Weekly Advance: Week of Aug. 20

TRENTON – When presidential hopeful Mitt Romney tapped Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) as his presumed running mate early Saturday it gave little doubt to the rumor that Gov. Chris Christie was spending his time working on a speech for the Republican National Convention.

The governor, who took the week off from politicking around the state or stumping for the GOP across the nation, was named as the person slated to give the GOP’s keynote address at the convention.

But if Christie had his speech outlined in the beginning of the week, Thursday’s lackluster jobs report for the state was likely enough to send him back to the drawing board.

The Garden State led the way nationally with the largest over-the-month decrease in employment last week after New Jersey posted a 12,000-job loss last month, according to the Department of Labor. The spike was enough to push the state’s unemployment up 0.2 percent to 9.8 percent – a 35-year high for the state.

After leading the pack in July job losses and having the fourth highest unemployment rate in the nation, New Jersey Democrats pounced on the governor and referred to the figures as proof that Christie’s plan to put the state back to work is not working.

The latest report was the last one before the GOP convention later this month where Christie can be expected to discuss one of the top issues affecting the November election – the economy.

Now, after Thursday’s flurry of press releases, reporters and residents alike will get a glimpse of how the governor will react to the Democratic response to the latest figures beginning Monday.

Christie is scheduled to be in Asbury Park for a beach town hall on Monday. The event will likely be Christie’s first appearance before the cameras following the recent jobless figures.

The governor is also hosting a town hall in Salem on Wednesday and will almost certainly be with reporters to sign a historic higher education bill, which needs Christie’s signature sometime this week.

The exposure will give the governor plenty of time to react to the job numbers and may give some signs of what the governor can be expected to say when he addresses Republicans nationwide while in Florida.

Higher ed

The higher education merger calls for Rutgers University to take over most of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, while Rowan University partners with Rutgers-Camden.

The legislation, dubbed the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act, will affect thousands of students and stirred a good deal of controversy when it made its way through the Statehouse.

The Rutgers Board of Governors ultimately supported a merger of UMDNJ and Rutgers Newark after lawmakers established that control of Rutgers-Camden is maintained by Rutgers.

Last-minute amendments to the bill seemed to garner the support of the Rutgers Board of Governors, though what’s still yet to be determined is whether the legislation will be challenged by opponents to the restructuring once it’s signed into law.

Voting session

The governor is not the only one who will be talking politics during the week.

The Senate is slated to gather under the Golden Dome for a voting session Monday to take up a dozen or so bills and joint resolutions.

The session is slated for 2 p.m., and it will include bills on issues such as guide dogs on N.J. Transit vehicles, tax credits for “angel” investors, and more.

Monday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Senate

11:30 a.m., Judiciary Committee, Rm. 4, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

2 p.m., Voting session, Senate chambers, Statehouse, Trenton

Boards and Commissions

7 p.m., Atlantic Coast Shellfisheries Council, Nacote Creek Law Enforcement Office, 360 New York Road, Port Republic

 

Tuesday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

Boards and Commissions

10 a.m., State Mosquito Control Commission, Department of Environmental Protection, Natural and Historic Resources Conference Room, 501 E. State St., Plaza 5, Trenton

3 p.m., Governor’s Education Funding Task Force, Civic Hall, Connector Building, Camden Community College, Blackwood Campus

 

Wednesday

Gov. Chris Christie

3 p.m., Town Hall, gymnasium, Salem County Vocational Technical School, Route 45, Woodstown

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

 

Thursday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

Boards and Commissions

10 a.m., Health Care Facilities Financing Authority, Building 4, Station Plaza, South Clinton Avenue, Trenton

 

Friday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled Weekly Advance: Week of Aug. 20