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POLTICS

Who is Chris Christie? Get to know the Republican Party Presidential candidate

Against most odds, Chris Christie is still in the Republican primary race though the chances of him winning are very slim indeed.

Update:
Against most odds, Chris Christie is still in the Republican primary race though the chances of him winning are very slim indeed.
SOPHIE PARKREUTERS

Chris Christie, former governor of New Jersey, is one of the remaining Republicans putting themselves forward for his party’s candidate in next year’s presidential election. His central campaign point is, simply, he is not Donald Trump.

He will be on stage at the final Republican debate but is the weakest candidate remaining. Donald Trump has the most support at 59.6%, Ron DeSantis next with 12.7%, Nikki Haley third with 10.6%, and Vivek Ramaswamy after with 4.9%. Christie is last with 2.7%.

It would take some performance to overhal that deficit.

“I’m not considering dropping out,” Christie has said.

Chris Christie served as the Governor of New Jersey from 2010 to 2018. He had a noteworthy tenure in office. Before becoming governor, he was the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey. Christie began his political career when he was elected to the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders. He earned his degree in political science from the University of Delaware in 1984 and later obtained his JD from Seton Hall University School of Law.

Life under Governor Christie

Throughout his two-term tenure as governor, Chris Christie’s administration pursued policy objectives that aligned with long-standing Republican values. Initiatives aimed at reducing corporate tax rates, deregulation, and pension reform resulted in diminished benefits for state workers hired after the law’s implementation. Many GOP members commended the legislative measures that Christie signed into law, while his opponents hold a contrasting perspective on his governorship.

During Christie’s early years in office, the focus was mainly on the politics surrounding workers and their pension benefits. Several laws were enacted, resulting in the elimination of the cost-of-living adjustment for benefits and a redesign of the contribution scheme for both state workers and retirees. Consequently, employees were required to contribute a higher percentage of their salaries to cover their healthcare expenses. Additionally, the bipartisan legislation dealt a blow to unions by preventing them from negotiating health benefits through collective bargaining.

Education

As far as his education policy is concerned, Christie was able to accomplish many GOP priorities. He was able to consolidate state control over school districts, limiting the power of political opposition in those institutions. The governors’ 2017 education “Fairness Formula” was evaluated by the New Jersey Education Policy Forum, and the group found that it “would transform New Jersey’s school funding system from a national model of equity into one of the least equitable in the country, both in terms of education and taxation.” The forum members also pointed out that the plan was premised on the failure of the state’s school, which “is contradicted by a large body of evidence.

Christie attended private schools and supported policies that would extend tax benefits to families that send their children to private institutions.

Environment

During his time in office, Christie made the deregulation of New Jersey’s environmental protection laws a priority. He showed support for fracking and vetoed two bills that aimed to ban the practice and make it illegal for companies to dump the waste produced during the process. It is worth noting that New Jersey is not a major state for fracking, which raises questions regarding the reason for Christie’s heavy intervention in preventing regulation of a non-existent industry. Despite this, the state did pass laws that encouraged investment in alternative energy sources, similar to the tax benefits outlined in the federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed in 2022.

Scandal

Chrisite’s time in the governor’s mansion was not without scandal.

One of the most notable, which was dubbed “Bridgegate’ took place between 9 and 13 September, 2013. Staffers from Christie’s office approved two lane closures in Fort Lee which created massive traffic jams as commuters attempted to cross the George Washington Bridge into New York City. The exact reason why the staffers chose to carry out the action remains unknown, but as governor, Christie said he was not aware of what had taken place. Various investigations have been conducted and have concluded that there is no clear evidence that Christie was aware that his office had approved the lane closures.

A few years later, in 2017, as the state was in the middle of a partial shutdown due to a standoff with the legislature, the governor and his family were spotted at Island Beach State Park, which was closed to the public. The optics of the beach vacation were terrible for Christie, who appeared out of touch and was unwilling to apologize. To a question from the press as to whether or not he understood why residents were upset that he used his power to visit a closed beach, he responded: “‘I’m sorry they’re not the governor’.”