Christie credits bipartisan leadership for higher-ed bill’s success

NEW BRUNSWICK – Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday there’s one big reason the state’s ambitious higher education proposal was signed into law today – leadership.

The governor told a bill-signing audience here that his leadership, coupled with leadership in the Legislature from lawmakers like Senate President Steve Sweeney, is the reason the higher education bill was successful at getting passed and signed.

“It’s about leadership. It’s not really complicated,” Christie said.

“The Senate president stepped out very early on … and he stood up to the fire and said we’re going to do this. That’s a powerful statement,” he said. “I said I’m going to get it done by July 1.”

The governor said the strong leadership is the reason why this administration and Legislature succeeded when others failed at attempts to restructure the state’s higher education institutions.

“In the end, though, I think the governor has to lead,” he said, adding his July 1 deadline was meant to ensure action was taken.

“I think it was really just that normal kind of push that you have to do if you want to get away from the normal inertia of government,” he said.

Christie added he was pleased with the language of the final legislation, which differed from his original proposal. He said he never expected his original plan to be fully adopted.

“What I wanted to do was put a solid proposal forward that got discussion going,” he said. “There’s nothing about this that I don’t like.” Christie credits bipartisan leadership for higher-ed bill’s success