NJ Politics Digest: Looking Back and Forward As Christie Begins Final Year

It’s Monday, and in Trenton, anticipation is building for Gov. Chris Christie’s last state of the state speech, which he is scheduled to deliver Tuesday. The speech served as an opportunity for newspapers around the state to examine Christie’s legacy, his current political fortunes, what his future might hold and what decisions must he make in his final months in office.
Sen. Cory Booker, meanwhile, keeps positioning himself among the leading Democrats likely to lead the resistance to the incoming Trump administration. And while the Newark archdiocese now has a new cardinal, the Star-Ledger examines the troubling legacy of departing Archbishop John Myers.

Quote of the Day: “In looking at the comments that people makes about him, there’s a bunch of statements about ‘corruption’ and ‘lack of trust,’ as in, saying one thing and doing another,” Randy Parker, E-Poll’s senior director of marketing, on a survey measuring Gov. Chris Christie’s national standing.

8 significant bills that Christie could sign or veto soon
On Tuesday, Gov. Chris Christie will deliver his annual State of the State address, outlining the goals of his final year in office.
Susan K. Livio, NJ.com Read more

Will Chris Christie get his mojo back in 2017?
Mary Pat Christie may have best summed up 2016 for her husband, Gov. Chris Christie.
Matt Arco and Brent Johnson, NJ.com Read more

Christie comeback faces long odds — and short time
Over the years, Gov. Chris Christie often cited what he said was a favorite maxim of his late mother: “It is better to be respected than loved.”
Charles Stile, The Record Read more

What were Christie’s biggest hits and misses?
For the past few years, we have issued report cards on Gov. Chris Christie’s performance during the previous 12 months — one from Gannett New Jersey editors and one from our readers. For the past two years, readers have given Christie mostly failing grades in our informal Survey Monkey polls. Last year, asked to grade the governor’s job on nine issues plus his overall job performance, a majority of our readers gave him Fs on each one. Our editors were only slightly more positive in their assessment.
Randy Bergmann, Asbury Park Press Read more

Joe Piscopo in 2017? Can a comedian replace a governor who’s become a joke?
I see Chris Christie will be giving the State of the State address Tuesday.
I have a question: Which state?
Paul Mulshine Read more

Christie’s state of the state: Promises, success and failure
Republican Gov. Chris Christie has delivered on some of his promises over seven years, while some ideas have also fizzled and stalled. During his seventh state of the state speech on Tuesday, he’ll have a chance to offer more details about his last year in office, a final opportunity to boost his record-low job approval ratings.
Associated Press Read more

Just how badly damaged does Chris Christie start 2017?
Gov. Chris Christie is tied for the second-most disliked politician currently holding office in America, according to E-Poll Market Research.
Claude Brodesser-Akner, NJ.com Read more

Booker wants financial records before Senate considers Trump nominees
U.S. Senate hearings on President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees should wait until after lawmakers have complete information about their financial holdings, according to U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, who will be voting on whether to confirm them.
Jonathan D. Salant, NJ.com Read more

Painted blue line supporting law enforcement is not safe, feds say
In October, scores of New Jersey towns painted blue lines in the middle of bustling downtown roads to show support for law enforcement.
Alex Napoliello, NJ.com Read more

Renter Hell: Billions for squalor
Jean Norde just wanted a decent place to live for his wife and kid.
But their basement apartment on Asbury Park’s east side had a severe roach infestation. On his way home from work one day last April, he got a call from his wife saying the roaches were overtaking their apartment, and she was worried about their son’s health. Norde stopped by a local store and picked up some insecticide.
Payton Guion and Shannon Mullen, Asbury Park Press Read more

Ex-lawmaker seeks a comeback bid, this time in N.J. Senate
Days after state Sen. Raymond Lesniak announced he was foregoing reelection to run for governor, Union County Sheriff and former longtime state Assemblyman Joseph Cryan confirmed Saturday that he’s eager to run for Lesniak’s soon-to-be open Senate seat.
Brent Johnson and Susan K. Livio, NJ.com Read more

N.J. senators request NTSB safety review of railroads after passenger train crashes
U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Robert Menendez asked the National Transportation Safety Board on Sunday to review how railroads were taking steps to address sleep apnea, which could have contributed to last September’s fatal NJ Transit crash.
Jonathan D. Salant, NJ.com Read more

In Port Authority 10-Year Plan, $3.5 Billion Is Seen as Pittance
The commissioners of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey decided on Thursday how they would spend $32 billion over the next 10 years, but not before hearing the strenuous objections of lawmakers from the west side of the Hudson River.
Patrick McGeehan, New York Times Read more

Nonprofit health insurer won’t be coming back to N.J.
Health Republic of New Jersey, the start-up insurer created by the Affordable Care Act, won’t be doing business again in New Jersey. The state Insurance Commissioner wants to liquidate it, after taking control of the company when it became insolvent last year.
Lindy Washburn, The Record Read more

GWB guards say harsh working conditions hurt security
One guard was almost hit by a suicide jumper falling from 200 feet above.
Paul Berger, The Record Read more

Cardinal Tobin, New Newark Archbishop, Cites ‘Chasm Between Life and Faith’
In a ceremony that combined pageantry with a promise of a different style and approach, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin was installed on Friday as the archbishop of Newark.
New York Times Read more

The dark legacy of Archbishop John Myers
My mother would have cried in joy to see Cardinal Joseph Tobin take over the Newark archdiocese on Friday, and for good reason.
Tom Moran, Star-Ledger Read more

At swearing-in, new Jersey City NAACP president stresses need for unity
At his swearing-in today, newly elected Jersey City NAACP President Rev. Nathaniel Legay called for unity among the organization’s leaders.
Jonathan Lin, The Jersey Journal Read more

Black mannequin found hanging at N.J. school prompts investigation, report says
Members of the Plainfield High School girls basketball team reportedly found a black mannequin hanging by the neck in a room they were given at a Clark school Saturday before a game.
Noah Cohen, NJ.com Read more

You won’t find Christie making Gottheimer’s cheesy Giants bet
First-term Rep. Josh Gottheimer is making a cheesy bet with a fellow freshman that the New York Giants will win the wild-card round of the National Football League playoffs.
NJ.com Read more

Will the ‘road to nowhere’-NJ’s Route 55-ever go somewhere?
Despite a projected $1.23 billion annually going into New Jersey’s coffers to fund road projects from the recent 23-cent-a-gallon gas tax hike, drivers in the southern portion of the state could still be on the road to nowhere when it comes to the completion of fabled Route 55.
Jacqueline L. Urgo, Inquirer Read more

Ocean County to hire social media manager
When Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little saw a reporter reading from Twitter on a smartphone last year, he asked about it.
Erik Larsen, Asbury Park Press Read more

First Republican woman elected to N.J. Senate mourned
The late state Sen. Leanna Young Brown was remembered at a public memorial Saturday as a trailblazing politician and policy expert who favored friends and family with a sharp wit and caring style.
Rob Jennings, NJ.com Read more

Kearny Councilman Jonathan Giordano dies at 50
Sitting 2nd Ward Councilman Jonathan Giordano died on Saturday. He was 50.
Caitlin Mota, The Jersey Journal Read more

NJ Politics Digest: Looking Back and Forward As Christie Begins Final Year