NJEA’s endorsements in state and local elections helped propel pro-education candidates to widespread success on Nov 5. Fifty-one out of 59 NJEA PAC-endorsed legislative candidates won their elections.
“Our members are proud to support legislators who share our values and are willing to advocate alongside us for our great public schools,” said NJEA President Marie Blistan. “We do our part every day to make New Jersey’s public schools the best in the nation and we need champions of public education in the Legislature to make sure they remain the best.
“The Legislature makes dozens of decisions each year that have a profound effect on public schools, school employees, our students, and communities,” said NJEA Vice President Sean M. Spiller. “From making sure our schools are safe, healthy and welcoming for every student, to school funding and keeping promises to educators, what happens in Trenton matters in every community. We are proud to help shape that debate by working to elect public education advocates.”
“Democracy only works when people participate in the process, said NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty. “From voting, to talking to colleagues, to knocking on voters’ doors, NJEA members set a great example to students about how to be engaged citizens of this nation. We support candidates we believe in and advocate for causes we know matter to our future. We don’t just teach about democracy; we also demonstrate it.”
With real Chapter 78 relief and Job Justice for educational support professionals within reach, NJEA members across New Jersey canvassed, phone banked and volunteered with the campaigns of endorsed candidates. Most importantly, NJEA members voted. By helping elect pro-public education candidates NJEA members are working to ensure a bright future for students, educators and great public schools.
NJEA members also worked in a number of local races and ballot questions in counties and municipalities across the state. County and local associations made endorsements at the local level in 17 counties around the state. While those results are not yet official, it appears that 78 percent of those endorsed candidates were successful.
“Politics begins at home,” Blistan said. “That’s why NJEA members in locals around the state choose to endorse and work for candidates for local office. It is important to have supporters of public education in every office, and we are willing to work hard to make that happen.”
Notable races include Elton Custis winning a seat on the Camden Board of Education, a clean sweep for the endorsed slate of Democratic candidates in Hamilton Twp. (Mercer Co.), a successful write-in campaign for school board in Wayne, and winning three out of five seats on the Jersey City Board of Education.
NJEA members sought election to offices at all levels of government. Across the state, 277 members were on the ballot on Tuesday, running for freeholder, mayor, other municipal offices, and board of education.
“We are proud of the NJEA members who have stepped up to run for local office,” Spiller said. “They are going above and beyond to give back to their communities, and their union colleagues are proud to help them get elected. We need educators’ voices at every level of government to make sure our public schools remain a priority and have the resources they need to remain the best in the nation.”
In addition to local elected office, NJEA members advocated for their students and their communities in a number of local referendum.
“It is important for voters to know what is at stake when they vote on a local referendum,” said Beatty. “Our members work hard to educate their colleagues and their communities about the long-term benefits of making smart investments in education.”
In all, there were 25 ballot questions in 19 districts across the state. A total of 14 passed in 11 districts. A notable win was in Flemington-Raritan where both referendum passed. This win means that the district will be able to upgrade schools by improving their security, infrastructure and air quality.