Spiller Launches Run for New Jersey Governor

Sean Spiller, the Mayor of Montclair, President of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), husband and father, declared he is running for Governor of New Jersey.

Spiller has called New Jersey home since his parents immigrated to the United States when he was a young boy. He graduated from Rutgers University, where he captained the hockey team, before beginning his career as a high school science teacher. As a teacher, he became involved in his union to advocate for public education and the dedicated professionals who make our schools top in the nation. Spiller’s commitment to educators and students alike led him to run for President of the NJEA, where he represents nearly 200,000 educators.

Spiller said he has the same commitment to service in the community where he and his wife Lauren, a middle school teacher, are raising their two children. Over the course of eight years on the Town Council and then as mayor, Spiller focused on making sure that Montclair was a town that worked for everyone – from passing rent control, to the AAA bond rating, to reducing the town’s tax burden while investing in safe roads, parks, and schools.

Spiller professed to know the daily struggles of New Jersey families – balancing work and family, affording a home and childcare, finding good-paying jobs, and accessing high-quality healthcare. He understands families are working hard but feeling like they are not getting ahead.

Spiller said in a VIDEO ANNOUNCEMENT, “Today, I say to all of New Jersey, we can do better. This is our chance, for all of us.”

He went on to say, “It’s not just millionaires and Wall Street that should have a voice. It’s the rest of us. That’s why as mayor I passed rent control that helped hard-working families have a better quality of life. It’s why as Governor I will guarantee those same hard-working families can afford to live and work in a New Jersey they love. By investing in public education, helping small businesses grow, and ensuring an economy works for regular people, we can create an environment that is not just economically successful, but one that makes life better for the people who make New Jersey work in the first place.”

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30 responses to “Spiller Launches Run for New Jersey Governor”

  1. Is it April 1st?

    Spiller got his record confused with his predecessor Robert Jackson (2012-2020). Montclair achieved his first ever AAA bond rating in 2016. (It was AA- in 2012.) Tax increases averaged @ 1% in the 8 years pre-Spiller. It’s been closer to 3% under Spiller.

    Why don’t we match the stellar record with the right candidate and run Robert Jackson for Governor?

    Spiller didn’t run for reelection in Montclair because he had NO CHANCE to get reelected. He is universally recognized as the worst Mayor in Township history.

    Stop the madness!

  2. @Ms. Richards
    Would you care to elaborate on what “outstanding qualifications” Sean Spiller possesses? I’m curious because no such qualifications became evident during his tenure as Mayor of Montclair.

  3. Larry Foley,

    Surely, you are joking. If Murphy taxes your pants off, Spiller will tax off your briefs and your socks. Do you have any idea what is happening in Montclair where he is Mayor for another 18 days?? If not, please get informed – it will serve you well. We, Montclair residents, are getting our taxes hiked AND Spiller authorized looting of the fund balance surplus by $2 million above the policy limit. Plus one scandal after another, lawsuits up the wazoo, rigged contracts, conflicts, and general dysfunction That fresh air you mentioned is… putrid. Just ask any resident of Montclair. We CAN’T WAIT to unload this guy!

  4. If he gets in I hope he cleans up all the games these politicians are doing like three jobs or no show jobs or bids for jobs that seem to goto certain people and get rid of this Leroy Jones group that is destroying these towns one by one.

  5. Montclair resident here. Huh? What “outstanding qualifications”? Is this a joke? Spiller failed as Mayor of Montclair. Meaning his hometown has summarily rejected him. That’s why he didn’t run for reelection – he stood no chance.

    I’m curious now. Is there any vetting process for gubernatorial candidates? I mean, does anyone check the actual record of a candidate? Perhaps someone should check with Micah Rasmussen of Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics. He had some grave concerns about Spiller.

  6. “If he gets in I hope he cleans up all the games these politicians are doing.” – PB

    Please tell me you are kidding. Does not anyone know what Spiller did to Montclair?

    He inherited a healthy, well-oiled, quietly humming operation and… turned it into a shitshow and a spectacle for the tri-state area.

    I am terrified that some of New Jersey voters will end up falling for his shiny ads/videos, not having any idea how poorly this guy did as Mayor of Montclair. It must be examined.

    I understand that he brings a lot of money to the table because NJEA siphons dues from teachers’ salaries. But how does that qualify one for running the State? How?

  7. Vote for this guy only if you want the teacher’s union running the governor’s office.
    As Mayor he did not make life better for the residents of Montclair.
    Investing in parks? During his tenure, 2 out 3 pools were closed during the summer as no one was managing the park resurfacing projects.
    But hey he did usher in numerous law suits!

