Fighting for what’s right despite our governor

By Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan

This much is undeniable about the governor — you’re with him or not, and he takes it personally when you’re not. As we’ve seen, Gov. Chris Christie attacks with name-calling and belittling.

That was the case recently when I objected to his vetoes of the Democratic job creation and economic development package, approved by Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature. I called those vetoes and the governor’s lack of regard for working-class residents what they were — disgusting.

In turn, the governor got personal, calling me disgusting because I dare oppose his conservative policies and the absurdity of his vetoes in a state where unemployment sits above 9 percent.

It’s difficult for the governor to understand not everyone thinks and acts like he does. So when I fight for the middle class, it’s a value set he cannot understand.

People fight daily to keep their homes, worry constantly about their jobs and stay up at night wondering how they’re going to put their children through college. These people aren’t Christie’s concerns.

But I fight for them every day, and that is disgusting to the governor.

I believe you shouldn’t lie to people as the governor does when he claims he hasn’t raised taxes, even though he hiked income taxes on the working poor.

We all know when the governor cut state aid, and slashed property tax rebates and state services to make his conservative credentials look good, those costs fell upon taxpayers. Property taxes went up last year, no matter how many times the governor tells his conservative friends around the country he hasn’t raised taxes.

I’ll keep fighting for property taxpayers, even if it disgusts the governor.

We’ve all seen the governor’s record for the unemployed in this state. He tried to cut benefits for the unemployed — or as a Republican leader called them, “these people.”

We saw the governor veto that package of bills to put folks back to work, people who desperately want not to become one of “these people,” but in fact just want a chance at a job. While “these people” have become a nuisance to the governor, I’ll keep fighting for them, even if it disgusts him.

Working people are entitled to basic worker rights and the right to organize, including the right to collective bargaining. But ending civil service protections, attacking collective bargaining and cutting unemployment insurance are trademarks of the governor’s ideology. He even vowed support for the Wisconsin governor’s efforts to balance the budget.

But I’ll keep fighting for the working class, even if it disgusts our governor.

Some Republicans want to cut funding for poor children by slashing full-day preschool programs, and sending that money to wealthier schools. Never mind that these preschools work, according to study after study. The Star-Ledger referred to Union City’s success in prekindergarten last Sunday. Still, in the minds of some Republicans, it’s time to dismantle these full-day programs.

But I’ll keep fighting for all children to get a chance, even if it disgusts our governor.
The governor cut funding for women’s health care. Bluntly, the governor doesn’t seem to care about women who need mammograms, cancer examinations, health checkups or prenatal care that helps ensure healthier babies.

But along with so many others, I’ll keep fighting for women’s rights, even if it disgusts our governor.

So, yes, my values and the governor’s are different. He may think it’s okay to call people names, but many of us with common decency don’t agree. I promise you this — I’m going to keep fighting for those folks who deserve a fair shake and shouldn’t be used as cobblestones on the steps to higher office.

I’ll keep fighting for the common guy just trying to get by and folks who need a voice, even if it disgusts our governor.

Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, a Democrat from the 20th Legislative District representing Union County, is the Assembly Majority Leader.


Fighting for what’s right despite our governor