EDUCATION

Large Group Protests Christie’s Presidential Announcement

By Brenda Flanagan
Correspondent

About 1,000 protesters turned out at the high school baseball field to tell what they called the truth about Chris Christie.

They came from across New Jersey — most of them teachers in red T-shirts — who remain furious with the governor for not fully funding their pensions. Now they’re angry he’s running for president.

“The governor says he’s telling it like it is. We’re here to tell it like it is! His policies have been disastrous for New Jersey! They would be disastrous for the country!” said Livingston High School teacher Anthony Rosamilia.

Rosamilia says he took particular offense that Christie chose to declare his candidacy at his school — after the governor spent years castigating teachers and cutting education funding.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a teacher, a cop, a fireman, a public worker — it doesn’t matter! If you’re a working person in New Jersey, this governor doesn’t care one bit for you,” he said.

“I’m here because the rest of the country needs to see that he cannot be trusted. He lied. And liars don’t deserve to be our leader,” said protestor John Shanagher, a Bloomfield teacher.

Citizen Action has called for Gov. Chris Christie to resign,” said New Jersey Citizen Action Executive Director Phyllis Salowe-Kaye.

Salowe-Kaye displayed a resignation letter Citizen Action sent to Christie today, urging him to sign because, as a presidential candidate hop-scotching across the country, his priorities have shifted.

“This governor can’t be making decisions that affect our state and our families, based upon what conservative voters want to hear him say in South Carolina or in Iowa. We will not accept a governor who will make his job a part-time job here in New Jersey,” she said.

“I’m here to stand up and speak out for my family and the thousands of others who — despite the governor’s promises — remain homeless since Superstorm Sandy!” said Krista Sperba. An onlooker added, ” Keep your word, Christie!”

Sperba arrived with other Sandy victims who still can’t go home because their houses haven’t been repaired. She’s moved half a dozen times and her kids are suffering. She finds Christie’s presidential declaration offensive.

“He’s on a bid for the White House. They don’t care what color their house is! They just want to go home. He promised he would help, and has done absolutely nothing! It’s been a struggle. We’ve spent everything that we have to live outside of our homes,” Sperba said.

“You all know how dangerous this governor is! Because when he gets inside those town halls, and he leans forward like this and he looks you in the eye, he’s gonna make contact with the voters who haven’t experienced the damage and terror that he has rained upon the state of New Jersey. So brothers and sisters, we’ve got work to do!” said New Jersey Working Families Deborah Cornavaca.

Protesters say they know the governor can’t hear them. But they hope voters in primary states — like New Hampshire — are listening.