Over 100 Democrats from throughout New Jersey joined Congressman Frank Pallone & Congressman Bill Pascrell at the La Riviera Restaurant in Matawan for the Monmouth County Democrats' Italian-American Luncheon honoring Democratic elected officials and celebrating the important tradition of Italian-Americans in Democratic leadership roles throughout Monmouth County and New Jersey.
The honorees at this inaugural event were Mayor Fred Tagliarini of Aberdeen, Council President Frank LaRocca of Marlboro and Councilwoman Kathy Arata Horgan of Red Bank. Surrounded by his family and Township Committeemembers, Mayor Tagliarini remarked on how the emotion of dedicating a memorial to a fallen young Aberdeen soldier earlier in the day reminded him of what is truly important in being an elected official.
Honored Guest Bill Pascrell spoke to the enduring patriotism and sacrifice of Italian-Americans both on the battlefield and in the Democratic Party. "I get offended when one party or group tries to corner the market on patriotism. Italian-Americans were the largest American immigrant group to fight in Europe in World War II. And, they were not just Republicans, but there Democrats that paid the ultimate price as well."
Congressman Frank Pallone, acting as Master of Ceremonies, spoke of his own Calabrese heritage and how his great-grandparents were poor migrant farmers in Southern Italy before they emigrated to the America. He stated how the honorees are a testament to the work ethic of his ancestors. "It's an honor to award these three public servants who have done such a fine job representing Italian-Americans, not just in Monmouth County, but in New Jersey."
Monmouth Democrats Executive Director Giuseppe "Joe" Grillo welcomed the attendees by remarking on how the Italian-American experience is an essential component of the Democratic Party's philosophy. "The Italians who came to America brought with them a moral foundation of faith, family and responsibility - not just for one's self, but for one's community, and that has become the keystone of our philosophy as sons & daughter of immigrants, as Americans, and as Democrats."