Democrat candidate for Governor Barbara Buono officially announced labor leader Milly Silva as her running mate.

Barbara Buono introduces Milly Silva as her running mate (Twitter)

Speaking at a press conference in East Rutherford, Silva called it a "high honor" to join a ticket she believes to be committed to restoring New Jersey. "I decided that my three children deserve a better New Jersey," she said according to a tweet from the Buono campaign



The 43-year-old Montclair resident wasted no time attacking Republican Governor Chris Christie whose policies she says have hurt the middle- and working-class. She says Christie's associations with conservative politicians is "cause for alarm."

Silva is executive vice president of a private union of health care workers.

Buono in a statement described Silva as "a woman whose fundamental beliefs align with this campaign’s guiding principle – that a strong New Jersey doesn’t come from the top down but stems from a robust middle class. That’s why today I am so proud to announce that she will be my running mate."

State Senate President Steve Sweeney issued a statement congratulating Silva on her appointment and called her "a tireless and selfless advocate for middle class" who will bring "unquestionable experience and leadership credentials to the Democratic ticket."

“Senator Barbara Buono made an outstanding choice in naming Milly Silva as her candidate for Lieutenant Governor,” stated New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech.

"Desperate Lengths"

Supporters at press conference announcing Milly Silva as Barbara Buono's running mate (Twitter)

The Christie campaign, however, believes  Silva is unqualified to be governor. Calling the selection of Lieutenant Governor as "the most important decision Barbara Buono will make as a candidate," Christie campaign spokesman Kevin Roberts says it instead shows "the desperate lengths Barbara Buono will go to in order to prop up her flailing campaign with special interest support."

Roberts described Silva as "an activist from a well-funded labor union who is wholly unqualified with no experience in government or public service."

The all-female ticket is a first for New Jersey and only the third nationwide.

Buono and Silva are challenging Christie and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who are seeking a second term.

The Associated Press contributed to this report