Low turnout is a major risk for LD 13 incumbents

LD 13:Aberdeen, Atlantic Highlands, Fair Haven, Hazlet, Highlands, Holmdel, Keansburg, Keyport, Little Silver, Marlboro, Middletown, Monmouth Beach, Oceanport, Rumson, Sea Bright, Union Beach

LD 13:Aberdeen, Atlantic Highlands, Fair Haven, Hazlet, Highlands, Holmdel, Keansburg, Keyport, Little Silver, Marlboro, Middletown, Monmouth Beach, Oceanport, Rumson, Sea Bright, Union Beach

The idea that State Senator Joe Kyrillos and Assembly Members Amy Handlin and Declan O’Scanlon could be defeated by their Tea Party challengers, Leigh-Ann Bellew for Senate and Edna Walsh and Stephen Boracchia for Assembly, in the June 4 primary is unthinkable, even laughable, to many Monmouth County Republicans.

But recent history and a look at the numbers indicate that an upset with statewide consequences could very well be in the making if the challenge is not taken seriously.

With only nominal competition in the governor’s race, voter turnout in the Republican primary on June 4 is likely to be very low.   Therein lies the danger for the incumbents. Even “good Republicans” rarely vote in primaries.  Even fewer if there is no perceived competition.

There are 34,216 registered Republicans in the 13th district. In the 2011 primary, the last time the legislature was on the ballot, only 2,274 Republicans voted.   The challengers know that.

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Posted: April 15th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2013 Election, Amy Handlin, Assembly Republicans, Bayshore Tea Party Group, Declan O'Scanlon, Diane Gooch, Joe Kyrillos, LD 13, Leigh-Ann Bellew, Monmouth County, Monmouth GOP, Primary Election, Serena DiMaso, Shaun Golden, Tom Arnone | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Anna Little, David Corsi won’t be Tea Party candidates in GOP Primary

Photo credit: genehoyas.com

Photo credit: genehoyas.com

Since they formed in 2009, the Bayshore Tea Party Group has supported three campaigns that have defeated the Monmouth County Republican Organization in primaries.

Former Highlands Mayor Anna Little won the 6th Congressional District nomination twice.  In 2010 Little defeated the MCRO’s endorsed candidate Diane Gooch.  In 2012 Little defeated newcomer Ernesto Cullari.  Cullari had won the Monmouth Republican organization’s endorsement. Little won the Middlesex County Republican Organization’s endorsement and won the primary handily in both counties.  Little went on to lose twice to incumbent Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone.

Oceanport real estate executive David Corsi beat Princeton venture capitalist Scott Sipprelle in Monmouth County during the 2010 primary for the 12 Congressional District nomination.  Sipprelle prevailed on the strength of his support in the Middlesex and Mercer portions of the district.  Sipprelle lost to incumbent Democratic Congressman Rush Holt.

Both Little and Corsi were supported by BTPG’s grassroots activists.

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Posted: March 21st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Anna Little, Barbara Gonzalez, Bayshore Tea Party Group, Diane Gooch, Ernesto Cullari, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Republican Committee, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

CD-6 Primary: It will all come down to turnout

On the day Anna Little won the endorsement of the Middlesex County GOP, she became the favorite to win the 6th congressional district nomination.  Despite that all of the candidates, Democrat and Republican are from Monmouth County, the new 6th is a Middlesex County district. 

With no presidential contest on the top of the ballot and the U.S. Senate race uncompetitive, turnout is likely to be very low.  13,000 voters decided the 2010 primary race between Little and Monmouth County GOP Vice Chair Diane Gooch by less than 90 votes.  This time out, I’ll be surprised if there are more than 6000 votes.

Based on name recognition, Little should be considered the favorite.  She scored an upset in the last primary. She was the general election candidate in 2010 and she was a countywide candidate for Freeholder in 2006.

Coming into the race, Ernesto Cullari, the Monmouth County GOP endorsed candidate was a complete unknown, except for readers of the triCityNews where he was the token conservative columnist.   The nomination in both Middlesex and Monmouth Counties was his for the taking because no one else wanted it.  Little was running for the U.S. Senate nomination against Joe Kyrillos.

Little has been once again running against the Republican establishment who turned her away for the congressional nomination twice and never wanted her as freeholder candidate.  She won the office of Freeholder by one vote at a raucous January 2006 convention and was denied the nomination for reelection in 2007.

