TRENTON – Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, (D-15), Ewing, criticized Gov. Chris Christie Wednesday for his comments linking her sponsorship of a bill to a shooting death involving a prisoner who received early release.
“The loss of Eric Thomas’ life is a tragedy, but for Gov. Christie to use it to try to score political points is reprehensible,” she said in a release.
“In attempting to blame my law for Mr. Thomas’ death, it would have behooved Gov. Christie to get his facts straight.
“According to reports in The Jersey Journal, Mr. (Rondell) Jones violated his parole and already had a warrant issued for his arrest. It’s the administration’s responsibility to properly supervise parolees. It’s tragic that Gov. Christie’s administration failed to properly do so.
“Mr. Jones was a nonviolent offender who had been sentenced to three years in prison. He was paroled after a year. Ultimately, he is the only one responsible for his actions, whatever they may be.
“Gov. Christie attempting to blame me for Mr. Thomas’ death is as ludicrous as me blaming the governor for the death of every woman who couldn’t gain access to critical health care because the governor eliminated women’s health funding.
“Or as preposterous as me blaming the governor for deaths as the result of the massive police and firefighter layoffs resulting from his policies.
“Perhaps the governor’s nasty tone is retaliation for my pointed questions at Tuesday’s committee hearing about the poor performance of his Schools Development Authority in which his administration’s incompetence was exposed.
“I also want to make clear that the governor, despite his claim, has never spoken to me about this law and issue.”
Christie criticized Coleman during a press conference Wednesday.
Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan, (D-20), Union also sharply criticized the governor for his comments.
“Does this governor have any sense of decency? Perhaps this tragedy never would have happened had the Christie administration properly supervised this parolee. Then again, the governor is never one to accept blame for anything,” he said in a release.
“Is it coincidence that the governor’s attacks on Assemblywoman Watson Coleman follow Tuesday’s school construction (hearing) in which her questions embarrassed the administration? I doubt it.
“Assemblywoman Watson Coleman has worked for years to improve the lives of New Jerseyans. She has helped countless New Jerseyans with policies geared toward helping the working class and those most vulnerable. It’s time for the governor to show this woman of strength and honor some respect, if he’s capable of such sentiment.”