Christie Sworn in Amid Bridge Scandal

By Alexander Keiser,
Domestic News Writer

On Tuesday, January 21, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was sworn in for a second term, amid political scandals, dur­ing an indoor inauguration ceremony at Trenton’s War Memorial.

Governor Christie gave a 19-minute inauguration address, which focused on themes of small but compassionate gov­ernment and bipartisan cooperation. He chastised Washington politics, saying, “We cannot fall victim to the attitude of Washington, D.C.” and the “belief that compromise is a dirty word.”

Christie spent much of his speech talking about, New Jersey’s recovery from a weak economy and from Superstorm Sandy, as quoted by CBS News, he said, “We have endured the worst economic re­cession of our lifetimes” and “survived the worst natural disaster in our state’s his­tory” but we have “worked together to re­store, renew and rebuild the state we love.”

The Governor also outlined two of his signature policy issues, education reform and mandatory drug treatment for low-lev­el drug offenders, according to The Star- Ledger. Christie said “we will not stand for the achievement gap which exists between our best and least educated children.”

While Christie was delivering a pas­sionate pitch for his second-term in office, according to Reuters, he made no direct mention to the scandals involving abuse of power charges plaguing his administra­tion.

Christie who is widely considered a Republican contender for Presi­dent in 2016, cruised to re-elec­tion in November, by beating State Senator Barbara Buono by 22 percentage points.

In recent weeks, however, Governor Christie has been at the center of multiple investigations, alleging abuse of power by his administration.

According to Reuters, emails between top aides in Christie’s administration, show they delib­erately closed access lanes on the George Washington Bridge, for four days in September. This caused major traffic gridlock in Fort Lee and is believed to be retribution against the Democrat­ic mayor, Mark Sokolich, who declined to endorse Christie for re-election.

Although, Christie has stated he was unaware of his aides’ plans, and immedi­ately fired them after their roles in the scan­dal were revealed, according to Reuters, federal prosecutors and both chambers of the state legislature are investigating the allegations.

According to Reuters, NJ Congress­man Frank Pallone, also requested a probe to review Governor Christie’s use of $2 million in Superstorm Sandy relief funds, which were used for tourism advertise­ments that featured the Governor and his family.

Most recently, according to CBS News, Dawn Zimmer, Mayor of Hoboken, claims Christie’s administration blocked millions of dollars in Sandy relief funds, because she declined to approve a devel­opment plan, which was favored by the governor.

Zimmer alleges that Lieutenant Gov­ernor Kim Guadagno delivered the threat during a meeting in May. CBS News re­ported, Guadagno, in a press conference, “vehemently denied” the claims.

According to CBS News, the scandals are hurting Christie’s public image, a poll by Pew Research Center found that the number of people who view the Governor negatively has doubled since this time last year, and 58 percent of people, who are fa­miliar with the George Washington Bridge scandal, say they do not believe Christie’s claim that he was not involved in closing the lanes.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Jan. 28 print edition.

Contact Alexander at
alexander.keiser@student.shu.edu

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