The New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest public employee union, today endorsed Democrat Bob Menendez for re-election to the United States Senate.
“The decisions that get made in Washington, D.C. affect the work that we do every day,” said Marie Blistan, the NJEA president. “With strong, supportive elected officials on our side, we can make our great public schools even better and provide our students with the world-class education they deserve. Senator Menendez is the advocate that our members and students need.”
Blistan pledged the full support of her union, where members and their families number over 200,000, saying that they will be out in full force between now and the November 6 election.
Menendez, who has run with NJEA support since he was an Assemblyman in the 1980’s, was still required to go through a rigorous screening process, Blistan said.
“No one gets a pass on an endorsement by the NJEA,” Blistan said.
She said that the Republican nominee, Bob Hugin, declined an invitation to meet with the union, fill out their questionnaire, or participate in a video conference with their members.
The two-term Senator became emotional when he spoke of his high school teacher, Gail Harper, who taught him how to speak publicly in Union City in the 1960’s.
“She was a true mentor, like so many of you are, to the children you serve each day” said Menendez.
Menendez used the endorsement announcement in Union Township, where he was joined by several dozen teachers, State Sen. Joseph Cryan (D-Union), and Assemblyman Jamal Holley (D-Roselle), to launch a strong attack on Hugin, President Donald Trump, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and former Gov. Chris Christie.
“When President Trump says jump, Bob Hugin says how high,” Menendez said. “The last thing New Jersey needs in Washington is a morally bankrupt CEO like Bob Hugin rubber-stamping the Trump-DeVos agenda.”
Menendez accused Hugin of “pretending to be independent.”
“He’ll say just about anything to get elected,” the senator said. “But his money speaks louder than his words.”
Playing to the deep-seeded dislike of Christie by the NJEA, Menendez invoked the name of the former governor and noted that Hugin was major campaign donor and fundraiser for Christie’s failed campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.