Gov. Christie arrives in New Brunswick to sign bills, take questions from reporters for first time in four months
For the first time in four months, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the city of New Brunswick to field questions from reporters.
At the event, which took place outside of the New Brunswick Counseling Center, Christie signed two bills aimed at stopping prescription medication and opioid abuse.
One of the bills, A-2859, will expand the state’s medicine drop program to provide a safe and secure way to dispose of unused medications, according to northjersey.com. The second bill, S-2372, will give the Attorney General the ability to better arrange statewide efforts to fight opioid abuse, including increased training for police, pharmacists and physicians.
As Christie spoke, a group of protesters gathered behind a fence outside of the event to oppose his decision to send State Troopers to Baltimore. The protestors chanted "Leave Baltimore," “Black Lives Matter” and “New Brunswick cops are racist."
Michael Aron, chief political correspondent for NJTV, asked Christie to get the protesters to "pipe down" so the first press availability in months could be usable on television.
"You go do it," Christie said. "I'm not going to do your dirty work for you Michael. I've got enough trouble on my own."
After signing the bills, Christie took questions from the press.
One reporter asked Christie to explain the rationale behind issuing state troopers to the Maryland protests, which erupted after the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Grey following the 25-year-old's arrest, but not taking a more active role in crime situations in New Jersey cities such as Newark and Paterson.
“The state police have a very active role here,” Christie said. “Baltimore was in a state of emergency. The governor declared a state of emergency and asked not just us, but all neighboring states for assistance.”
Christie said New Jersey responded to that call for help in the same way states responded to calls for emergency assistance from New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy. The New Jersey governor said he hopes order in Baltimore is restored and that people residing in the city can "live their lives normally."
“(I responded to Baltimore the) same way I offered assistance to (Connecticut) Gov. Dan Malloy on the day of the Sandy Hook murders,” Christie said.
Christie also addressed the bribery scandal surrounding Sen. Robert Menendez, who is facing corruption charges after being accused of showing favorability toward a personal friend, Florida physician Salomon Melgen, and exchanging political accessibility for “lavish” gifts.
"I believe a Senate member has the right to make that decision on his own," Christie said. "He has a presumption of innocence."
With the possibility of Christie running for president in 2016, he discussed the status of New Jersey's budget, his entitlement reform plan and responded to questions of the Republican state party's debt.
Christie said he has coordinated two state party fundraisers over the last two months and has "no trouble" accumulating money. That money will be available to support assembly, county and local candidates throughout the fall.
"We have hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash on hand," Christie said. "We’re raising more money for the state party every month. The debt is not affecting our political decisions at all."
Avalon Zoppo is a Rutgers Business School first-year student majoring in pre-business. She is an Associate News Editor at The Daily Targum. Follow her on Twitter @avalonzoppo for more stories.