POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

New NJ Working Families state director talks progressive agenda

BY Joanna Gagis, Producer/Correspondent |

New Jersey Working Families has named Sue Altman to serve as its new state director.

She steps into the role vacated by Analilia Mejia, who recently took the role of national political director for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign.

Altman says her work as a teacher first made her aware of inequities in the state.

“We saw increasing standardization and it made me realize that inequity was now always an issue in New Jersey but was now carrying over into the way we were treating children, into the pedagogies we were providing for kids,” she said.

While the Murphy administration has passed key progressive agenda items of $15 minimum wage, automatic voter registration and paid sick leave, Altman has strong criticisms of the state’s Democratic party and says she supports that Working Families is willing to hold both parties accountable.

“It’s really held the progressive space in New Jersey in the way frankly the Democratic Party hasn’t, and that’s a really, really important job and I take that with a great deal of seriousness,” Altman said.

Prior to joining Working Families, Altman served as a board member of South Jersey Women for Progressive Change. As a Camden resident and activist, she has been a vocal critic of how the Economic Development Authority’s tax incentive program has played out in the city.

“What we saw with this EDA scandal which is unfolding is corporate interests and party bosses using state taxpayer money to further their own profitable interests,” said Altman. “The way we’ve given corporate tax breaks to wealthy companies and wealthy CEOs, I think those issues right there get at the structure and the heart of what’s wrong with New Jersey and the opportunity to fix it.”