But it was during a meeting with Kyrillos in early March, before the Monmouth County screening/candidate selection and after Cullari announced his candidacy, that Little give up her Senate bid and decided to make another run for Congress.   Kyrillos did not want a primary challenge from the pesky Little.  Little did not want her career to end with a primary loss to Kyrillos.   The independent minded elected officials and municipal chairs of the Monmouth GOP were not going along with the deal.  They knew Little was no more of a threat to Kyrillos than Badar Qarmout.

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Posted: June 4th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: 2012 Congressional Races, Anna Little, Diane Gooch, Frank Pallone, Joe Kyrillos, Middlesex County Republicans, Monmouth County Republican Committee, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Gooch Steps Down As Two River Times Publisher

Diane Gooch has stepped down as publisher of the Two River Times in order to focus her efforts on her philanthropic and political activities, according to an article in the weekly newspaper that she owns with her husband Mickey.

“Serving the community is my passion,” said Gooch. “Doing so by publishing The Two River Times™ has been an honor, a pleasure, and a learning experience. I am proud of the journalism we created since I took over as publisher. Helping serve our loyal readers and advertisers has enabled me to grow intimately familiar with the concerns of our neighbors and small business owners. I look forward to continuing to fight for our beautiful corner of New Jersey through my philanthropy and advocacy work.”

The Gooches have hired Ellen McCarthy of Fair Haven to shepherd the newspaper they purchased from Geraldo Rivera in 2004.

McCarthy’s journalism career dates back to 1987 and includes positions with The Asbury Park Press and The Star Ledger.

Posted: June 18th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Diane Gooch, Two River Times | Tags: , , , | 17 Comments »

Gooch would challenge Pallone or Holt

Strong New Jersey Chairwoman Diane Gooch told NJ.com’s Auditor that she’d be an enthusiastic candidate for congress against either Frank Pallone or Rush Holt:

A scandal — and an opportunity

Diane Gooch may be looking to transform U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner’s shame into her political gain.

Gooch, who wanted to take on U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th Dist.) last year but lost the GOP primary to tea party favorite Anna Little, last week launched a “nationwide internet campaign” with the website WeinerMustResign.com. It is paid for by a nonprofit political organization that Gooch set up last summer.

In addition to the website, Gooch has been interviewed on a dozen radio shows and denounced Weiner (D-N.Y.), who is under fire for sending lewd photos of himself to women over the internet. She also plans to air radio ads on WABC, which features a stable of conservative talk show hosts.

So why does a wealthy Rumson Republican care so much about a Manhattan
congressman’s sex scandal?

“I care because he’s a congressman, and I think all congressmen should have integrity and common sense,” said Gooch, publisher of the Two River Times in Red Bank.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the effort builds Gooch’s name ID in case she wants to run again for a House seat. Visitors to the political committee’s website are hit immediately with a picture of Gooch, and a 451-word bio of her is just one click away. The committee, Strong New Jersey, raised $239,000 in 2010 — $99,000 from Gooch and $140,000 from her husband, Mickey.

Gooch said she hasn’t decided whether she’ll run because New Jersey’s congressional districts have yet to be redrawn.

“If they hand me a great district and I think I can beat (Democratic U.S. Reps.) Frank Pallone or (Rush) Holt, you better believe I’ll be there,” she told The Auditor.

Posted: June 12th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Diane Gooch, Frank Pallone, Rush Holt | Tags: , , | 5 Comments »

Could Pallone Be A Redistricting Target?

By Art Gallagher

The Star Ledger’s Auditor  is raising the question. 

The members of the Redistricting Commission must be appointed by June 15.   The Auditor says he/she was told that Democratic State Chairman John Wisniewski plans to void the appointment of Belmar resident Maggie Moran to the commission.  Moran, former Governor Corzine’s deputy chief of staff and campaign manager, was appointed to the commission by former Chairman Joe Cryan, at Pallone’s urging, as one of Cryan’s last acts before turning the chairmanship over to Wisniewski.

Moran, who is the wife of Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty, is supposed to be Pallone’s eyes and ears on the commission.   Her removal would be a blow to Pallone, according to The Auditor, this year in particular as New Jersey is losing a congressional district.  One incumbent congressman will lose his job regardless of the electoral outcome.  The Auditor implies that Democratic boss George Norcross and Republican Governor Chris Christie would like that incumbent to be Pallone.

