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  Schundler, Bret
NameBret Schundler
Address299 Varick St.
Jersey City, New Jersey , United States
Born January 14, 1959 (62 years)
ContributorClassical Liberal
Last ModifedMr. Matt
Sep 16, 2012 10:20pm
InfoAt the age of 33, Bret Schundler became the first Republican to be elected Mayor in Jersey City since the First World War. In 1993, he was re-elected with 69% of the vote, the largest margin of victory for a Mayor in that community�s history. In 1997, he was re-elected in another landslide to become Jersey City�s longest serving Mayor in 50 years. (This in a community that is 65% minority, largely working-class, and only 6% Republican.) Finally, in 2001, he won the Republican nomination for Governor of New Jersey with a primary victory that was featured in Campaign and Elections magazine as the best-run political campaign of the year.

In the years prior to Bret Schundler�s initial mayoral election, property taxes in Jersey City were soaring and the City was leading the State in job losses. Unemployment and crime were on the rise and Jersey City was facing bankruptcy as taxpayers increasingly walked away from depreciating properties and the City�s tax collection rate fell to 82%.

Mayor Schundler's fiscal policies, called a "national model for urban reform" by Time Magazine, reversed these trends. His tax cuts and pro-growth economic policies slashed unemployment and provided Jersey City with ten times the job growth of New Jersey's five other largest cities combined. His policing policies reduced crime by almost 40%. Today, far from the brink of bankruptcy, Jersey City�s property values have sky-rocketed and its tax collection rate stands at over 99%.

These policy successes flowed from Mayor Schundler�s introduction of market mechanisms into the provision of public services.

In his first full term in office, Mayor Schundler pioneered the securitization of property tax liens � an initiative that was named by financial trade journals as one of the top innovations of the year in 1993. Mayor Schundler also orchestrated the successful fight to pass charter school legislation in New Jersey, and led Jersey City to becoming the first governmental entity in the United States to institute medical savings accounts. Then, Mayor Schundler introduced business and neighborhood improvement districts to Jersey City and helped to coordinate a successful effort to de-monopolize garbage disposal in New Jersey. Lastly, he implemented a public-private water utility partnership that was honored by the United States Conference of Mayors as the best public-private partnership in the country that year.

During Mayor Schundler�s second full term, he won a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling affirming a municipality's right to reassign police officers from desk jobs to street patrol, and a second Supreme Court ruling helping to preserve the appointment powers of the executive branch of government. He led Jersey City to becoming the second city in the United States to privatize the management of its Library, and opened one of New Jersey's largest charter schools. Additionally, Mayor Schundler raised almost $1 million in scholarship money so that low-income Jersey City families could afford to enroll their children in the government or privately-managed school of their choice. And he spear-headed two statewide efforts amongst New Jersey mayors: the first, to raise funds for the United Negro College Fund; and the second, to encourage community participation in organ donor programs.

Nationally, Mayor Schundler is best known as a leader in the fight for parental choice in education and as a defender of religious liberty. He served as the National President of Americans for School Choice and won a United States Federal Court of Appeals decision that protects religious expression against government discrimination. Indeed, his defense of religious freedom won Mayor Schundler the prestigious Canterbury Medal for Religious Liberty.

These achievements led Jack Kemp to call Bret Schundler the "gold standard" of political leadership, and Newt Gingrich to call him "the most exciting Republican in the country." The Reader�s Digest, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Parade Magazine are among notable journals that have profiled him. Meanwhile, Mayor Schundler has appeared on public affairs television programs ranging from �The Charlie Rose Show� and �The MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour� to �This Week With David Brinkley.� The television program �20/20� even highlighted one of his innovations as the very model of how government programs can be successfully restructured in America.

On a personal note, Bret Schundler was born in Morristown and grew up in Woodbridge Township and Westfield, New Jersey. He was an All-State football lineman at Westfield High School, studied at the University of Haifa in Israel and graduated with honors from Harvard University.

Following a stint as an Executive Assistant to a Democratic Congressman and as a Field Coordinator with Gary Hart's 1984 presidential campaign, he built a financially successful career in the securities industry at Salomon Brothers and at C. J. Lawrence.

During this time, he served as an elder in his church, as the president of a coalition of Jersey City neighborhood associations, and volunteered with two religiously-based social service organizations: a network of food pantries, and a coalition of churches providing shelter for Hudson County's homeless population.

Shortly before beginning his time in public service, Bret Schundler and his wife, Lynn, an attorney, left their professional careers to travel around the world for a year and witness the historic overthrow of Communism in many countries. Then, upon their return to the United States, Bret Schundler became a Republican and ran for State Senate from Jersey City, where he earned 46% of the vote in his maiden run for public office.

Bret and Lynn Schundler have a daughter, Shaylin, and a son, Hans Otto III. They are trying to teach them, just as Bret�s father taught him, that "The good fight is the good life."

DateFirmApproveDisapproveDon't Know
04/04/2005-04/10/2005 Fairleigh Dickinson University 43.00% ( 0.0) 27.00% ( 0.0) 32.00% ( 0.0)

Title Purchase Contributor

Start Date End Date Type Title Contributor

Date Category Headline Article Contributor
Aug 27, 2010 12:40pm General Schundler requested firing instead of resignation so he can collect unemployment  Article RP 
Jan 22, 2004 12:00am Speculative Would Dems Back Bret? (For Jersey City Mayor)  Article *crickets chirp* 
Mar 23, 2003 05:05pm General Schundler, virtually unopposed, wins Middlesex GOP straw vote for '05 nod  Article *crickets chirp* 

Importance? 0.00000 Average


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