Nj Gubernatorial Candidate Questionaries:
New Jersey’s next governor will play a critical role in promoting or undermining Rutgers, the State University. In addition to health care and retirement security for our members, that person will decide on:
1. The State’s appropriation to Rutgers, which has remained flat the last two years and the same is proposed for 2017-18;
2. Financial aid funding for the Educational Opportunity Fund (Christie intends to cut again by $3.565 million);
3. The proposed “3+1 Program,” whereby a student could graduate from Rutgers having earned 90 credits from a county college (Christie will almost certainly sign this legislation if the Assembly passes it);
4. The next handful of Rutgers University Governors (Christie has never nominated a student, faculty member, or anyone with experience in higher education policy).
For these reasons and more, our Union has gotten more deeply involved in this contest than in past years.
We hosted Democratic candidate John Wisniewski in a public meeting with our members – and those of URA-AFT – last month.
Along with the URA, we have also invited Democratic candidates Jim Johnson, Ray Lesniak (10 April), and Phil Murphy. Johnson and Murphy have not yet confirmed a date. Therefore, the Union would like to offer members a more certain – although possibly less convenient – means to meet with and assess these candidates. Ultimately, we would like your input on whether the Union should endorse one of them for the Democratic gubernatorial primary on 6 June (bearing in mind that any such endorsement would not prejudice the Union against later endorsing a candidate from another party in the general election of 7 November).
The statewide office of the American Federation of Teachers (AFTNJ)– to which we belong – has scheduled appearances by Johnson, Lesniak, Murphy, and Wisniewski for their legislative conference to be held on 31 March and 1 April in Atlantic City. As part of its endorsement process – which is independent of ours – AFTNJ sent those candidates a questionnaire on their policies towards education, health care, public employees, and related issues. They also sent the questionnaire to the Green Party candidate, Seth Kaper-Dale, who requested it. Unfortunately, Kim Guadagno, who is running as a Republican, neither requested the questionnaire nor responded to AFTNJ’s offer of it. The same is true for other announced Republican candidates. In any case, you may read the remaining five candidates responses to the questionnaires (above).
In sum, the Union hopes to bring a delegation of 10 members to Atlantic City in order to evaluate candidates and to advise the Executive Council on any possible endorsement. Please respond to this message if you wish to take part with a brief statement of interest. The Union will cover the costs of transportation, meals, and accommodation (if necessary) for the night of 31 March.