Dem: Christie Shouldn’t Campaign During State of the State
On Tuesday, Gov. Chris Christie will take a break from campaigning for president to make a rare appearance in New Jersey where he’s scheduled to deliver the annual State of the State Address.
The speech will take place before special joint session of the Legislature in the Assembly chamber at the State House at 3 p.m. With less than 24 hours to go, Democratic leaders told Townsquare Media what they did and didn’t want to hear in Christie’s address.
“I would love him to frame something out on the Transportation Trust Fund and then maybe set the stage for what those negotiations are. That’s got to be priority number-one. That’s going to give us the economic jolt,” said Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto (D-Secaucus).
The TTF is the pot of money used for road, bridge and tunnel projects. It is currently on pace to run out of money at midnight June 30. The most-often talked about solution is raising the gas tax, but that could be a thorny topic for Christie in his run for president.
Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Thorofare) agreed with Prieto that Christie has to talk about replenishing the TTF. They both thought the governor also needed to address public employees’ pension funds, education, jobs and the economy. It would be impossible for them to agree more about one other thing: Christie cannot give a presidential campaign speech.
“It has to be New Jersey first because that’s what he is, the governor of the State of New Jersey. The focus has to be on New Jersey. I know he’s running for higher office and I know that his plate is full now with foreign affairs and social security and all these things, but we have issues in this state that need to be addressed,” Prieto explained.
Sweeney said he hopes the address is positive and well-received, but he conceded Christie did not tell him what will be in the speech.
“This is an opportunity for him, as the governor of New Jersey to address the people of New Jersey and lay out the priorities. We really don’t want to see a national vision. We see that on TV all the time,” said Sweeney. “All I can tell you is I hope it is New Jersey-centric, focusing on New Jersey and New Jersey issues.”