Who is Barbara Buono?

Mar 23, 2013 1793

You might not have heard of New Jersey state Sen. Barbara Buono, though you've probably heard of the man she's itching to take on in the November election – Gov. Chris Christie.

Expect to hear more about her.

State Sen. Barbara Buono is the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor in 2013.

"People will say to me, 'It takes such courage to run.' How could I not run?" New Jersey, she insists, is in bad shape she told the Daily News.

"What motivates me is my background," said Buono, 59, a petite mother of four.

In an article published in nj.com, Buono recounted her background as the child of an Italian immigrant butcher who died when she was a teenager. She told of how she put herself through college and law school and eventually climbed the political ladder, from the Metuchen Borough Council to the state Senate.

"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," she said.

A boost to Buono's campaign came last week, when New Jersey's largest teachers union endorsed her bid to unseat Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

The NJEA's political action committee, representing members in every county, voted unanimously Friday night to endorse Buono.

Saying it's time the state had "new leadership" and "new priorities," the union cited Buono's longtime support for public education as a key component of its decision.

"She is a proud graduate of New Jersey's public schools, and understands the vital role they play in the aspirations of middle class citizens," said NJEA President Barbara Keshishian.

Buono said Saturday she was "proud" to have the support of the union, which represents about 195,000 current and retired teachers and other school staff members.

Barbara Buono trails Chris Christie by a wide margin in polls. A Monmouth University poll released on Tuesday has the governor leading 62 percent to 20 percent.

by Donna Montagna / The IA Journal

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