Gov. Murphy’s replacement does not show up again

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Nominee pulled from the agenda

The lame duck session is underway in Trenton. Our experience has taught us to be ready at any moment to defend against unforeseen new bills or other legislative actions that were dormant for months. This week was a prime example.   

As many of our readers are aware, Govenor Murphy has tried to replace the State Board of Education members who voted NO on his Sex Ed Learning Standards and the Equity and Equality in Education policy that removed all gendered terms and even biological sex from state education regulations. Despite 11 board members currently serving on “hold over” status, Governor Murphy has only tried to replace three because they are the ones who have consistently voted to respect the concerns of parents. According to the Governor, parental voices must be censored.   

Thankfully, over the past year, we have been successful in preventing his attempt to push through new nominees by urging state senators not to give the senatorial courtesy that is required for a nominee to move forward for a committee vote. Mary Bennett, who was nominated by Governor Murphy to replace the parent-friendly Mary Elizabeth Gazi on the State Board of Education almost went through earlier this year, but her hearing was cancelled due to controversy over her non-disclosed involvement in a group that is in litigation against the state.  

Late this past Friday afternoon, Dec 1, we got word that since the state senate does not face reelection for another four years, and the legislature is now in their dangerous lame duck session, Mary Bennett is going to get her Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, Dec 7. We immediately jumped into action, sending letters of objection to all members of the Committee, making calls to the offices of key senators, and working alongside our conservative allies across the state to research the background and resume of Mary Bennett.  

Let me kindly say, there are more questions than answers when verifying her claims.  

Therefore, I was not surprised when we received the news on Wednesday afternoon that Mary Bennett has once again been pulled from the Senate Judiciary Committee. This is the second time her name has been removed from the agenda because she won’t show up to answer questions!

The new date has been moved to Monday, Dec 18th. Shawn Hyland, our Director of Advocacy, was in Trenton today, and will be back on Dec 18 to testify in objection to her nomination. 

Friends, trust in New Jersey public schools has been undermined. This provocative nomination process has further damaged this taxpayer funded institution. It is nothing more than a retaliatory executive action to punish the only board members who insisted the concerns of parents be heard, respected, and addressed. 

Stay encouraged because we are not giving up. It has been one year since Governor Murphy tried to replace them and so far, he keeps coming up empty. 

Allan F. Wright

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