NJ Politicos on Christie’s Bridgegate Statement
New Jersey politicians react to Thursday’s developments in the Bridgegate scandal:
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-CD 8)
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Assembly Transportation Committee Vice-Chair Linda Stender (D-Mercer)
“The Governor’s actions today still leave many questions unanswered and cast a shadow on both his competency and credibility.
“Based on what we’ve seen and heard so far, I don’t believe the Governor is being truthful to the people of this state when he denies any knowledge of this incident prior to yesterday.
“Weeks ago he mockingly dismissed the notion that he would have anything to do with a traffic study, and yet we saw in the documents released yesterday that he did in fact approve a study for the town of Springfield.
“The Governor was right on one thing, however, when he said this is about politics – it’s about the politics of fear.
“The fact is, a punitive and vindictive culture was apparently allowed to thrive in the Governor’s office where staff thought abusing public resources and jeopardizing public safety in the name of retribution was acceptable behavior.
“In the end, there were grave public safety consequences as a result of this vendetta, consequences that cannot be undone by a mere apology.
“There are far too many unanswered questions and references in the subpoenaed documents we’ve seen and Mr. Wildstein’s decision to hide behind the Fifth Amendment did a disservice to the people of this state.
“There are many, many more questions that need to be answered on the long road ahead of us.”
Assembly Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex)
“Mr. [David] Wildstein’s performance before the committee today was perplexing and disappointing. He left the committee no choice but to find him in contempt. It’s our intention to refer the contempt charge to a county prosecutor’s office in the coming days. More details on that will be announced.
“It’s hard to understand how testifying to employment history, dates and communication formats require Mr. Wildstein to protect himself against self-incrimination.
“It makes one wonder what exactly he doesn’t want to discuss, and it raises even more questions about what happened with these lane closings when it comes to finding out who knew what and when.
“We intend to continue our investigation, but this would all be made easier if Gov. Christie did the right thing and voluntarily released all communications so everyone could find out with certainty what happened. If he’s truly dedicated to transparency and the truth from here on out, he will take this step and cooperate fully with the committee’s work.”
Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, (R-Union, Somerset and Morris)
“The governor has taken responsibility and demonstrated leadership. The released emails were very troubling and disturbing. The governor is deeply troubled and disappointed by the actions of certain staffers. He has faced this challenge directly. I hope we can move forward with the important reforms of the Christie era. I again applaud the governor’s leadership.”
Assemblyman Louis Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington)
“The actions of top Christie administration officials represent politics at its absolute worst. It destroys people’s confidence in its elected leaders.
“I acknowledge the Governor for taking responsibility for the unacceptable actions of his staff and appointees and for taking the necessary steps today to remove them from their positions.
“I would hope Governor Christie shares the concerns of the people of New Jersey, who have a right to full disclosure and transparency at it concerns this reprehensible abuse of power. That is why I am hoping the Governor will join us in encouraging the full disclosure of any and all documents without redactions and in ensuring full cooperation with any and all investigations. In the interest of full accountability to the people of New Jersey, we should allow the evidence to take this investigation wherever it leads.
“Public service is a privilege, not a playground for political bullies. The people of New Jersey deserve public servants who will put the people first, not those who abuse their offices to settle scores or enforce political payback.
“Make no mistake, these outrageous actions are completely unacceptable to the people of New Jersey. There must be a thorough investigation, and there must be full accountability.
“We are left with many questions about this matter. The people of New Jersey deserve honest answers to these questions. In order to ensure full transparency and accountability to the people, the investigation into these actions must continue.”
New Jersey Democratic State Committee Chairman John Currie
“In regard to the developing Bridgegate scandal, Governor Christie’s attempt at contrition for the catastrophic failure of his administration was undermined by everything that followed.”
“For example, why is it relevant that the governor feels sad?”
“Anyone who believes Governor Christie has adequately accepted responsibility today misses the point: Christie’s core team took actions that imperiled the people of New Jersey.”
“Many of the governor’s responses today were confusing and contradictory, and only compel more questions. For instance, with whom was Christie Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly communicating with in texts, and why were names and messages redacted in documents provided to legislators? And why was the Governor so disinterested in this issue and unaware of his staff’s involvement for four months?
“I remain unimpressed by the governor’s management of this crisis, not to mention his staff. And, I look forward to following the investigation into this important matter as it proceeds.”