In a sign of the enthusiasm and commitment New Jersey educators feel for electing a pro-public education and pro-public school employee governor in the 2017 election, on March 28 NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer, Vice President Marie Blistan, Secretary-Treasurer Sean M. Spiller, and Executive Director Ed Richardson delivered to the Murphy for Governor campaign signed and notarized nominating petitions containing the signatures of 6,819 NJEA members.

The signatures were gathered as part of a statewide effort by NJEA members eager to support Ambassador Phil Murphy’s campaign. The minimum number of signatures needed to qualify as a candidate is 1,000 signatures. NJEA members alone provided Ambassador Murphy with nearly seven times that requirement.

“NJEA members are well-known for their passionate political activism,” said Steinhauer. “But few candidates have energized our members like Ambassador Phil Murphy. His positions on the issues that matter most to our members are, of course, a primary factor in our endorsement. But his willingness to listen, learn, and work cooperatively with our members to confront the serious challenges facing our state give us hope for real change and a better future for our students, our members, and our communities.”

“Our members are engaged in this process like never before, earlier than ever before because we have seen the devastating impact of poor public policy and politicians more in love with their own rhetoric than with moving our state forward. Chapter 78 is an example of the devastating impact politicians can have on hard-working New Jerseyans,” said Blistan. “For too long, politicians have promised our members that they would seriously address the funding crises facing our public employee pension system and our public schools, only to let them down time and time again. This year must be different. Our members are working to ensure that the choices they face on Election Day will be between the best candidates possible.”

“Ambassador Murphy’s positions on the issues that matter most to our members are unequaled in the Democratic primary race,” said Spiller. “And he has proven that he does not just tell our members what they want to hear. His message is the same, across the state, that we can and we must grow our economy and address the social and fiscal issues that are holding our state back. Along the way, there will be tough choices, but working together, we will ensure that New Jersey’s public schools remain among the best in the nation, and that public school employees will be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.”

In October, NJEA’s 125-member political action committee (PAC) unanimously endorsed Ambassador Murphy for the Democratic Gubernatorial Primary. On March 27, after the Republican field coalesced, the NJEA PAC voted not to endorse a candidate for the Republican gubernatorial primary based on interviews and questionnaires with Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Joe Rullo, the only two candidates to complete the screening process.

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