TRENTON – The reaction to U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s criticism of the proposed merger of Rowan University and Rutgers-Camden continued late today, with the governor’s office responding to the federal lawmaker’s actions.
“The intention of the merger plan is to create medical and research centers of excellence in north, central and south Jersey that can compete with, even eclipse other education institutions competing for research dollars, prestige, top educators and top students,” Gov. Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said via email.
“From his letter, it looks like Senator Lautenberg has chosen not to be a positive participant in strengthening New Jersey’s higher education institutions. Instead he’s engaged in this peculiar, over-the-top correspondence full of unsupported innuendo and political vindictiveness.
“It’s also odd that Senator Lautenberg, who is generally absent from higher education issues in New Jersey, is parachuting in now in this way.”
Lautenberg had sent a letter to federal Education Secretary Arne Duncan expressing concerns over the deal.
That prompted responses and criticism from several quarters, including Senate President Steve Sweeney and South Jersey Democratic leader George Norcross III.
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"Christie’s method for coping with scandal has been more complicated. In January, the seemingly-local issue of lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, which created a massive traffic jam in the Hudson River town of Fort Lee, became one of national interest when it was revealed that one of Christie’s closest staffers had ordered them—for what looked like political retribution against a Democratic mayor. The scandal was quickly dubbed 'Bridgegate,' and unfortunately for Christie, it played into his reputation as a bully. Christie's response was to act unlike himself: humble." - Olivia Nuzzi- The Daily Beast
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