Chris Christie: The Target Of NJ Union Leaders [AUDIO]
Many political experts and a lot of Democrats blame a lack of public worker union support for former Governor Jon Corzine's loss to Chris Christie in 2009.
If a recent State House event is any indication, union leaders are already gearing up to topple Christie in 2013. Unions are firing up their base before even knowing who Democrats will nominate to run against the current Governor.
The press event was billed a response to the state's high unemployment rate, but it quickly morphed into an anti-Christie rally.
AFL-CIO president Charlie Wowkanech says, "14 months from now we need to pull together united and in solidarity to take this guy (Christie) out and send him packing….14 months from now you're going to have your shot. Let's not blow it."
Wowkanech says unions have been under attack since Christie took office. He points to increased payments for health care and claims Christie is trying strip away pensions and cut salaries.
He says, "Don't forget that! Let's not lose sight of the prize."
New Jersey Education Association secretary treasurer Marie Blistan says public schools are the gateway for kids to reach their fullest potential, but Christie, "Has put targets on teachers' backs. He has made teachers the enemy of the general public. He is also working very hard to separate private and public unions……….He is putting us in a position where we all need to fight for our own memberships and while we're all fighting each other, in 14 months he's going to come in a get re-elected. It's his scheme to get re-elected and we cannot let that happen. We cannot let that man separate us."
Blistan also took aim at Christie's "New Jersey Comeback."
She says, "It is in fact nothing more than a fabrication of an over-active imagination and it is a disgrace."
At the same press event, U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg took a swipe at Christie Too.
He said, "I say if the Governor wants to fire a public worker, he ought to start by firing himself."
It bears noting that Christie has always spoken highly of teachers, if not their union. He has never said the "New Jersey Comeback" is completed, rather he says it has just begun.
The Governor also says public worker pension and health benefits reform was necessary to save the systems from collapse and it's important to remember that those reforms would not have been possible without the help of State Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, both of whom are Democrats.