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Joining me now from New Jersey is New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg. Senator Weinberg, thank you for joining us tonight. What do you think the governor of New Jersey is up to, saying--using that kind of verbiage, saying that he wants the media to take a bat out on you? What"s your response to that?
LORETTA WEINBERG, NEW JERSEY STATE SENATOR: Well, my first response is that I am absolutely appalled at the language that the chief executive of the state of New Jersey chose to use at a press conference, words that suggest violence.
You know, we"ve heard this said over and over again these last few months; words do matter. And this governor is very upset at me, because I criticized him for defunding women"s access to health centers. I"ve criticized him for defunding our education system in New Jersey.
And, you know, I might be 76. And, yes, I"m a grandmother. But I have enough energy and enough spirit to tell Chris Christie he"s not going to bully me. And he"s not going to bully the people that I represent in the New Jersey state legislature.
And although Shana"s spelling is not great, I do hope he reads her letter.
SCHULTZ: OK. He is complaining that you are drawing on your pension that, of course, you have worked for and contributed, and these are your deferred wages. And yet you are also--is that correct?
WEINBERG: That is correct. I have been in the pension system for 35 years. So at age 75, after seeing my IRA wiped out in the Bernie Madoff scandal--by the way, somebody I never heard of before this happened. My money was invested with a so-called, quote, trusted money manager, end quote, who had sent all of our funds to Bernie Madoff, unbeknownst to me.
That happened three years ago. So I decided this past year, after paying into the pension system for 35 years, and looking at myself in the mirror and saying, Senator Weinberg, you"ve reached the age of 75. It is time you start collecting the pension that I could have started collecting about 15 years ago.
SCHULTZ: And you are taking a part-time salary as a legislator. And now you have become--you"re a public servant. But now you have become a target of ridicule by a governor who has a habit of bullying people. And all demographics know about it in New Jersey. Your granddaughter wrote that note, I want you to stop bullying everybody.
SCHULTZ: What does your granddaughter have to say about this?
WEINBERG: Well, my granddaughter is barely seven. And she heard the discussion going on at the dinner table last night and at the breakfast table this morning, and sat down--you know, she"s learning in school in the first grade about bullying and about respect and about civility.
So in her mind, she connected those two together. We have an anti-bullying law in the state of New Jersey, which I am a prime sponsor in the New Jersey state senate. The governor chose to sign that into law really in the dead of night. He was too embarrassed to do a public signing ceremony.
I would suggest that the governor sit down and read the law of the state of New Jersey. And any time he wants to debate me on anything that has to do with our tax plans, our pension reform, our access to health care for the working families of New Jersey, I"m ready to do it.
SCHULTZ: New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg, I would love to moderate that debate. But of course the governor of New Jersey would never come on a talk show where he might actually get a direct question about how he advocates taking a bat out against a 76-year-old woman.
I appreciate your time tonight. You"re very gracious to join us.