  8. I searched Sean Spiller online and there are plenty of articles pointing to a heap of law suits, pleading the fifths, accusations, and allocations. Another words a lot of baggage. But, the one that is a bit concerning to me is the allocation that Mr. Spiller is using the hard earned union dues, from those he represents as the President of the NJEA, to fund his political ambitions. The NJEA founded, “Protecting Democracy “ funded using millions of dollars of union dues without the knowledge of its members, which Mr. Spiller is using to finance his campaign. That is the allocation that especially members of the NJEA may want to ponder. Most are working too hard with so many classroom challenges, they do not have time to question where their union dues are going. And the union is one of the biggest and most powerful unions in the country so there is a lot of money to access.
    A promise of Mr. Spiller’s campaign is to protect teacher’s pensions , which is appealing. Governor Murphy was able to make full contributions to the pension fund using Covid money that will dry up after September. So moving forward where will the money come from?
    The recently released independent New Jersey Covid report spoke volumes of school closures due to the pandemic. The report sites New Jersey schools were closed unnecessarily too long, and the learning loss due to this decision was unprecedented. A decision that took less than 24 hours to make and years to address. Unfortunately, the middle class working families struggling to get by are those impacted the most by this single issue. Never mind all the other devastating issues that no one anticipated.
    New Jersey is rich with cultural diversity, but it is also the sixth most segregated school system in the United States. A fact that most New Jerseyans do not know and counters the NJEA claims that NJ schools are “Best in the Nation.” Best in the nation for all schools or just some schools?
    I do admit Mr. Spiller’s campaign video is very inspirational and I congratulate him on all his personal success, but he has a lot of explaining to do between his time as Mayor of Montclair and as the President of the NJEA. But, that is the reason for debates. Good luck to all the candidates.

  9. After reading this I have decided we should not vote in any Mayors, I live in Jersey City and my taxes have gone through the roof. I keep waiting for him to leave . Hopefully I will be able to contineu to stay.

  10. After reading this I have decided we should not vote in any Mayors, I live in Jersey City and my taxes have gone through the roof. I keep waiting for him to leave . Hopefully I will be able to contineu to stay.

  11. Another Montclair resident here. There are mayors and mayors. For instance, we had one before Spiller that was was there for 2 terms and was universally adored (for good reasons). Or take Mark Sokolich of Fort Lee. Great guy. That’s the one who stood up to Chris Christie when the latter tried to force an endorsement and punished Sokolich with Bridgegate.

    Anyway, Spiller is a disaster. He mismanaged Montclair so badly, residents are pulling their hair out. Endless scandals, lawsuits, rigged contracts, residents screaming – total embarrassment and chaos.

    I wish I could post here a transcript of his deposition in a whistleblower case (Rao case). Grilled by Nancy Erika Smith (of Smith Mullin, P.C.), Sean Spiller plead the Fifth over 400 times! I’m not kidding.

    [Note to NJ Insider moderators: Would you make an exception and allow posting of an attachment? It’s a deposition transcript, so it’s many pages, but no pictures. Riveting read, and informative. ]

    Anyway, we here in Montclair are counting days to Spiller’s departure. His last day is June 30th. I plan to throw a party. I’m not that young anymore and I can safely say that this is the worse mayor of Montclair that I remember. And I’m not his harshest critic.

  12. You gotta be kidding me. THIS guy???

    This is an apex of arrogance. His thinking must be: “I can’t run the town so my next logical move is to take a stab at the State.”

    Spiller got to the top in NJEA. And that’s ALL he did. He can’t run things! He creates chaos. Met him twice, I think. He says what he thinks you want to hear. Plastic, mechanical, contrived. Most importantly, he destroyed Montclair. Inherited a well-oiled, quietly humming machine and turned it into a total mess. How do you do that in only 4 years? We’re about to lose our AAA bond rating because of him and his hand-picked town manager, Mike Lapolla.

    Who is another piece of work. We call him Tax Hike Mike. Yes, he is significantly hiking our taxes, mostly by nonsensical hirings and consultant contracts. It’s like Union County exploded in Montclair. No offense to Union County, but you know what I mean. Not to be selfish, but I’m just happy that Spiller is gone from my town. And if he becomes a figure with the State, I don’t care. I don’t want to know about it. I’m just happy he is gone from my town. Ew.

  13. Spiller is a dud with a lot of money. Not his money. Teachers’ money.

    His father is an interesting person. Spiller is boring and not effective. Montclair is in trouble because of him.