How would that work?

220px-nj_109th_congressional_districts_shaded_by_partyPallone’s 6th district borders the 4th, 7th, 12th and 13th districts.  He resides in Long Branch which is in the south east coastal part of the district.

While it is entirely possible in New Jersey that a gerrymandered district that includes Long Branch of Monmouth County could be combined with Clinton Township in Hunterdon County, home of 7th district Republican Congressman Leonard Lance or West New York, Hudson County, home of 13th district Democratic Congressman Albio Sires, neither scenario is likely.

Combining Pallone’s 6th with Rush Holt’s 12th would make sense based on geography as the 12th shares the largest border with the 6th.  Even though neither Pallone or Holt is particularly well liked by Democratic leaders in New Jersey or Washington, it is unlikely that the Democrats would surrender a district without a fight. 

Which would leave a match up between New Jersey’s two most senior congressmen, Pallone who has been in Congress since 1988 and 4th district Congressman Republican Chris Smith who has served since 1981.  While it would be unusual that seniority be discarded as an incumbent protection consideration during a redistricting battle, an argument could be made along the lines of “continuity of representation.”  Pallone first went to Congress as the representative of the 3rd district after the death of Congressman James Howard.  Much of the pre-1992 3rd district is now part of the 4th.

Even with his $4 million war chest, it is hard to imagine Pallone beating Smith in a combined district that includes southeast Monmouth and portions of Republican Ocean and Burlington counties.  Smith would dominate in his Mercer home turf.

Pallone vs. Smith would be a great race.  It probably won’t happen.  I’ll explain why at the end of this piece.  But first let’s have some fun speculating about the fallout of such a district.

If Long Branch and Pallone are moved south into a district combined with portions of Smith’s (of Hamilton in Mercer County) 4th district,  it would make sense that the Northern Monmouth portions of the present 6th district would be folded into the Rush Holt’s 12th district.  

That would create an interesting race for the GOP nomination in the 12th.  Diane Gooch, Mike Halfacre, Anna Little, and Scott Sipprelle could all be contenders for that nomination.

Little beat Gooch for the 6th district nomination primary by 83 votes before losing to Pallone by 11% in the 2010 general election.  She declared that a loss of only 11% was a victory and launched her 2012 race against Pallone in the weirdest election night concession speech ever.   Since election night 2010 Little has alienated herself from both her local Tea Party and establishment GOP supporters.  She’s chomping at the bit for a rematch with both Gooch and Pallone, but she’s referred to as a “coo coo bird” by former supporters.  A Pallone-Smith match up would wreck havoc on her delusions.   Only Little, her family and Larry Cirignano, her escort/handler/manager/driver/tenant, believe Anna Little will ever be nominated for congress again.

Halfacre, the Mayor of Fair Haven, has been kicking himself for bowing out of the race for the 12th district nomination since Tea Party candidate David Corsi beat Sipprelle in Monmouth County in the 2010 primary.  Sipprelle won the nomination by virtue of his margin of victory in Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset and Hunterdon before losing to Holt by 7% in the general. 

Halfacre was the Tea Party favorite during his contentious race against Sipprelle for the party lines in 2010. Sipprelle won all the county party lines and Halfacre correctly concluded that a primary against Sipprelle without at least the Monmouth or Middlesex lines was not winnable.  Corsi’s Monmouth victory naturally lead to “what ifs?”  Little’s narrow victory over Gooch created additional “what ifs?”

But the self funding Sipprelle did not spend any money to defeat Corsi.   Gooch took victory over Little for granted in the primary.   Given how contentious the Sipprelle-Halfacre county conventions/screenings were, it is likely that a primary between to two would have been bloody and expensive.  Halfacre couldn’t have matched Sipprelle’s money.

Halfacre would have a heavy lift to regain his Tea Party support.  If either Gooch or Sipprelle seek the nomination, he would have a heavier lift to raise the money necessary to compete.  After Little’s victory in the 2010 primary, it will be a long time before any candidate or county party organization takes a Tea Party challenge for granted.  Halfacre’s best hope for a nomination against Holt is for both Gooch and Sipprelle to conclude that 2012, a presidential year with Obama leading the ticket, is not the year to take on Holt.   

Both Gooch and Sipprelle are staying in front of the party faithful.  Gooch with Strong New Jersey and Sipprelle with the Lincoln Club of New Jersey, organizations each has founded since losing their respective races.  Gooch has been open about wanting to run for congress again, depending on how the districts are drawn.  Sipprelle has been coy about a future candidacy.

