How you’ll know if Christie plans to get anything done in his last year
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TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie gives his final State of the State address Tuesday at the Statehouse, and Rider University political science professor Ben Dworkin is expecting some familiar refrains.
He expects Christie to discuss some of the things he’s been talking about for months, if not years.
“This would include the way we distribute education aide to public schools in New Jersey, drug treatment, which has obviously been a passion of his, and further reform of health and pension benefits,” he said.
Dworkin added: “I’m not sure what he’s going to be able to get anything done on any of these things, but he can talk about them.”
Montclair State University political science professor Brigid Harrison said the governor may also try to use the State of the State to highlight something unexpected.
“What we’ve seen in other State of the State addresses is Christie using the speech as an avenue to highlight a new policy. Oftentimes these seem to come out of left field,” she said. “They tend not to focus on economic issues or the things that many or most New Jerseyans are most concerned about.”
She pointed out Christie has, in the past, focued on drug courts and housing for developmentally disabled adults, which are “policy issues the governor believes he can make some headway on, so that’s what is likely to happen in his speech.”
She added that fact that he’s so unpopular works against Christie as far as getting anything done during his last year in office, but we have to remember “New Jersey’s governor is constitutionally imbued with some of the most powerful aspects of a governorship of any Governor in the country, so there is much he can (do) unilaterally."
Dworkin agrees: “Even when he’s a lame-duck governor and even when he’s at an 18 percent approval rating, he can still have the power to shape the agenda.”
He also said while the governor will remain in office for another yea, he recognizes he only has about 6sixmonths left to get anything accomplished.
“After the state budget is signed at the end of June, the legislature is going to go away for the summer. They’re going to be campaigning in the fall. It’s going to be hard to get any major initiative done," he said.
He said if Christie touts his job creation efforts during the State of the State “ it’s really about trying to frame his legacy — it’s not any new initiative that’s coming down the pike."
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