STATEWIDE -- Former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler, who turns 51 on Thursday, got an early birthday present from Gov.-Elect Chris Christie, according to a newspaper report - it was announced that he will become the state's education commissioner.
Schundler served two terms as Jersey City's mayor, from 1992 through 2001. A former Democrat, he became a Republican before running for mayor, and was the city's first Republican mayor in more than seven decades.
Schundler was most recently serving as the COO of a Christian liberal arts college in New York City. He graduated with honors from Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.
Unlike many Hudson County politicians, he has stayed relatively free from scandal. However, he has sometimes been blamed for Jersey City's frequent use of tax abatement deals for developers. He also battled against the ACLU in 1995 because he wanted the city to be able to continue to display various religious symbols at City Hall around the holidays -- including a menorah and a creche. Eventually, he won the right.