Tag Archive: Retirement

Rush Holt Will Not Run for Re-Election

Rush Holt on Valentines Day 2014As a Rush Holt campaign staff alum, this breaks my heart. That is, unless it will be replaced with information that he is not in fact leaving public life, and only leaving the U.S. House of Representatives.

This was sent to constituents and supporters a few minutes ago:

Today I am announcing that I will not seek re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives.

It has been and remains an immense honor for me to represent the people of New Jersey’s 12th District.  I first ran for office because I believed that government can be a positive force in our lives to build community and to increase individual opportunity.  I ran for office because I believed that a representative can build confidence in our self-government by providing conscientious service so that every person knows that he or she has a voice and a stake in our country.  After nearly two decades in public life, I believe these things even more strongly.  I have been taught by the wisdom of my constituents and am as hopeful as ever about the strength of our community, constitution, and country.

I started my career as a scientist and teacher.  I have in my life sought many ways to serve, and I will remain involved and will contribute to our community to whom I owe so much.  I am proud of my service in the House and am pleased to point to accomplishments in policy areas and in service to individuals in central New Jersey.  

There is no hidden motive for my decision.  As friends who have worked with me know, I have never thought that the primary purpose of my work was re-election and I have never intended to make service in the House my entire career.  For a variety of reasons, personal and professional, all of them positive and optimistic, the end of this year seems to me to be the right time to step aside and ask the voters to select the next representative.

This is not the time to discuss next steps in my career; that can come later.  This is not a farewell.  My dedicated staff and I remain on the job this year and will work hard with the President and New Jersey’s fine other members of the House and the Senate to continue to advance the public’s interests. The people I am so fortunate to represent should have no doubts that I will maintain the high standards I have set and they deserve and I am confident my successors will do the same.

I thank you for all your help.

Sincerely,

Rush Holt

The info was given first to the New York Times.

What We Should Learn From the NFL Referee Lockout

promoted by Rosi

Over the past few years, Governor Christie and his counterparts in Wisconsin as well as other states along with their allies on the Democratic side of the aisle have created an environment where public employees have become the scapegoat for much larger and usually unrelated issues.

While it was popular over this time period to hear talk about how much the union members received in terms of pensions or overtime or whatever else, there was never really any talk about why these types of things (you know, basic health benefits, a reasonable wage increase and some help in retirement after putting in 10, 15, 20 years) shouldn’t also be available to EVERYONE.  The whole class warfare argument has been turned on its head where the coverage should have been less on how private sector workers were blaming public sector workers (or non-union workers blaming unions) as opposed to the basic underlying question of why someone should work the way they do under circumstances that could leave them high and dry at any given time, even though the fruits of their labor benefitted those who may not deserve it (see all of the insane packages that executives got for failing companies).

And the outrage was, in all honesty, misdirected during this time.  We have seen a massive push towards the corporatization and dumbing down of education over the last few years (starting with Bush’s NCLB) – especially here in NJ with Christie’s push for more private corporate funded voucher schools.  But even though having professional teachers teach our children is something that directly impacts every parent, that wasn’t the message we were being told.

So of course it took something that really impacted everyone – watching NFL games (snark seeping through) to show what so many people whose voices were drowned out by the propaganda machine and sheep mentality have been screaming for some time – it takes professionals to do the job that they are supposed to do.  Whether it is professional referees (who, by the way, routinely get calls wrong, just as everyone gets things wrong from time to time in their job) or professional teachers or professional policemen, firefighters or engineers – we need the right people to do the job that the profession calls for.

This post from the other day really nails it:

But the real scorn should come from the fact that the league replaced unionized workers with scabs and is jeopardizing the safety of its players to save pennies on the dollar. This is America, though, where we apparently don’t care about our fellow workers or the modern day gladiators who are ruining their lives one hit at a time, as long as the right team wins the football game.

But it also goes deeper than that.  Whether it is the NFL referee lockout, the fight against teachers or other public workers (here, in Wisconsin, in Chicago or wherever else) there is another common thread – the disdain for reasonable retirement benefits – the “defined benefit”.  And as I stated earlier, this should be something that everyone deserves, so the scorn shouldn’t be on those who still have it, but those who are denying it to their workers – union or not.   Even looking at the resolution of the NFL referee lockout, we find that:

The league made a major concession to keep funding a pension plan for the next five years before transitioning that benefit to become a 401K plan. There is even a slight increase in the pension benefits plan from 2012-16.

