AFT President Randi Weingarten and AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera were among the speakers Oct. 16 at the Legislative District 16 Canvass Kickoff in Princeton, attended by Gov. Phil Murphy, Senate candidate Andrew Zwicker, and Assembly candidates Roy Freiman and Sadaf Jaffer.
Weingarten, the closing speaker, spent a few minutes addressing recent comments former Gov. Chris Christie made when asked on TV about threats of violence against educators and school boards.
“The only answer to that is, ‘No, it’s reprehensible,’ ” Weingarten said. “Christie said there are some times when violence might be OK. I say this because this election is not just about moving forward; this election is also about what Christie and his minions did to the state.”
She added, “You can convince neighbors, you can convince friends, you can convince colleagues about the importance of voting, about the importance of this election. … You can tell them what Phil Murphy has done; you can tell them what the dream team from [District] 16 has done and will do. You can get them out to vote. This election now is up to you.”
Murphy — who wore a T-shirt with his reelection slogan “Stronger. Fairer. Forward.” — asked whether any labor members were in attendance, then following a burst of cheers, he deadpanned, “Just checking.” Murphy then acknowledged the “extraordinary labor leaders” who were seated in the VIP area, mentioning Weingarten, Chiera and HPAE President Debbie White by name.
In his speech, Murphy cited some of his achievements during his four years in office, among them the first full pension payments in decades and funding for public education.
“It is a new era in the great state of New Jersey,” Murphy said, “and not withstanding the overwhelming tragedy of this awful pandemic, it is sunrise in New Jersey.”