A Gooch-Sipprelle primary defies imagination.  Given the money both could spend on such a race, a deal would likely be brokered by the state and county party chairmen before it would occur.  But if ego got the better of either of them, it would be quite a race.   A more sensible sceanario would be for one of the millionaires to take on U.S . Senator Robert Menendez while the other takes on Holt.  

So while redistricting Pallone and Smith into the same district could make the Republican nomination contest in the Holt’s district more interesting, a Pallone-Smith battle is unlikely even should a district be drawn that way.  Should such a district be drawn look for Pallone to retire from the House and use his hefty war chest as a down payment for a statewide race for Governor in 2013.

Pallone’s $4 million war chest would clear the field of Democratic candidates for Governor, unless Chris Christie isn’t a candidate or has anemic poll numbers, neither of which is likely.  Christie would love to defeat Pallone, which he would but it would probably be a close race.  Pallone would then run for U.S. Senate in 2014, assuming Frank Lautenberg finally retires.

Posted: June 5th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Anna Little, Chris Christie, Chris Smith, Diane Gooch, Frank Pallone, Lincoln Club, Mike Halfacre, Pallone, Redistricting, Robert Menendez, Rush Holt, Scott Sipprelle, Strong New Jersey, Tea Party | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Abbott Ruling Prolongs The Insanity

When the New Jersey Supreme Court recently ruled that the state must increase funding to 31 school districts in the amount of $500 million, it was both a gross display of judicial activism and worse, it perpetuated a bad public policy.

The Governor and Legislature, not the courts, should be deciding spending priorities, and while it is tempting to oppose this ruling on that fact alone, it is not the ruling’s most fatal flaw. That is why you see the Governor avoiding a confrontation with the legitimacy of the court’s action. Turning this into a battle over “separation of powers” will divert too much attention from the main event, which is how to change the state’s arcane and ineffective school funding formula to maximize the benefit to our students. Abbott districts were created by a court ruling in 1985 to mitigate the inequity in school funding between urban districts with higher poverty and suburban districts with more wealth. Subsequent court rulings and governmental actions have followed, all in an effort to equalize funding discrepancies. Since wealthier districts were able to benefit from significant stronger property tax revenue base, the Abbotts needed the state to compensate for their lack of funding with more education aid. In the mid-90s, attempts to equalize the districts included things like capping how much wealthier districts can spend on education and changing the spending ratio based on student population. Eventually, equalization in spending was achieved by the latter part of the decade. However, the inertia behind increasing funding to the Abbotts and limiting spending by wealthier districts became uncontrollable.

A tectonic shift occurred in the completely opposite direction. The more urban districts began spending more than the suburban districts at a growing and alarming rate.

For example, the average per child expenditure on education in New Jersey is roughly $12,000. Looking at Monmouth County, a wealthier school like Rumson spends roughly the average of $13,188. In Asbury Park, an Abbott district, it is $24,428.

We don’t ever think of public policy as having an expiration date, but it seems as if our funding formula is far past its optimal effectiveness. Included in that should be the notion that money solves the problem when it comes to education. This is evidenced by the continually poor performance of the Abbott school districts, despite sharp increases in education spending and a virtual monopoly of state education aid. That is why the most recent ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court is so flawed. It props up a system that not only fails the state’s taxpayers, but more importantly our public school students. Real education reform has to be student-centered and get greater accountability for the millions of dollars invested in our schools.

Unfortunately, it seems the New Jersey Supreme Court has come down on the side of those who believe foolishly that we can just throw more money to ‘at risk’ districts to get results. In short, this court action is best defined by Albert Einstein’s description of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Posted: June 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Abbott Ruling, Diane Gooch, Education | Tags: , | 3 Comments »

Diane Gooch Statement on Usama Bin Laden’s Death

“The world’s most notorious terrorist died as he lived his life; as a coward.  Our brave soldiers and intelligence officers deserve our eternal gratitude for their sacrifice and devotion to their mission of protecting America from those who wish to destroy us.  I thank Presidents Bush and Obama for pursuing justice to its conclusion and hope that this achievement will reunite Americans behind the global War on terror that our incredible military and intelligence personnel fight for our protection every day.  My family has worked to move beyond the tragedy that Bin Laden brought to us on September 11th, 2001.  He took my brother and countless friends that day, and it is on their behalf that I feel a measure of satisfaction in Bin Laden’s demise.”

