Backed by 11 GOP Sheriffs, Christie pledges war on gang violence

SOMERVILLE – Striking the familiar podium pose of a law enforcement official, this time with the accoutrements of county brass behind him, GOP gubernatorial candidate Christopher Christie today vowed to reduce violent crime as governor and stem the spillover of urban gang violence into the suburbs.

“We need a governor who understands that we need to get violent criminals with handguns off our streets,” said the former U.S. Attorney, standing in Veterans Memorial Plaza near the Somerset County Courthouse as all eleven Republican county sheriffs endorsed him for Governor.

“We have a lot more to do to fight violent crime,” said Christie. “Anyone who travels with any frequency around this state knows we need to do much more. Mayor (Cory) Booker entered a partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and it has been effective in Newark, but there is much more.”

Christie acknowledged the jury’s guilty verdict last week in the corruption case of former state Sen. Joseph Coniglio (D-Paramus), a man Christie charged, along with former state senators Wayne Bryant, John Lynch and Sharpe James – members at one time or another of the Senate Budget Committee.

“Each was convicted of crimes to put money in their own pockets,” said Christie. “Corruption is costing you dollars every day. I intend to go to Trenton with partners like these to finish the job.”

Christie joined the eleven Republicans who serve as Sheriff: Frank Provenzano of Somerset, Edward Rochford of Morris, Kim Guadagno of Monmouth, Gary Schaffer of Cape May, Frank Balles of Atlantic, Jean Stanfield of Burlington, Deborah Trout of Hunterdon, William Polhemus of Ocean, Charles Miller of Salem, Robert Untig of Sussex, and Sal Simmonetti of Warren.

“There is over 250 years of law enforcement experience on this stage, here to throw our support to Chris Christie,” said Provenzano.