Gov.-elect Christopher Christie says he's not ready to immediately battle the Democratic Legislature during their lame duck session, but he is prepared to speak out if they take action that he disagrees with.
"Am I willing to fight? Of course I am. You've watched me for eight years now. I'm not a Wallflower," Christie said at a press conference at the Robert Treat Academy, a Newark charter school run by Stephen Adubato, Sr.
Christie said he'll look at the Legislature with "an optimistic point of view."
"I think the members of the Legislature understand that people have voted for change," Christie said. The voters voted for it. So for now, we'll have to engage in the compromise that will occur always when people have differing views."
"I'm optimistic that whatever the views may be in both houses of the legislature, they'll be ready to cooperate," said Christie.
The newly-elected Republican governor said he did the right thing by not releasing a detailed economic plan.
"I refused, during the campaign, to come up with some type of slick packaged proposal that people were going to say ‘wow that's a miracle there will be no pain involved and no effort from anyone else'," Christie said. "We have to have a tight cap on what we're spending – not a cap that's filled with holes – a tight cap."
Christie said his first executive order will be to freeze unfunded mandates and new regulations for ninety days, something he promised during his campaign. He also said he will ask the state comptroller to conduct an audit of government spending, another campaign pledge, and repeated his opposition to same sex marriage.
Christie used the news conference to repeat his commitment to charter schools and to improving public education, especially in urban areas.
"You've been to plenty of my events and heard me talk plenty of times about this school, and heard me speak many times about this school. So I really felt that today, because I have said that other than the tax and budget issues, the next most important issue to me is fixing our urban education system," Christie said. "I thought today the most appropriate place for me to come would be a place that is showing how urban kids can be educated in such a way that is sending them to some of the finest… colleges in the United States."
He praised charter schools, like the one Adubato runs.
"These are places where great education is happening for these children," Christie said. "If anybody thinks I'm kidding about this, they're going to watch: I am not going to continue to allow urban children to be failed and cheated by failing public schools."