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NJ Candidates For Governor Square Off [AUDIO]

For the first time in this Gubernatorial election year, Governor Chris Christie and his Democratic challenger, State Senator Barbara Buono, appeared together at an event in Princeton.

Governor Chris Christie
Governor Chris Christie speaks at the Employer Legislative Committees State Dinner in Princeton, N.J. on Wednesday, June 12, 2013. (Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen)

The two addressed an overflow crowd of several hundred that was sponsored by the New Jersey Business and Industry Association.

Speaking first, Senator Buono told the audience New Jersey is ready to move forward, but the politics of division now stand in the way.

“Cheap shots at teachers won’t educate teachers for your businesses, and neither will turning our backs on working families priced out of the higher education market by soaring tuition.”

She also said any plan to uplift our economy that does not support our schools is destined to fail, and “while some believe tax credits are the primary engine for economic revitalization in the state of New Jersey, that strategy now leaves us 44th in the nation in job creation. One of New Jersey’s greatest assets is the quality of its workforce, and the state’s declining investment threatens our economic future.”

Barbara Buono
State Senator and Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono speaks at the Employer Legislative Committees State Dinner in Princeton, N.J. on Wednesday, June 12, 2013. (Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen)

Buono then wondered out loud what’s a more effective policy for growth.

“Divisive politics that take care of a few at the top and forget about the rest of you, or my philosophy that we’re in it together, and that you grow through unifying.”

When Gov. Christie addressed the crowd, he reminded them how badly the state was doing four years ago when he was elected, and he also listed several accomplishments, including cutting the size of government, holding the line on property taxes with a new two-percent cap, and instituting meaningful pension and benefit reform, while supporting education.

Barbara Buono (D), candidate for Governor, addresses the NJ Business and Industry Association dinner in Princeton
Barbara Buono (D), candidate for Governor, addresses the NJ Business and Industry Association dinner in Princeton (David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ)

“Four years ago, we were a despondent state- rudderless, leaderless, and drifting towards continuing decline,” said the governor. “Four years later, the people of New Jersey again have hope, and they have confidence- they believe not in me, they believe in each other.”

Christie also said being a leader means “learning how to bring people together, it means learning how to select people who will unify and not divide.”

The audience gave Senator Buono polite applause, but Governor Christie was given a standing ovation – when he was introduced and also when he finished speaking.

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