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Bin Laden, Diane Gooch | Tags: , | 10 Comments »

A Drop Of Water In A Bucket Of Hope: My Trip To The South Sudan

gooch-sudanBy Diane Gooch

The elegant lobby of the Jefferson Hotel in Washington D.C. is about as far from the South Sudan as you can get, literally and figuratively. Yet this is exactly where my journey to one of the world’s poorest and newest countries began.    

Having been in Washington this past January to celebrate the success of fellow Republicans in the 2010 elections, it was actually my encounter with liberal political commentator Ellen Ratner at The Jefferson that would shortly lead to one of the most meaningful experiences of my life.  After being introduced by a mutual friend, we sat for hours talking about a range of issues, most of which we naturally disagreed on.  Our opinions intersected when it came to delivering humanitarian aide to the South Sudan, which was on the verge of voting for its independence from the rest of Africa’s largest country later in the month. 

This independence came at great expense, after more than two decades of civil war led to the slaughter of millions and the enslavement of hundreds of thousands of Christian and traditionalist South Sudanese by the ruling Arab-Muslims in the North. The fighting was described to me as so intense and brutal, that even the animals fled the country. The war also institutionalized poverty to such tragic proportion that according to a recent World Bank report, approximately 85 percent of the people there live under a poverty line drawn at slightly more than $1 a day.

The referendum on secession prevailed by a 99 percent margin marking a significant political victory for the South Sudan and its international supporters, The United States most prominent among them. It was now time to address the human rights crisis, especially the unfinished business of returning an estimated 50,000 slaves back from the North.

Ellen has spent years working with the organization Christian Solidarity International (CSI), which has focused on the South Sudan well before the rest of the world took interest.  Through their efforts, more than 100,000 slaves have been liberated. Now, with a new nation secured, repatriation to their proper homeland has begun. 

I experienced two slave liberations on my trip with Ellen and CSI. Our delegation included several leaders in business and philanthropy, film-makers, a rabbi, a musician, a registered nurse and political commentators from the Democratic and Republican parties. 

Together, we witnessed the most deplorable human living conditions and at the same time the most uplifting testimony to hope and the human spirit. What the South Sudanese lacked in material comforts, they compensated for with kindness, openness and affection. We didn’t speak the same language, so our contact was often limited to a handshake, hug or understanding glance. But their embrace of us was real, and with hardly a word exchanged, they knew we were there to help.  

We visited a village that housed a polio clinic. We watched ladies without legs craft crosses that CSI would then sell to raise money to rebuild a school that burned down. I saw children who could not have been older than six years of age caring for infants and toddlers from the village.  Their sense of community and reliance on each other for support was awe-inspiring. The simplest act of recognition from our group elicited squeals of delight from the kids, especially when we would take their picture and show them the digital image.

Days felt as if they had no end, and every person and place began to blend together. Everyone we met needed the same basic things: clean water, proper nutrition, access to health care, etc. But there seemed to be this unexplainable abundance of hope everywhere we went. When we talked to villagers and slaves alike, all were so proud to have their own country and eager to restart their new lives.  

The emotional and spiritual climax came when we attended our first slave liberation. Hundreds of freed slaves walked for weeks in the dark of night and deep into the brush to avoid recapture. This has been a regular occurrence for two decades thanks to CSI, and it was clear that they had this process down.

What made this liberation ceremony unique was that Ellen had arranged for Rabbi Joseph Polak, of Boston University’s Hillel House, to celebrate the Passover story with the slaves. Having grown up on Long Island, I enjoyed the privilege of attending many seders with friends, but never did it occur to me that people in this century would endure a similar struggle.

Until the United States involved itself with the Sudan issue in 2005, the entire world seemed content to allow the first genocide of our century to remain unconfronted. It is impossible to fathom that slavery can continue to exist in the modern world.   

As I sit to write this column, weeks after our trip, I find it hard to transport myself back. Human nature helps us build walls to cope with what we can’t handle or understand, and my defense mechanism has kicked into to high gear.  I think about the slaves still in captivity and the kids we saw who had illnesses that will never be addressed.  “Will they live until their next birthday?” I would ask.  “Probably not” the region’s only doctor casually replied. I wonder if our being there really made a difference, or was it just a little drop of water in an ocean? 

