Government Relations Report
On the final day of July, the local interview team of NJEA members met with the candidates for NJ State Assembly and Senate in the CCCEA office. The local
interview team is composed of NJEA members from Legislative District 1 which includes all of Cape May and most of Cumberland County. The recommendations of the local team are considered and voted upon by the NJEA PAC Operating COmmittee which is compose of 125 NJEA members. Each candidate was afforded thirty minutes to elaborate on their response to a previously submitted questionnaire and offer their reasons for seeking elective office. The candidates also answered questions from the local interview team concerning pension costs, health care, statewide testing and school district funding.
After hearing the views of Republican candidates, Mary Gruccio for Senate and James Sauro for Assembly, and Democratic candidates, Jeff Van Drew for Senate and Bruce Land and Bob Andrzejczak for Assembly, the team voted to recommend for endorsement the incumbent Democrats to the NJEA PAC Operating Committee.
NJEA Endorses Phil Murphy
NJEA is supporting Phil Murphy for governor because of his strong pro-public education stance on most issues that are of concern to us. He has impressed NJEA leadership with a clear, well thought out plan that prioritizes education and respects the needs of retirees and educators at all levels of public education. As governor he has assured NJEA that they will always have a place at the table when decisions affecting members, schools and students are made. Phil Murphy wants pensions fully funded and supported the constitutional amendment. Marie Blistan, NJEA President, applauds Phil Murphy for backing the Millionaires Tax saying he will put middle class families ahead of millionaires and corporations. As governor he will support our economic interests. Phil Murphy will also keep the existing school funding formula, end emphasis on standardized tests, address the impact of Chapter 78 on current teachers as well as support legislation to protect ESP’s from privatization and provide due process rights. Ambassador Phil Murphy was appointed ambassador to Germany by President Obama and was chair of New Way for New Jersey, a progressive organization. He is on the national board of the NAACP. Murphy graduated from Harvard and has a graduate degree from the Wharton School working his way up to help lead a major international business.
Government Relations Report
by Chuck Griffiths and Sandra Zaccaria
CCREA’s government relations team braved winter’s lingering chill to make February a very active month. Our team attended NJREA’s GR meeting in Trenton on February 16th to discuss several critical issues -the most important being the proposed constitutional amendment on pensions. Key provisions of the amendment would require quarterly payments, establish a responsible funding schedule, and protect the right of vested public employees to earn their pension benefits. The NJEA did extensive research on public support and found the results to be favorable. We also learned that our lawsuit to restore our COLA will be heard by the New Jersey Supreme Court in March. We again travelled north on Saturday, February 20th to attend the NJEA’s annual Legislative and Political Conference in Somerset. With over 500 people in attendance, the conference dealt with privatization, charter schools, federal issues, assessment and health benefits. The conference concluded with a plenary session moderated by NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer. Panelists Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto spoke at length, offering their full support for the constitutional amendment on pensions.