Governor Chris Christie’s Remarks before the New Jersey Association of Counties 61st Annual Conference in Atlantic City, NJ on Thursday, June 16, 2011
“The debate and discussion that’s going on in Trenton this morning and will continue through next week, is in the interest of the taxpayers first and foremost. But it is equally in the interest of the public employees who want to continue to be provided with excellent health coverage and who want to be able, at the conclusion of their career, to collect a pension that they were promised. Now that second part may get lost in all the scrum that is going on down there right now, but it will come back. It will come back, because the truth is the truth, and the numbers are the numbers.
“The second thing going on in Trenton proves that New Jersey is setting a model for dealing with these problems in an honest, forthright, and bipartisan way. … New Jersey is setting the model by dealing with it in an honest way – the pension reforms in this bill alone will save taxpayers $122 billion over the next thirty years and bring all of those pension systems within thirty years, into an 80% funding ratio. Restoring the stability of those systems while saving New Jersey taxpayers $122 billion dollars over thirty years. …
“… This is a bipartisan effort. This could not happen without Republicans and Democrats putting aside the bickering and putting aside the partisanship and saying these are the big things that we have to fix. This isn’t about the next election, this is about the next generation.
“And so, I have to give extraordinary credit to the Senate President and the Assembly Speaker. They are leading.
“Let’s stop right there for a second and define for a room full of leaders what leadership is. Leadership is not figuring out where everybody else is going and sprinting to get in front of the group that is heading in that direction. Leadership is about finding out what the right thing is to do, what the right direction is, moving in that direction and using the power of our public office to persuade others to follow us. Hence the name, leader.
“Leading is not reading the public opinion polls, and adjusting your position to the polls even if that position is not in the public interest. Leading is changing the polls through your words, through your actions, and through the power of the correctness of your position.
“That’s leading. And that’s what’s happening in Trenton today. People are putting aside labels. People are putting aside everything other than what is in the long-term interest of the 8.8 million citizens that we are all charged with representing.
“… What you are watching I am going to guarantee you when it’s finished next Thursday will become a national model and will be hailed across the country as an example of bipartisanship that the President and the Congress can only aspire to.”