Trying to obliterate the enduring iconography of himself as someone too closely aligned with Gov. Chris Christie, state Senate President Steve Sweeney, (D-3), West Deptford, lashed out at the GOP governor today in a statement as Christie tried to rev up his education reform message.
“It is great that the governor is going around visiting all the classrooms and students that he decided to grossly underfund for the last two years,” said Sweeney.
A staunch backer of the millionaire’s tax, which Christie vetoed over Sweeney’s objections, the Senate president worked the issue in again on Christie.
“Maybe next he will pay a visit to each of the 16,000 millionaires in New Jersey he enriched at the expense of our children’s education and future,” Sweeney tweaked.
Then he went for the jugular, citing jobs as the issue right now.
“There is no denying the importance of education. But at this time, the governor also needs to simultaneously focus on our state’s economy. There is simply no reason the governor can’t do both. After all, if he can be on Meet the Press, visit the Koch Brothers, and, we assume, watch a Mets’ game, all in the same day, he can focus on two important issues at once. The hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans who are unemployed need this governor’s attention.
“The governor should be working with us to create jobs and fuel economic growth. To date, his only action on the economy in 18 months as governor has been vetoing job creation measures. And since his vetoes, things have only gotten worse. Really, the only economic stimulus this governor has created is for the state’s 16,000 millionaires…and he has done it twice for them.
Sweeney’s identification of jobs and not education as the prime issue echoed local Newarkers’ complaints about Christie’s focus. State Sen. Ronald Rice, (D-28), Newark, told PolitickerNJ.com earlier today that Christie needs to focus on jobs, not charter schools.
“Right now, our unemployment rate is above the national average, businesses are continuing to lay off workers and too many men and women can’t find jobs. In my world, when something needs to get done, we roll up our sleeves and make it happen,” Sweeney said. “Let’s go governor.”
After championing public pensions and benefits reform with the governor, Sweeney’s rebuilding mode started during the budget process with an obscenity laden tirade transcribed by the Star-Ledger.
State public workers advocates rejoiced later this summer when, as punishment for his work on pensions, the AFL-CIO and NJEA refused to endorse Sweeney.