Chris Christie was born in Newark, New Jersey and was raised in Livingston, New Jersey. He left the state briefly to attend college at the University of Delaware, and then returned to live there after graduating. He then attended Seton Hall University of Law. He joined Cranford law firm, where he became a partner. He was elected a Freeholder in Morris County, and served as Director of the Board. He was married to Mary Pat in 1986, and they currently live in Mendham. They have four children: Andrew, Sarah, Patrick, and Bridget. Christie was named District Attorney of New Jersey in 2002.
He is currently serving his second term as the governor of New Jersey. He was first elected in January 2010, and was then reelected in November of 2013. Christie has implemented an aggressive fiscal reform agenda, including lowering New Jersey’s property taxes (as well as passing a 2 percent cap on property taxes), reforming the pension and health benefits system, passing four balanced budgets which included no tax hikes, $2.35 billion in job-creating tax cuts, and improving the public education system. He has worked to further improve the education system by improving accountability within schools and creating a fair and meaningful evaluation system for teachers and administrators alike, as well as to increase school choice in lower-performing school districts. He has also overseen large strides in recovery and rebuilding since Superstorm Sandy.
Chris Christie On Abortion
Chris Christie is pro-life, and opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother. He was the first New Jersey governor to address abortion rights protestors during an annual protest marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. He told them “What we need to do each and every day is to live our lives in a way that encourages everyone to understand why this cause is so important. To show that we respect the life of every human being, and that every human being is one of God’s creatures and deserves the love and respect that God gives to all of us.” Christie states that he was pro-choice up until 1995. He attended a doctor’s visit with his wife, 6 months before the birth of his first daughter. Christie says, ” I heard a heartbeat. I had been pro-choice before that. I would call myself before that a kind of a non-thinking pro-choice person, kind of the default position. When my wife was pregnant with our daughter Sarah, who is now fifteen, we happened to go to one of the prenatal visits at 13 weeks. My wife didn’t look at all pregnant at that point, visibly, and we heard this incredibly strong heartbeat. As I was driving back to work I said to myself you know, under my position on abortion I would say that a week ago that wasn’t a life. I heard that heartbeat, that’s a life. It led to me having a real reflection on my position and when I took time to reflect on it I just said you know what? I’m not comfortable with that anymore, that was back in 1995, and I’ve been pro-life ever since.” In New Jersey, he is working to reduce the number of abortions by enacting laws such as parental notification, a 24-hour waiting period, and a ban on partial-birth abortion.
Christie opposes family planning as part of a state budget, and eliminated it from the budget of his own state. The funding he cut went primarily towards pap smears and mammograms, and was not being used to fund abortions primarily. However, some of the funding was going to Planned Parenthood centers, where it could have been used for abortions. Christie argued that women can receive the other necessary care that is no longer part of this funding from other clinics, such as Federally Qualified Health Centers.
In terms of party affiliations, Christie takes great issue with the Democratic attitude towards pro-life advocates. When asked at the 2014 CPAC convention about his social intolerance, he responded, “Well, let me ask you a question. You say the Republicans are intolerant. Well, I’ll just tell you this, at our national convention, we’ve had people like Tom Ridge and Colin Powell and Condi Rice speak at our national conventions, even though our party platform and I don’t agree with their position on abortion. Tell me, sir, the last pro-life Democrat who was allowed to speak at a Democratic convention? By the way, don’t strain yourself, because there’s never been one.” When relaying this quote later, Christie added that, “they’re the party of intolerance, not us.”
Chris Christie On Immigration
Christie believes that the immigration system in this country is in great need of reform. During an interview with Fox News, he stated, “What I favor is fixing a broken system, and the fact is that everybody knows the system is broken. And what Congress needs to do is get to work, working with each other and the president to fix a broken system that’s not serving our economy well, not serving our country well.” Christie seems to have flip-flopped on the issue of illegal immigrants and tuition prices. He originally supported the Dream Act, which would allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition prices. He later stated that New Jersey could not afford such a measure for “people who haven’t followed the rules.” However, he stated that he was not in opposition to such a measure again in October of 2013. Christie seems to have a far more lenient attitude towards illegal immigrants than many of his Republican counterparts, stating “Being in this country without proper documentation is not a crime. The whole phrase of ‘illegal immigrant’ connotes that the person, by just being here, is committing a crime. Don’t let people make you believe that that’s a crime that the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be doing something about. It is not….If there are people out there committing crimes, they should be dealt with, if there are undocumented people running around, then Immigration and Customs Enforcement should do their jobs.”
Chris Christie on Health Care
Christie accepted the expansion of Medicare under ObamaCare, but did not set up a state based health exchange. This is because he believes that ObamaCare “was just too big for the government to handle,” and that it’s time for the Obama administration to admit that the Affordable Care Act is not working, so that the country can begin working towards a practical solution. In terms of ObamaCare and what should have been done differently, Christie stated, “the fact of the matter is the president didn’t tell folks the truth about what was going to happen with their own private insurance policies. And what I urged them to do, is tell people the truth. That’s the thing they expect. And I think that’s why we’ve gotten the support we’ve gotten in NJ. Because whether it’s good news or bad news, I tell folks in NJ the hard truth they need to hear. And even when they disagree with me, they’ve come around to support me. Because they say at least this guy is looking us in the eye and telling us the truth. I think the president failed that test, unfortunately, on ObamaCare.”