  14. @Roger Dennis the article from Gothamist is from before he pled the fifth 400 times as in CFO Rao’s hostile workplace lawsuit. What did the judge say? Of Montclair’s need for secrecy, Petrillo said: “I can’t imagine anyone, anywhere,… other than maybe the CIA, Defense Department, the NSA, that has this need for secrecy. It should make any person shudder when a municipal government in a matter such as this says there’s this need for secrecy.”

  15. At the risk of triggering a violent reaction from NJEA operatives (they are good for that), I would encourage teachers to temporarily opt out of paying union dues. Many don’t know that there’s a New Jersey Supreme Court decision decision to the effect that union dues are no longer mandatory. See below.


    Spiller is out of his mind to run. Based on his record in Montclair, the guy can’t run a bath and he wants to be the next governor? It’s delusion and… hubris.

  16. @Jen W Your response about what the judge said in reference to the need for a secrecy excuse for pleading the fifth over 400 times by Mr. Spiller is disturbing. I thought government tries to be transparent.
    The NJEA boasts about being transparent , but its’ 200,000 union members did not know a non profit super PAC named, “Protecting Democracy “ was founded by the NJEA and funded using union members dues, solely for Spiller’s political war chest. At least, that is the allegation. And he is the spokesperson for its’ mission. Therefore, he can out spend his political opponents, with a righteous message of upholding democracy for the little guy.
    I thought the NJEA was in the business of educating New Jersey’s students. ( I can only imagine if that PAC money went back into the classroom to help support the teachers. ) Protecting democracy that has been created in the dark back rooms of the NJEA ,for one’s own gains sounds void of great leadership and is not a very good example of democracy protection. Sounds like the NJEA has too much disposable cash.
    Perhaps, the union members need to get more involved in knowing where all that money goes. Be careful, Protecting your pension is the carrot on the stick that will be used to gain your vote.

  17. Jen W – the Judge went to town on Spiller and the Township! The lawyer from Riker Danzig got obliterated. It was a bloodshed.

    Mind you, this was a HUGE lawsuit with many moving parts. They didn’t manage to fire the CFO (tenure) but, according to the court filings, they tormented her in myriad ways.

    I followed the lawsuit because it was important to the Town and interesting for those curious about law. There were 2 amendments to the original filing because Spiller started retaliating against the CFO and then the current town manager, Mike Lapolla, did the same. The latter was the subject of the second amended complaint. He is Spiller’s right hand. Isn’t it wild that we have a Union County political hack as town manager in Montclair? Of all people. Was Nixon not available? 🙄

  18. I think it’s about time a teacher ran the state. Education should be a priority given the state of viteruptive discord in the country. It would be a nice contrast to have the Democratic Party nominee be a teacher given the right wing conservatives the Republican Party supports.

  19. I respect all and am.Gods child I am a Aftican American business owner 3rd generation Montclair. Spiller never came to my aide during Covid was very ill. In addition as the only African American woman Who owns 100 % Mortgage firm I’m completely disgusted on the business owners losing their businesses. I started a program invest in you which now people and Councilor Bob Russo believes in my efforts Mayor Robert Jackson came to.my business to acknowledge and give honor. I went to meeting 1st time to stand in Faith make comment and the residents noticed how much I was interrupted. God is my source .

  20. I left a email. I pray all have read
    I am God’s child and my mother’s Georgia Urling Politics is for the people.to unite grow. I’m offended that I spoke at a council meeting 1st time 3rd generation Montclair for the audience to commend me but to tell me you were interrupted without my time being up. I was very very ill during Covid 19 to receive no funds etc and avoided I clearly reached out to prior Mayor Spiller to be avoided. The meetings are dysfunctional not lifting or edifying as the only.African Nerican woman 100% percent owned Mortgage firm in New Jersey the lack of support is total disheartening
    Businesses are closed or closing the American Dream.is lost after 68 years this is the 1st time I have stood up. I thank the residents of their positive comments but it’s not about the.politicians God gives takes away and I know 1st hand of the lack of communication that’s done. Never met Mayor Spiller but got no support at all except Councilor at large Bob Russo who now is standing for my National.program Invest in you and many thanks prior to Mayor Robert Jackson. My firm First Prestige Mortgage Servicrs Inc dba Minority Hetitage Mortgage est 1998 from my loving mother Georgia Urling Mayor Spiller not only avoided me then but cut me off when I was there to edify speak of great things to be cut off I have helped many in Montclair not lose their homes with neglect from no help from the past council except Robert Bob Russo

  21. Please forgive misspell African American business 3rd generation Montclair no wonder why people are giving up American Dream is being lost. Thank you lord for these words Noone is better than anyone

  22. Spiller has damaged Montclair greatly, with his underhanded, self serving dealings. It’s amazing the damage he did in four years. So……he failed completely as our mayor, but he will be a successful governor?

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