Marie Bilik: Former Mayor, Lobbyist, Assembly candidate

After a career spent working for state and national advocacy groups, Marie Bilik of Green Township is running for Assembly in District 24.  She faces newcomer Nathan Orr of Branchville and Freeholder Gail Phoebus in the June 2nd Republican Primary.

According to newspaper reports, Ms. Bilik resides and works in Virginia and travels to New Jersey for the weekends.  She is registered to vote in New Jersey. 

Ms. Bilik served on the school board and on the township committee.  She was Mayor of Green Township until she resigned suddenly in 1993, citing "personal reasons".  She is a longtime employee of the New Jersey School Boards Association and served as that group's executive director before landing her current position with the National School Boards Association.  These groups lobby the state legislature and Congress, respectively.  They oppose school privatization as well as school vouchers.

In a recent interview with Star-Ledger affiliate, Ms. Bilik made it clear that she was not a political conservative, telling the reporter that she "will be emphasizing education issues in her campaign," and that she "supports the Common Core program" -- a controversial program opposed by most of the Republican presidential candidates for 2016.  Common Core has been criticized by both the right and the left for its perceived attempt to impose a "one-size-fits-all" federal curriculum and to limit local control over schools.  It is often opposed by conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation, while it is supported by liberal teachers' unions like the NEA.

Ms. Bilik also stressed that  she's "not looking to be known as the most conservative in the race," adding, "I want to be known as a reasonable individual, but someone who won't raise taxes."

The former mayor could be a strong candidate.  Her campaign team is being led by county lobbyist Wendy Molnar, whose clients include Concord Engineering.