Today's winner: Assemblywoman Linda Stender. Here's an overview of her political life:
Stender began her political career in 1988 as a Fanwood Borough Councilwoman, in 1994 she was elected to the Union County Board of Freeholders and in 2001 she became assemblywoman of Legislative District 22.Can you see my dilemma? I want to support her because she plays for my team, but the thought of voting for someone like her makes me want to puke.
Stender was a double dipper since the day she left her Union County freeholder seat in 2001 to be an Assemblywoman. She was promptly placed on the county payroll that January with the title “Volunteer Coordinator”, with all the implications that title suggests, she was paid $66,083 to supervise people who were volunteering selflessly for free.
Around the time Assemblywoman Stender announced her first run for Congress, her county title changed to Runnells Hospital Foundation Director. The Foundation was established as a non-profit 501(c) 3 with Stender’s salary being paid in part by grant money. Under her leadership, this organization did not meet the threshold of raising over $10,000 which would require them to file an IRS 990 form. This doesn’t stop the taxpayers from having to pay Stender’s $72,858 county salary for her fundraising efforts along with her staff. The [mother-in-law of Union County's] Manager, who is the nephew of State Senator Raymond Lesniak, Glenna Bowen was hired in 2005 to be Stender’s assistant with a salary of $40,430. Glenna Bowen has since become the foundation director and currently earns $51,776.
When Stender was a freeholder her husband’s printing business was given no-bid county contracts and charged tens of thousands more than the next lowest bidder.
Despite the above documented history, in 2006 the Star-Ledger editorial staff endorsed the Congressional candidacy of Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union 22) as the best choice to send to represent the 7th District in Washington.
And the worst part is this: she's just one person. I know for a fact that the Democratic leadership in NJ is FULL of people like her.
Still...I will live with joie de vivre. I will be grateful that I can write this blog and complain about crooked politicians with pretty much no fear of reprisals. I just wish someone with actual integrity would run for office just once...