WASHINGTON D.C. – Gov. Chris Christie touted his relationship with the state’s top lawmaker Tuesday evening, bringing his message of bipartisanship to the nation’s capital as an example of putting politics aside to benefit constituents.
The governor, joking he and Senate President Steve Sweeney are both “soft spoken” elected officials, boasted his accomplishments over the last five years despite being a “conservative Republican” in a state where a “liberal Democratic Legislature” dominates the Statehouse.
Christie, calling out Sweeney by name, touted their relationship as his “most consistent partnership” in Trenton over the course of his gubernatorial career as he delivered comments a short distance from the U.S. Capitol about what can be done when lawmakers work together.
He jokingly described how the voters of New Jersey most have figured “combining me, a shy, retiring, soft spoken, thoughtful guy, with a shy, retiring, soft spoken, thoughtful, iron worker Senate President Steve Sweeney” would lead to the Statehouse to finally being destroyed over the internal fighting.
However, it wasn’t, Christie said. In fact, the pair has been able to reach compromises to benefit New Jerseyans.
But despite delivering rosy comments directed at the state’s top lawmaker, who wasn’t in the audience, the governor fired a warning shot to Assembly leadership, namely Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto – who did attend the chamber trip.
“In this context, we have the Assembly failing to act,” said Christie, referring to the state’s interest arbitration cap for unionized police and firefighters that sunset earlier this month after the speaker refused to post the bill for a vote.
“We will continue to work with our partners,” he said, referring legislators supporting the measure and the municipal leaders who appeared with him at a recent Trenton rally in support of the measure.
“We need to move forward on that piece of legislation and get it done,” he said, never mentioning Prieto by name.
But Christie reverted back to his bipartisan message before long.
New Jersey’s governor spoke about “America greatness” during his more than 35-minute speech where he declared the nation “has been built on freedom, liberty, prosperity,” and the responsibly of elected officials to “resolve to fix our problems honestly and fairly.”
Declaring “we are now at a crossroads,” Christie discussed the need to work together.
“Believe me, we will be judged. We will be judged about how we conduct ourselves,” he said, speaking against lawmakers who “bury their heads in the sand” and ignore the problems facing constituents.
“The good news of tonight is that these problems are fixable,” he said.