Governor Chris Christie was sworn in for his second term as New Jersey governor Tuesday afternoon after defeating Democratic opponent Barbara Buono for reelection. In his inaugural speech, which took place on Monday at the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in the state’s capital of Trenton, Christie laid out his vision for his next term, including education reform, reform on penalties for drugs, and economic growth.
In his speech, Gov. Christie called for unity among the people of his state and in the legislature, promising to insist on cooperation between parties, refuting the idea that “compromise is a dirty word.”
“You see,” he said, “the people of this state know that the only way forward is if we all are willing to take on what is politically unpopular, if we are all willing to share in the sacrifice, if we all are willing to be in this together….”
Christie’s career in politics started in 1998 when the law firm where he was employed, Dughi, Hewit & Palatucci, opened an office in Trenton devoted to lobbying. By 2000, he was one of George W. Bush’s top fundraisers, leading him to a very successful appointment as U.S. Attorney for New Jersey. After 6 years as a U.S. Attorney, Mr. Christie returned to the political arena, throwing his hat in the 2009 New Jersey gubernatorial election. On January 19, 2010, Chris Christie was sworn in for his first term as governor.
According to the New Jersey Office of the Governor, Mr. Christie’s accomplishments in his first term range from passing three balanced budgets without raising taxes to creating $2.35 billion in tax cuts to creating tens of thousands of jobs for his state.
One of the most popular Republican figures in the country, Christie’s first term drew its fair share of criticism even from fellow Republicans. Reactions were mixed by citizens and politicians alike on the governor’s handling of the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which left parts of his state brutally damaged. His praise for President Obama’s role in the relief efforts also elicited backlash from conservatives. According to a November 2012 article in New York Magazine, some even believe that the Christie’s praise of the president was part of the reason that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney lost the 2012 presidential race.
Added criticism from the Bridgegate scandal and new allegations that the Christie Administration misused Hurricane Sandy relief funds have landed dents in his public image, but his popularity arguably remains high as he begins his second term as governor. A Pew Research-USA Today poll released Monday shows that 68 percent of Americans surveyed viewed Gov. Christie favorably or had no opinion about him or his administration. Just 34 percent of Americans viewed him unfavorably.
These next two years–and the damage control over “Bridgegate”–will be a crucial time for Gov. Christie, as it is speculated that he could be a strong contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
To read the text of Governor Christie’s speech and watch video of his inauguration from the New Jersery Star-Ledger, click here