PRINCETON, NJ — The two largest education organizations in New Jersey have endorsed Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker and running mate Roy Freiman in the 16th District.

The New Jersey Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers-NJ represent about 230,000 teachers and other school personnel across the state. The groups made their endorsements after candidates from both parties were interviewed by local educators in each legislative district.

Opposing Zwicker and Freiman are Republican candidates Donna Simon, a former member of the Assembly, and Somerset County Freeholder Mark Caligure.

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“Our state's public schools are among the nation's best because of our educators,” Zwicker said. “These are people who dedicate their lives to teaching our children, giving them the skills they need to thrive and succeed in our rapidly-changing world. I’m pleased and honored to have their support.

"Teachers are on the frontlines of delivering quality education, and I’m pleased to be their partner in the effort to give young people the skills they need to compete,” Zwicker added. 

“When we invest in education today, we invest in our future economy,”said Freiman. “I’ll work to make sure New Jersey doesn’t back away from that commitment.”

Zwicker, a resident of Kingston, is a physicist who heads the Office of Communications & Public Outreach at the Princeton University Plasma Physics Laboratory. He was elected to the Assembly in 2015, defeating Simon by 70 votes. Freiman, a Hillsborough resident, is a retired Prudential Financial executive making his first run for office.

In announcing his organization’s endorsements, NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer said, “As we finally exit the Christie era and work to rebuild our state, it is imperative that we elect pro-public education and pro-public employee candidates. NJEA members have always been active participants in the political process, but now more than ever, we all realize the consequences of electing politicians who do not share our priorities or our values.

AFT New Jersey Committee on Political Education chair Kay Schechter said, “We are focused on issues, not personalities, and asking members to consider our endorsed candidates and make decisions that benefit working families and our institutions.”

The 16th District includes Branchburg, Hillsborough, Manville, Millstone, Montgomery, Rocky Hill and Somerville in Somerset County; Delaware Township, Flemington, Raritan, Readington and Stockton in Hunterdon County; Princeton in Mercer County and South Brunswick in Middlesex County.