This week, Chris Christie made a rare stop in New Jersey to give a his spin on the state of our state. His speech was as out of touch as you might expect of a man who opted out of NJ for 261 days in 2015. The truth is that thanks to our absentee Governor — and the politicians in Trenton who enable him — New Jersey has lost its footing while our neighbors are gaining jobs, raising wages and getting working families back on their feet.
Together we can change that. County by county and municipality by municipality, progressives are organizing, building power and planting the seeds for a genuine political revolution in the Garden State. We won’t always win, but each fight brings us a little closer to our vision: a New Jersey that works for everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected.
Let’s be clear. After six years of Chris Christie, the state of our state is a mess. Christie’s $6 billion in corporate tax breaks — approved by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers — have left us with crumbling roads and bridges, larger class sizes, and an unfunded pension system that threatens the retirements of 1 in 10 New Jerseyans. Workers in 14 other states will see a raise this year, while NJ’s minimum wage workers are stuck with $8.38 an hour. 1.2 million people working in our state still can’t take a paid sick day.
But there’s hope, and you don’t have to take my word for it. Last week, the Atlantic magazine published a major story about our “pugnacious, relentless and progressive” national movement, the Working Families Party. The whole article is worth reading, and has a lot to say about the work we’ve accomplished together in New Jersey. In particular, how Working Families has begun to “bend the Democratic establishment in its direction,” and how our “protests, ethics complaints and calls for Christie’s resignation” have “severely wounded the presidential hopes of a man once thought to be a top 2016 GOP contender.”
We’d like to think there’s some truth to that. Case in point: when Christie gave his speech this week, we were waiting for him with signs saying, “Nice of you to stop by, Governor. Here’s what you missed.” The demonstration earned national coverage, and prompted fact check after fact check of Christie’s spin.
Speaking truth to power is important — and fun — but even more important is laying the foundations for transformational change when Christie is finally gone. 11 NJ cities now guarantee paid sick days. Three New Jersey counties and its two largest cities have endorsed the #Fightfor15. And all across the state we’re electing real progressives who will walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
That’s what real change looks like, and we’ve just gotten started. But if we’re going to take New Jersey back for working families, we need your help.
And if you become a sustainer in January, we’ll send you your choice of NJ Working Families bumper stickers to show your progressive pride across NJ.