Tag Archives: Teachers’ union

Chris Christie to teachers union: You deserve a punch in the face

Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, speaks to a group sponsored by Americans for Peace Prosperity and Security, Wednesday, July 29, 2015, in Manchester,NH (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, speaks to a group sponsored by Americans for Peace Prosperity and Security, Wednesday, July 29, 2015, in Manchester,NH (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, struggling to gain traction in a crowded 2016 GOP presidential field, said Sunday that a national teachers union deserves a “punch in the face” and called it the “single most destructive force in public education.” Christie said the union cares only about higher wages and benefits and not about children.

Christie, who has long made teachers unions a favorite foil, made the comments on CNN’s “State of the Union” in response to host Jake Tapper, who noted that Christie has said that he confronts bullies by punching them in the face. “At the national level, who deserves a punch in the face?” Tapper asked.

Without missing a beat, Christie said: “Oh the national teachers union, who has already endorsed Hillary Clinton 16, 17 months before the election.”

Christie was referring to the American Federation of Teachers, the second-largest teachers union, which became the first national labor union to make an endorsement in the 2016 race when it gave its backing to Clinton on July 11. The largest union, the National Education Association, has not yet made an endorsement.

Christie said the AFT was “not for education for our children. They’re for greater membership, greater benefits, greater pay for their members. And they are the single most destructive force in public education in America. I have been saying that since 2009. I have got the scars to show it. But I’m never going to stop saying it, because they never change their stripes.”

Randi Weingarten, the AFT president and a close Clinton ally, responded with a statement Monday.

“Chris Christie has issues – from reneging on his promise to fix pensions to his state’s fiscal standing facing near junk bond status,” Weingarten said. “But the biggest issue is he’s a bully and has anger management problems. That he would threaten to punch teachers in the face —mostly women seeking to help children meet their potential and achieve their dreams — promotes a culture of violence and underscores why he lacks the temperament and emotional skills to be president, or serve in any leadership capacity. It’s a sad day in the life of our nation to see a candidate threaten violence to gain political favor.”

Christie has long tangled with public employee unions but has a particularly fraught relationship with teachers unions, frequently railing against their pensions and health care benefits. He has called the unions “political thugs,” and he has had several public confrontations with individual teachers, captured on video and replayed on YouTube or cell phone images shared widely on social media .

In 2013, after Christie delivered a speech at a VFW hall during his campaign for re-election to a second term as governor, middle school teacher Melissa Tomlinson asked Christie, “Why are you portraying our schools as failure factories?” He wagged a finger at her and said: “What do you want? I’m tired of you people,” according to Tomlinson.

Recent polls put Christie toward the bottom of the Republican field in the 2016 presidential contest, with about 3 percent of likely GOP voters in his corner.

>>> Washington Post 

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Teachers’ union, Exelon top spenders on lobbying in Annapolis

dsc_0901The Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) HQ pictured above in Annapolis Maryland.

Political cynics are fond of urging taxpayers to hold onto their wallets when the General Assembly is in session. But that doesn’t apply to businesses, industries and others with something to win or lose in Annapolis.

The Maryland State Education Association, which was fighting deep school funding cuts and a major expansion of charter schools, spent more on lobbying state lawmakers this year than any other association, business or group, according to a rundown recently posted by the Maryland State Ethics Commission.

The teacher’s union reported spending $446,000 from Nov. 1 through April 30, 2015 in what appears to be bribing of sorts to Maryland lawmakers in order to get a favorable outcome in advancing corruption within the schools.

The second-biggest spender on lobbying was Exelon Corp., the Chicago-based energy company, which paid $369,000 to have its interests represented in Annapolis.

Exelon, which absorbed Baltimore-based Constellation Energy Group four years ago, had a range of bills it wished to influence. It also was seeking state regulators’ approval to merge with the Washington-based energy provider Pepco, a measure before the Public Service Commission. The commission OK’d the deal in May.

Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., a subsidiary of Exelon that delivers power and natural gas to hundreds of thousands of customers in Central Maryland, also reported spending $264,000. The two companies’ combined output of $633,000 dwarfed the teachers’ lobbying payout.

Exelon wasn’t the only business with more than one entity lobbying: Verizon Communications reported spending $240,000, while Verizon Maryland chipped in $88,000, according to the ethics listing.

Businesses and business groups, which may see their profits impacted by legislation, traditionally put a lot into lobbying. Those involved with the lucrative health care, energy and communications industries, which also are regulated by the state, tend to be among the biggest spenders.

No. 8 on the list of top lobbying spenders, though, was one with a mix of spiritual and economic interests — the Maryland Catholic Conference, which spent $271,000. Its legislative agenda included killing a bill that would have authorized assisted suicide, which didn’t pass. It also sought a tax credit to help private schools, which also failed.

The ethics commission also lists the lobbyists who benefited the most by all that largesse. The top earner this year was Gerard Evans, who raked in $1.8 million. Second-highest paid was Timothy Perry, who got $1.15 million. Rounding out the top five were three others earning more than $900,000 – Joel Rozner, former Montgomery County state Sen. Robert Garagiola and Lisa Harris Jones.

To review the listing of employers that spent more than $50,000 on lobbying and to see what lobbyists made, go to ethics.maryland.gov.

via Baltimore sun

Top 10

The top 10 businesses, industry groups and other entities that spent the most on lobbying in Annapolis during a four-month period encompassing the 2015 session of the General Assembly.

1)   $446,242 Maryland State Education Association

2)   $368,673 Exelon Corp.

3)   $345,719 Maryland Hospital Association

4)   $329,432 CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield

5)   $310,398 MedChi, the Maryland state medical society

6)   $290,203 Maryland Bankers Association

7)   $284,549 Maryland Retailers Association

8)   $271,270 Maryland Catholic Conference, LLC

9)   $270,045 Johns Hopkins Institutions

10) $263,641 Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.