As a follow-up to NJEA's wonderful, fabulous, all good, very great day on Tuesday when its $4 million Super PAC money led to securing a union-friendly Assembly (already ensured, but four seats safer) NJ Spotlight interviews some of the movers and shakers:
NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer: “We had a terrific week," as his union gathered yesterday for its annual convention in Atlantic City that closes schools for two days. “Nobody can ruin this week for me.”
Another special feature of Wendell's wonderful week: NJEA didn't endorse a single Republican "for the first time in recent memory" because union leaders treated denial of N.J.'s cratering pension system as a litmus test for support. In order for the state to make its next full payment of $3.1 billion, it would have to slash school aid or borrow money (wait: it can't do that; our bond rating is in the toilet) or cook the books somehow. Some Democrats, apparently, were willing to avow their fealty to a flawed pretense and they got the big bucks.
“We would have liked to endorse a Republican,” said Ginger Gold Schnitzer, the NJEA’s head of government relations and director of the NJEA’s PAC. “The reason the Republicans weren’t endorsed was that none of them stood up and voted for the five seventh pension payment,” she said, referring to the proposed $3.1 billion payment of five-seventh of the state’s obligation. “The rubber met the road on the pension payment. This election for the NJEA was very much about one thing: It was about candidates keeping promises."
Also read the Spotlight piece for a rejoinder from one of the scorned truth-tellers, Assemblyman Jon Bramnick (R-Union), who "said that spending showed where the union’s true heart resides."
“What is the goal of the special-interest money?” Bramnick said at a State House news conference yesterday, adding that it didn’t appear to be about education.