Senator Gerald Cardinale canceled his appearance at a Q&A session about unemployment about half an hour after it started Thursday night.
About 25 locals gathered at the at 7 p.m. Thursday for a Meet and Greet at which Cardinale was supposed to be the headliner. NhN, a community support group for people looking for work, set up the Q&A session to “give people the opportunity to ask one of our representatives questions relating to unemployment,” founder John Fugazzie said.
Mahwah Town Council President John Spiech, who attended the meeting as a guest, spoke to the crowd while they waited for Cardinale to arrive. Guests also began a regular NhN meeting while waiting.
Spiech announced at about 7:30 p.m. that the library had received a call from Cardinale’s office. “Senator Cardinale is home sick tonight, so he won’t be able to make it,” Spiech told the crowd.
Karen Levi, NhN’s Political Outreach Advisor, who set up the Meet and Greet, said the attendees were “disappointed as a group, and as [Cardinale’s] constituents. This doesn’t make us feel very important.” Levi, who has been looking for work since she was laid off from her job as a marketing director in 2009, said she “actively pursued” Cardinale, and “received confirmation from his office that he would be here.”
Levi, a Mahwah resident, said she joined NhN in January of this year as a way to help her find a job. “After I got laid off, I went back to school and got my paralegal certification, so I’d love an opportunity in that field.” She said the group, which meets every Thursday night at the library, has been helpful for networking and moral support. "It is nice to know that it’s not just you," she said.