Glen Rock and highlighted how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will benefit small businesses, families, and create jobs across North Jersey.
Congressman Gottheimer and Secretary Raimondo began their tour at Suka Jewelry’s flagship store in Glen Rock, which is woman- and minority-owned and features jewelry from local artisans that use ethically-sourced materials. Gottheimer and Raimondo also visited Merve’s Kitchen and Bakery, a popular Bergen County pastry shop that is also woman-owned, and Carrick Mor Irish Store, a six-year-old gift shop that specializes in artwork, apparel, and pottery sourced from Ireland. They concluded their tour of Glen Rock at the local favorite, John’s Boy Pizzeria, to grab a slice.
Gottheimer and Raimondo spoke with each business owner about how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will address major infrastructure needs within the North Jersey community — from repairing roads, bridges, rails, and tunnels, to investing in broadband, combating lead water, and fighting climate change.
“The Secretary, Mayor, and I spent this morning touring small businesses in downtown Glen Rock, just a stone’s throw from the train station, where moms and dads commute to work every day,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer. “The message we heard was loud and clear: fixing our crumbling infrastructure — our roads, bridges, rails, and tunnels, and investing in broadband, and fighting climate change, like those recent floods, is key to their success, and to Jersey’s.”
"When President Biden came into office, he said he wanted to reach across the aisle and get things done. He said, I want to find common ground and get things done for the American people, and that's exactly what we've been doing since we got into office. And as Congressman Gottheimer just said, we have an opportunity right now to do something historic, which is to pass a trillion dollar Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, and that will create millions of jobs. It will make sure that every single American has access to high quality, high-speed affordable broadband. It will make sure that communities like yours here in Bergen County and Glen Rock will have the money necessary for transit and resilience,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo at today's press conference. “This infrastructure package is a huge step forward for America, and your Congressman, Congressman Gottheimer, has been a leader in that effort.”
Congressman Gottheimer and Secretary Raimondo were also joined by Glen Rock Mayor Kristine Morieko, Glen Rock Council President Mary Barchetto, NJ Assemblywoman Lisa Swain, Bergen County Commissioner and President of Bergen County Building and Construction Trades Council Tom Sullivan, Bergen County Clerk John Hogan, Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton, and Bergen County Commissioners Mary J. Amoroso, Ramon Hache, and Tracy Silna Zur.
Watch the press conference here.
Below: Glen Rock Mayor Kristine Morieko, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Congressman Josh Gottheimer, and Glen Rock Council President Mary Barchetto at John’s Boy Pizzeria.
Thank you, Mayor, for welcoming us to beautiful Glen Rock, and I also want to thank all our elected officials. I’m very proud to welcome Secretary of Commerce Raimondo to Bergen County today, as we push to get the once-in-a-century Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill passed in the House next week and to the President’s desk. We are here today to join forces and highlight just how much this legislation will help North Jersey communities, small businesses, and workers. I just drove through Paramus to get here, Madam Secretary, which is the highest-grossing retail zip code in America.
The Secretary — a former Governor — knows just how important infrastructure is to innovate, grow, to help our communities and local businesses compete, and to help create good-paying jobs — two million jobs a year for the next decade.
The Secretary, Mayor, and I just spent a few minutes this morning touring small businesses in this idyllic downtown Glen Rock, just a stone’s throw from the train station, where moms and dads commute to work every day. We visited Merve’s Kitchen and Bakery, Suka Jewelry, Carrick Mor Irish Store, and John’s Boy Pizzeria. The message we heard was loud and clear: fixing our crumbling infrastructure — our roads, bridges, rails, and tunnels, and investing in broadband, and fighting climate change, like those recent floods, is key to their success. And to Jersey’s.
For everyone who has hit a pothole, has been stuck on a train, spent too much time commuting, or whose business can’t get the broadband connection they need, including far too many parts of my District in Sussex and Warren Counties, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill is a game changer.
In Jersey, we have the third worst roads in the nation; and a third of our bridges are in desperate need of repair. New Jersey’s public transit has been ranked the worst in the nation, causing endless delays and frustration. Parents are often late to work in the morning and miss bedtime in the evening.
Our key tunnel, the Gateway Tunnel, connecting 20 percent of the nation’s GDP, still needs to be built; the current train tunnel under the Hudson is 113 years old and literally crumbling. So, all these issues hurt our small businesses and commerce and towns across New Jersey. And, of course, this is something that happens all across the country.
But here's the great news; the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will make once-in-a-century investments in repairing our roads, bridges, rails, and mass transit. It will help build the Gateway Tunnel between New York and New Jersey and include historic investments in getting lead and forever chemicals out of our water.
It’s going to finally get broadband to those unconnected or underserved and help us fight climate change, including in electric vehicles and climate resiliency — so important after what Hurricane Ida just did.
By improving our public transit, like New Jersey Transit, with stops here in Glen Rock, we can make commuting more accessible to residents and bring more businesses to towns like Glen Rock. When there are easy and efficient ways to get around, we all know that — whether it's driving or taking the train from town to town — commerce in small communities like this one can and will thrive.
It was wonderful to hear from all these businesses of just how well they're doing and how they're back on their feet. It's incredible. Our small business success is directly tied to the quality of infrastructure and it's keys to these businesses and in the new modern economy. Plus, we'll ensure that all Americans, including families and businesses in rural stretches throughout Jersey have access to reliable high-speed internet. We've seen that, whether it's schools or healthcare, connecting our families and shopping online are so important, and we need broadband. The Secretary leads this effort — helping us get connected.
This bill, supported by 19 Republican Senators and 50 Democratic Senators — it's a huge win for Jersey. Now, we've got to get it across the finish line, and we're going to do that next week.
I want to thank the Secretary for her remarkable leadership and help in making that happen, as we push to bring this across the finish line. We all know this is about jobs and innovation, and the Secretary being here today is a reminder of how much we can do for our small businesses, for their employees, for our families, and all the customers. So, let's get this done, let's get it across the finish line, and get it to the President's desk.
And then let's get, of course, to work on the reconciliation bill, which is also so important. We've got to get that also to the President's desk, to reinstate the State and Local Tax deduction, protect our climate, support North Jersey families, and, of course, our seniors in all of our communities.
I know in communities like Bergen County, like this one, improving lives is so important — to everybody — we're going to make that happen.
And now I get to introduce an old friend, somebody who is a phenomenal leader — we got her out of Rhode Island — to the country. It was a huge win for our country. It's part of why we live in the greatest country in the world, because we have leaders like the Secretary, and I know our best days will always be ahead of us.