Zimmer helms recently formed political arm of pro-vouchers group

Republican allies of Gov. Chris Christie leaned on tax exempt nonprofits to generate support for Christie’s budget measures and for GOP redistricting efforts. 

Reform Jersey Now received the most attention as it generated in excess of $624,000 to battle legislators loath to back the GOP governor.

Now a key gubernatorial ally allies helms an effort to raise political money for the governor’s education agenda, which includes a synthesis of private school vouchers, merit pay for public school teachers and increased numbers of charter schools.

Already chairman of Christie’s New Jersey Privatization Task Force, former U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer also chairs E3 Pac Inc, which in its ELEC report filed at the end of last year set goals to raise $100,000 last year and $100,000 this year.

Long a member of Excellence in Education for Everyone, or E3, Zimmer now serves as chair of the organization’s 501(c)4 and a separate political action committee (PAC).  

He emphasized the bipartisan nature of the group, which counts Newark Mayor Cory Booker and the Rev. Pastor Reginald Jackson of Orange among its most vigorus public boosters.

“It’s going to raise money for political advocacy,” said Zimmer. “E3 had a 501(c)3, but 3s are limited,” said Zimmer. 

On Thursday, as state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Elizabeth) prepares to advance his Opportunity Scholarship Act, E3 intends to bus in allies for the legislative session.  The governor plans to screen the urban education drama “Waiting for Superman” at the state museum tomorrow at 11:30 am.  A panel discussion follows at 1 pm. 

As for Republican Zimmer’s chairmanship of E3,”I have no problem with that,” said the Rev. Jackson, a Democrat. “E3 is seeking choice for low-income parents and it ought to be bipartisan. E3 is made up of Republicans and Democrats. I fully support the governor’s efforts to reform charter schools and public schools. This speaks well of the governor that most of those who benefit from his efforts are from a community that did not support him in the last election.

“It is my hope that my party will be part of this effort,” Jackson added. “I commend Senator Lesniak for his work on the Opportunity Scholarship Act.”

Zimmer helms recently formed political arm of pro-vouchers group