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Christie Appoints Education Commissioner and Head of DEP

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gov.-elect Chris Christie has nominated former Jersey City Mayor and gubernatorial candidate Bret Schundler to be New Jersey's education commissioner. Schundler's been an outspoken critic of teachers unions, and a supporter of charter schools and school vouchers. At yesterday's press conference, Christie was asked if the nomination was meant to send a signal to New Jersey's teachers union, the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA).

"I don't think the appointment of Brent Schundler sends any signal to the NJEA - the election of Chris Christie sends a signal to the NJEA," Christie says.

Schundler says he thinks there's a growing bipartisan consensus shared by the Obama administration on approaches he's long advocated like charter schools and merit pay.

Christie also nominated business consultant Bob Martin to lead the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. The retired Accenture executives says he will focus on enforcing the state’s environmental laws on clean air and water and toxic waste cleanup.

"At the same time, we also need to look at the regulations in the state for the environment, to make sure they're based on science, they're based on facts, they're based on good cost benefit analysis," Martin says.

He adds that it takes too long to award development permits and finish inspections, and that's hurting New Jersey businesses.

Both Martin and Schundler's nominations must be confirmed by the State Senate.

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