Truck-driver Ed Durr getting crash course in NJ politics
State Senator-elect Ed Durr has committed to "stand against Islamophobia and all forms of hate."
Durr came under fire shortly after his stunning upset of Senate President Steve Sweeney for a tweet in which he called Islam a "false religion."
The Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) demanded Durr renounce that tweet, or give up his newly won seat.
Durr quickly apologized, saying if anything he said in the past hurt anyone's feelings, he was sorry.
CAIR organized a two-hour sit-down with Durr, and both sides emerged saying there was now a greater understanding.
Clutching a Quran, Durr emerged from the meeting in Washington Township saying he had a better understanding of Islam, and said he looks forward to working with the Muslim community.
In a statement, Durr said: "I stand against Islamophobia and all forms of hate, and I commit to that going forward. I look forward to working with the Muslim community."
He told NorthJersey.com he believed both sides got a better sense of each other. "I think that's the real key to everything," Durr said, "As long as you know somebody, it's hard to hate somebody."
Durr is quickly getting a lesson on New Jersey politics after he won an election even he expected to lose. A trucker with a self-described "big mouth," he has already traded jabs with Governor Phil Murphy and is now learning how quickly social media posts, even those from years in the past, can get you in trouble.
He has not, however, lost that everyman demeanor that has endeared him to voters and made him a national news story.
After Steve Sweeney finally conceded the election on Wednesday, Durr said he held no grudges and would even like to have a beer with Sweeney.
In an appearance with New Jersey 101.5’s Bill Spadea, Durr says the reality of his new job is finally starting to set in. He said he was on “pins and needles” right up until Sweeney conceded and kept asking his political advisor, “Are you sure I won?”
Durr plans to keep driving trucks for Raymour and Flanigan, although said they would discuss his employment future after he takes office in January.
Durr knows he will have a lot to learn when he finally gets into the State House, but does have an agenda. “I want to work for the people, and get this state back on track,” Durr told Spadea, “I firmly believe we have one of the greatest states in the country, but it could be better if we all work together.”
More specifically, Durr says he will push for reforms in the way special needs children are helped by the state. He says he developed a passion for the issue when he witnessed a friend’s struggle with a child who aged out of the system during the pandemic. “These are our most vulnerable people,” Durr said, “that shouldn’t happen.”