Chris Christie on Gay Marriage
Christie opposes gay marriage, believing that the institution of marriage should be preserved as that between one man and one woman. When asked how he would react if one of his children were gay, he responded that he would give them a hug and assure them that he loved them, but that he would still assert that marriage was between one man and one woman. In response to the revoking of the Defense of Marriage Act, Christie stated, “”I thought that Justice (Anthony) Kennedy’s opinion in many respects was incredibly insulting to those people, 340-some members of Congress who voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, and Bill Clinton. They basically said the only reason to pass that bill was to demean people.” Christie does not, however, believe that homosexuality is a sin. He believes that homosexuals are born gay, and that they should be afforded legal equality through civil unions, but that they should not be given the right to marriage.
Chris Christie on Gun Control
Christie is mostly against gun control measures, and is against any gun control measures that he sees to be overreaching the rights of the 2nd amendment. He believes that the real answer to stopping gun attacks is to better address mental health, rather than to ban guns. Christie opposed a measure in Congress which would override New Jersey’s strict laws against concealed weapons. Currently, those who have a permit to carry in their home state must lock up their guns when entering New Jersey. The law that Christie opposed would have allowed them to carry concealed weapons in any other state, as they were allowed to in their home state.
Chris Christie on Energy and Oil
Christie pulled out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative program (a program which charged companies for polluting emissions, but allowing them to buy credits from firms that don’t pollute. In theory, the program would offer incentive to reduce reliance on fossil fuels), calling it a failure that would raise energy taxes and would kill competition with states that were not part of the program, such as Pennsylvania. He does, however, support a renewable energy initiative, stating, “The future for New Jersey is in green energy and already we’ve put in place policies to broaden our access to renewable sources of energy, cleaner natural gas generation and ending our reliance on coal generation.” He also supports the incentivizing of energy manufacturing through tax credits, providing 100% of the corporate business taxes or the insurance premium tax for any wind turbine and manufacturing facility that locates in New Jersey. Christie has stated he would consider power-generating windmills off of the Jersey coast as a source of alternative energy. Christie has committed to a 5/1 ratio of higher-paying and clean energy production jobs to lower paying efficiency jobs in New Jersey.
Chris Christie on the Economy
Christie believes in putting a cap on municipal spending. In 2010 he ordered the legislature into a special session, and in April 2011 the first votes on a municipal spending cap were held. A 2% cap was put on municipal spending, and few cities and towns sought voters’ permission to exceed this cap. From there, Christie put a cap on the salary in the superintendents’ contracts.
Christie believes in cutting spending to strengthen the economy. After taking office in 2010, he erased an almost $11 million budget almost exclusively through budget cuts. By May of 2011 the economy of New Jersey was improving, and the state treasurer had projected half a billion dollars in extra tax revenue.
Christie believes that the absolute biggest key to balancing a budget is to get all of the leaders talking in one room, and ready to compromise, stating “The first thing is that the president had to get involved personally. And what I found in New Jersey, was there is no substitute for the three leaders in the room having to look at each other and having to hash this out. And everybody’s got to put skin in the game. I mean, I gave on things that I wanted. Obviously, the Democratic Senate president and the Democratic speaker gave on things they wanted, and we came to a compromise that didn’t violate our principles. And that’s the key. You can’t ask people to violate their principles. And so there has to be a way to find principled outcome where people are also compromising. And what the specifics of that’s going to be are going to be up to the president, the speaker and Sen. Reid. But they need to get in the room and finish this off.”
Chris Christie on Tax Reform
Christie believes in tax reform, including the 2% cap he placed on property taxes. In 2013, he suggested cutting income taxes 10% across the board, over the span of 3 years, letting all Americans keep a greater percentage of their earnings in their pocket. Christie says, “I believe we can and we must lower taxes. Lower taxes will invite back businesses, jobs, employees, residents and students.” His plans include not only reducing the income tax, but also restoring property tax relief, eliminating double-taxation on New Jersey S-Corporations, eliminating special interest labor union giveaways that increase taxes, and requiring a 2/3 majority vote to impose a new tax or to increase taxes.
Chris Christie on Homeland Security
Christie has spoken in defense of the Patriot Act, including one of the more controversial clauses which allows the monitoring of library items an individual takes out. He stated that the FBI detained many people inappropriately post 9/11, and has stated that he opposes such measures. Christie has criticized the efforts of politicians such as Rand Paul to cut anti-terror measures implemented by Bush and Obama, stating that anyone who believes in reducing anti-terrorism should visit New York or New Jersey and speak to families of the 9/11 victims.
Christie believes that America is the leader in terms of advocating for other countries, and that we must act as the world’s police-force against despotic regimes. When asked about this issue, Christie stated, “America’s taken the responsibility. Now, do I think there has to be shared sacrifice among other nations in the world who want a stable and secure world? Absolutely, there has to be. But I don’t think that America can ever abdicate its leadership role in the world because of who we are & where we’ve come from. We are the symbol for the world for freedom & liberty.”
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