Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Sokolich to Attend State of Union

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Sokolich to Attend State of Union

Article excerpt

Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, who helped spark the controversy now threatening Governor Christie's political future by speculating that lanes to the George Washington Bridge were closed to send him a message, will be Rep. Bill Pascrell's guest in the House chamber tonight for the State of the Union speech.

Pascrell, a Democrat from Paterson whose district covers parts of Bergen and Passaic counties, said the invitation was not meant to send a message about the bridge lane closure.

"He did exhibit a stand-up attitude [on the bridge issue] which I've grown to like and I can't say I kept that out of my mind because that's not the truth, but it's not the reason he was selected," Pascrell said of Sokolich.

Rather, Pascrell said he invited someone from Paterson last year and wanted this year's invitation to go to someone from Bergen County. Fort Lee became part of Pascrell's district in 2012, and Sokolich had endorsed Rep. Steve Rothman when he was in a tough primary fight with Pascrell.

But Pascrell said the mayor was honest and straightforward with him during the primary, and afterward they worked together on some issues.

Sokolich told The Record in September that after he was unable to get the Port Authority to explain why two of the borough's three access lanes to the bridge were closed, he wondered "If there's something I did wrong. …

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