What is Chris Christie’s agenda for New Jersey?
What is Gov. Chris Christie's plan for lowering property taxes in New Jersey, funding transportation projects or reforming the pension system? The governor has talked about the problems, but has yet to talk about firm solutions.
Critics claim Christie is more concerned with building a national Republican brand as he mulls a 2016 run for president and they cite his frequent out-of-state travels as evidence.
Primarily because he was chairman of the Republican Governor's Association, Christie was out-of-state 137 times in 2014. Thursday he was scheduled to be in Massachusetts for Governor-elect Charlie Baker's swearing in and in coming weeks he's expected to be in Ohio, South Carolina, Iowa, Illinois and Maryland for swearing-in ceremonies in those states.
"This is a national role he has taken on and to some extent he has an obligation to perform it, but it also plays into his own presidential ambitions," said Peter Woolley, professor of comparative politics and campus provost at Fairleigh Dickinson University. "It's not a fair criticism that he's doing nothing for New Jersey. These days you don't have to be in the state to get anything done."
What is lacking sometimes when Christie is out of state is a persistent focus on the important issues in New Jersey because there is no political pressure for solutions when he is in other states, Woolley said.
"It's easy to get the impression that he's not focused on New Jersey because he's not talking about New Jersey problems and New Jersey solutions when he's traveling to other states to talk about national problems and national solutions," Woolley said.
It is unfair to say the governor has checked out on New Jersey because smart people can keep track of many things, but they can't keep track of everything, Woolley said. He added that when Christie is traveling the country raising money and awareness for himself or others, he can't spend that time thinking about New Jersey problems.
"It's fair perception to think that so long as you're touring the rest of the country you're not putting 100 percent into your own state," Woolley explained.