Black Democratic bishop backs Christie

July 9, 2013

Maddie Hanna and Matt Katz | July 9, 2013 | The Inquirer

TRENTON – Gov. Christie on Monday netted the endorsement of one of the state’s most prominent black Democrats, Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, solely because of the governor’s position on school-choice policies.

The executive director of the Black Ministers Council of New Jersey, Jackson in 2009 endorsed Christie’s opponent, Democrat Jon S. Corzine, but has crossed the aisle to support Republican governors in the past.

Flanked by Christie and six other black clergy members at a news conference Monday at the Statehouse, Jackson said he chose the Republican governor over Democratic challenger State Sen. Barbara Buono (D., Middlesex) because of Christie’s support for allowing students in failing districts to attend school elsewhere.

The key school-choice measure pushed by Christie, the Opportunity Scholarship Act, has languished in the Legislature, and Buono has opposed it. When Christie budgeted a limited $2 million version that would have allowed 200 low-income students to attend private schools or out-of-district public schools, Democrats who control the Legislature cut the money out during budget negotiations.

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