Interesting.  What is the big elephant in the room as it relates to NJ’s finances and credit rating?  The unfunded pension liabilities – something that after strongarming additional concessions on, Governor Christie is STILL blowing off.  With the “risk” (and I use risk instead of “widespread fraud”) in the stock market and the transition from “defined benefit” to “defined contribution”, this just puts more people’s retirement at risk while Governor Christie and his counterparts squeeze as much out of workers – the real producers – as they can before stealing the retirement funds invested in the stock market they rigged.

It’s too bad that (1) it took a blown call in a football game to highlight this and (2) most people won’t even connect the dots to see the bigger issue of fairness at the workplace.

Christie: Seniors Have It Too Good

During his speech to the American Enterprise Institute this week, Governor Christie flatly declared that he was blowing everyone’s minds with his proposal to raise the retirement age for Social Security. Of course, he said this to a room full of free-market evangelists, many of whom already think that poor people are gross, so no real risk there. But the subtext was clear: people in New Jersey and throughout the Unites States need to lower their standard of living.

more below

Christie administration to teachers: Just retire already

To watch the fight between the NJEA and Chris Christie, you would think the teachers are the cause of all our state’s ills. Now that the Governor may be proposing a plan that says if they retire before August 1, the teachers don’t have to pay anything toward their benefits:

“Some people say it would lead to a rash of retirements,” said Michael Drewniak, Christie’s spokesman. “That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It would free up a lot of possibilities for schools.”

Sure, not a bad thing that many of the experienced people responsible for educating our future leaders have a mass exodus, which is exactly what the teachers are saying will happen. They are saying as many as 30,000 teachers could retire and it may actually cost the state even more:

In a press release, NJEA President Barbara Keshishian said the flood of retirements could also strain the state’s anemic pension system.

Teachers contribute 5.5 percent of each paycheck to the pension fund but the state has for 15 years underfunded its share, Keshishian said.

“The average teacher retires at age 61,” said Keshishian. “It is estimated that for every year that a teacher retires sooner than she otherwise would, the cost to the pension system increases by 10 percent for her pension and benefits.” Veteran teachers are eligible to retire at 55; the age has recently been pushed to 60 for new hires.

And after underfunding its share for the last 15 years, the state is contributing nothing to the fund this year making the problem even worse. So the fight continues and the rhetoric heats up. Voters will head to the polls on Tuesday to have their say on school budgets and then we’ll see what the playing field really looks like.

Why is Jim Saxton’s fundraising down this cycle?

Cross Posted at SaxtonWatch

With many speculating that Jim Saxton will be facing his toughest and most well-funded challenger in years, one would think that he would be doing everything in his power to raise as much money to defend his seat as possible.  While he still has a large amount of Cash On Hand, he hasn’t exactly been shaking down the money tree making record deposits in the bank this cycle…

Filing Raised this Quarter Raised this Cycle
Apr-03 $53,100 $59,280
Apr-05 $38,265.50 $44,065.50
Apr-07 $14,896 $19,174
Jul-03 $122,444 $181,724
Jul-05 $228,058 $272,123
Jul-07 $144,568 $163,742
Oct-03 $190,545 $372,269
Oct-05 $140,942 $413,066
Oct-07 $97,085 $207,857

Maybe Saxton thinks he already has enough money in the bank and can just relax.  Maybe he doesn’t think the challenge and climate he is facing are truly a threat.  Possibly, being a member of the minority with that prospect unlikely to change, he doesn’t have the influence he once did and isn’t the sound investment he once was.  Or then again, he might be getting ready to surf the GOP retirement wave.  Let’s see how other GOP members facing tough re-elections have faired this cycle with their fundraising efforts…

GOP Incumbent Raised this Quarter Raised this Cycle
Mike Ferguson(NJ-7) $238,362 $1,046,319
Robin Hayes (NC-8) $353,236 $851,790
Vern Buchanan (Fl-13) $411,844 $1,254,533
Mark Kirk (Il-10) $526,065 $1,789,499
Jim Saxton (NJ-3) $97,085 $207,857
Randy Kuhl (NY-29) $170,244 $341,485
Jim Gerlach (Pa-6) $236,936 $887,496
Charlie Dent (PA-15) $157,000 $566,886
Dave Reichert (WA-8) $306,234 $714,034
Chris Shays (CT-4) $360,307 $850,145
Jim Walsh (NY-25) $194,145 $621,484

So why is Jim Saxton’s fundraising down this cycle, given how hard many in a similar situation facing a tough re-election bid are working? Maybe he agrees with us that it’s time for a change.