Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth. – Katherine Mansfield
Risk is defined as exposing someone or something to danger. Risk, apparently, is not easy for politicians. For example, under threat of their political career, Senators failed to pass a bill to extend background checks to Internet, private and gun show sales. With threat from the NRA and people within their own party, Senators withered from taking the “risky” political vote to pass it over the 60 super vote threshold, even though 91% of Americans according to Gallup would themselves vote for the Senate bill. The threat of doing what is right and possibly losing their job in the Senate was just too risky for them.
Remember back to 2011 with debate on the Pension and Benefits Bill which has since hurt members across the state. Controlled by power brokers, some Democrats joined forces with all the Republicans in the Legislature to pass the bill. NJEA and other like minded organizations rallied to kill this bill; thousands took to the streets. Ultimately it passed through the Legislature, even though it was opposed by the majority of Democrats, and was signed into law by the Governor. Members are now paying for a larger portion of their health care. Thus taking rightfully collectively bargained and earned benefits away from workers.
Barbara Buono broke with Senate President Sweeney, who supported and collaborated with the Governor on the bill. At the time, she served as the Senate Majority Leader, the first woman to do so. By voting with her conscious, Barbara took a risk and she paid a price politically. By standing up to the Senate President, she was stripped of her leadership position.
Senator Buono took a stand with every hard working public employee and their families against the Pension and Benefits Bill in 2011. By taking that political risk and and opposing the power brokers, she fought for all of us against the onerous effects of the bill and put her position at risk. That’s why I am voting for Barbara Buono, when it really mattered she was there for us. Now it’s time for us to be there for her.
-With inspiration thanks to David Bishop, RTEA President