Then I think of a boy named Kier. He was freed last year and now joins CSI at the liberations to reassure the slaves that they are safe.  His mother is still in captivity, and before his own release, his slave-master blinded him in both eyes.  Ellen has arranged for him to receive potentially life changing eye surgery in the United States, but he will need to be approved for a health visa first. 

Ellen was telling me the story when I suggested that I speak with Congressman Chris Smith who represents the Fourth Congressional District here in New Jersey, and is a good friend.  A true humanitarian, he serves as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa. My liberal friend turned to me and said, “Diane, he is exactly the one we need to help Kier.” 

I still think of our being there as representing only a little drop of water in the effort to help the people of Southern Sudan, but instead of being a drop into the ocean, I like to think of it as being one small drop into a great bucket of hope.

Posted: April 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Diane Gooch | Tags: , | 7 Comments »

Standing Up To The Public Employee Union Bullies

If politics were a schoolyard fight, the most notorious bullies would be the leaders of the influential public sector unions. Their weapon of choice: the power to collectively bargain on behalf of their members, with absolutely no consideration for the taxpayers who actually pay the bills. The expedient alliance between the union leadership and politicians of both parties has built and enabled a system that has always been unfair, but today is unsustainable. Taxpayers have been beaten up for too long, with little to no help from the elected leaders whose job it is to protect the money used to finance government functions and services.

At the end of President Obama’s first year in office, the White House released a visitor’s log that identified a prominent union leader as its most frequent visitor. Andrew Stern, the president of the Services Employee Union International (SEIU) represented one of the country’s largest public employee unions. After his organization spent nearly $28 million to elect Barack Obama president in 2008, it was clear he would have a prominent voice inside the White House at a critical time.

Stern’s 22 listed visits came as the President was considering an auto bail-out that paid for the bad deals car companies made with the unions, the stimulus package that included payments to states to fulfill their obligations to public employees and a health care overhaul that ultimately exempted the unions’ “Cadillac health insurance plans” from the same mandates and scrutiny that every other American was subjected to.

In fact, of the over 200 entities that received temporary waivers from provisions in the new healthcare law, 45 were granted to union organizations. It is no wonder that the SEIU spent $44 million in the midterm elections in 2010, exclusively on behalf of congressional Democrats. Including spending by two other labor behemoths, the AFL-CIO and the American Federation of State Counties and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), big labor spent nearly $150 million dollars to preserve the Democrats majority in Congress. The taxpayers and an overwhelming majority of the American people had a different idea. With the results of the 2010 elections came a realization that the American people understood the challenges facing our states and nation better than most of the politicians and special interests that have dominated the political discourse for far too long. Newly elected reform minded governors, such as Scott Walker in Wisconsin and John Kasich in Ohio, also benefited from the example of a fellow reformer elected a full year ahead of them, and who had made a decade’s worth of progress in addressing his own state’s challenges; Chris Christie. 

These leaders are doing their part to change the way their states do business and are making the tough choices that can come with a significant political risk. The unions are doing their job fighting them every step of the way, attempting to use the bullying tactics and threats that have worked for them for so many decades. For example, the New Jersey Education Association collected roughly $100 million of dues from about 200,000 members last year. How are they spending this money? In a $300,000 per week radio campaign encouraging higher taxes instead of budget cuts. Luckily, the old rhetoric of unions is lost amid the greater noise coming from the taxpayer revolt. It’s that noise that has to continue and convert into a sustained campaign among the taxpayers to counter the voices of a very vocal, and frankly better organized, minority of union interests who have never been faced with the sort of political opposition we are seeing today. When we find political leaders with the courage to do what is right, we have an obligation to back them up, not just stand on the sideline watching them fight the fight for us. We all learn in school that the only way to discourage a bully is to stand up to him. We’ve all seen that Chris Christie has the will and the backbone to endure $300,000 a week of name-calling and taunts from the teachers unions. If we see the same from like-minded reformers in Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere, and “we the people” stand with them, we will see the fundamental change we voted for in November, become a reality. If we stand by and allow these leaders to get overwhelmed by an opposition who believes that union workers should remain a privileged class, exempt from sharing the pain of a nation suffering a genuine crisis, than we would have no one to blame for our high taxes and dysfunctional government that ourselves.

Posted: February 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Diane Gooch, Public Employee Unions | Tags: , | 12 Comments »