JERSEY CITY – Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop maintained that one of his key policy initiatives could cross over New Jersey’s urban and suburban political divide in a statewide race.
“Reentry is a bipartisan issue,” Fulop told PolitickerNJ on Monday after a crowd of more than 200 people watched federal and state politicos converge for the opening of Martin’s Place, Jersey City’s new prisoner reentry center, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in Jersey City. “We had four governors, a U.S. Senator [Bob Menendez (D-NJ)], and [U.S. House of Representatives Minority] Leader Nancy Pelosi (D – CA – 12) here. This highlights the fact that this issue touched on all sides of the political spectrum. This is a good day for prisoner reentry models around the country.”
Among the four governors present was current Gov. Chris Christie, who mentioned in his remarks that his administration could provide “cover” for other politicians seeking to promote prisoner reentry programs as an anti-recidivism measure in New Jersey.
When asked by the press about Christie’s remarks, Fulop did not feel that Christie, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, had inferred in his comments that only the GOP could take the lead on the issue.
“I heard that [Christie] and [Pelosi] agreed on the fact that the reduction in mandatory sentencing is important,” Fulop, a potential 2017 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, said. “A lot of those type of ‘tough-on-crime’ initiatives that Republicans think they have a corner on the market for have been failures. I think Gov. Christie would recognize that. And if Republicans continue to beat that same drum, and not recognize what’s happening in urban America, it will continue to be a failure in policy. In New Jersey, most of the urban areas are surrounded by the sprawling suburbs. What happens in the urban areas impacts them. If they don’t recognize it, they should recognize it.”