With just four days left before voters decide a suddenly competitive State Assembly race in Bergen County, a member of Gov. Phil Murphy’s cabinet went to the 39th district to share the stage with one of the Republican legislators Democrats are trying to unseat.
State Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet was in Ramsey today with Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-River Vale) to present an award to high school teacher Daniel Willever at a high-profile event.
Repollet notified the governor that he was attending the event two weeks ago, according to a memorandum provided to the New Jersey Globe by the commissioner’s office.
“This event will have major media coverage and will take place in front of cheering students, proud colleagues, and distinguished officials,” Repollet told Murphy in an October 16 memo that invited the governor to attend.
This is the second time in ten days where a member of Murphy’s cabinet has appeared with a Republican legislator facing a tough re-election campaign.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal appeared on a panel organized by Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) in the 21st district, along with two former attorneys general who served under Republican Gov. Chris Christie.
Schepisi and Assemblyman Bob Auth (R-Old Tappan) face a fierce challenge next week from Westwood Mayor John Birkner, Jr. and Emerson Councilman Gerald Falotico.
The New Jersey Education Association has endorsed Birkner and Falotico.
Willever received a $25,000 Millken Family Foundation National Educator Award.
Repollet’s office said the Ramsey appearance was not political.
“Today’s event was entirely about recognizing an exemplary teacher. It was a program conducted by the Milken Foundation, not the DOE. The DOE participates in these events every time they honor a New Jersey educator,” said Michael Yaple, a spokesman for the Department of Education.
According to Yaple, Repollet had no choice about the date being so close to Election Day.
“The Milken Foundation selects the educators and they schedule the dates for their programs,” Yaple said.Ramsey 10-31-2019 invite