BELMAR – Gov. Chris Christie’s got nothing but love for The Brick City, or so he says.
In response to a Newark school student here today — a 17-year-old president of the Newark Student Union — who asked why the governor has “blatantly ignored” the debt-ridden city during his famed town hall meetings, Christie fired back with a retort that had some raising eyebrows.
He’s Newark’s number one fan.
“I’ve been to Newark I would suspect more than any governor .. in the last 40 years,” Christie said, pulling no punches. “To say that the governor who spends a billion dollars a year on the Newark public school system, the governor who has spent over 4 million on economic development in the city, is with all due respect just not well informed.”
An anonymous member of the crowd shouted: “I thought you had kids!”
But Christie ignored the hecklers, who included a group of Newark school kids on the sidelines, ushered out by police shortly afterwards, calling on the governor to hold one of his no-holds-barred town halls in Newark.
Christie shrugged off the criticism.
“Go to Mayor [Cory] Booker and ask him if he thinks in the years that he was mayor if I ignored Newark,” he said. “The fact is I’ve spent as much time in Newark as anyone else.”
If it was a harsh response for a not-yet-18-year-old student, Christie could be excused. He gave fair warning earlier during the event.
“If we’re going to be disagreeable about the disagreement, if you’re going to take the governor out on a walk,” he said, pausing. “We’re all from New Jersey. If you give it, you’re going to get it back.”