Gov. Chris Christie is a national figure in Republican circles who has become widely known for exporting a straight-talking, strictly Jersey personality to the rest of the nation.
Now halfway through his four-year term, the governor is expected to tout his achievements when he makes his annual State of the State speech at 3 p.m. Tuesday in front of a joint session of the state Legislature.
In a release Friday, Christie’s office said that the governor would “outline the achievements and progress made during his first two years in office to put the state back on the right path and reaffirm his commitment and priorities to improve the quality of life for all New Jerseyans in 2012.”
Last year, Christie used the annual speech to say the state’s fiscal picture had improved, and that other states were looking to New Jersey as a model. At the same time, he spoke about replacing teacher tenure with merit pay while stabilizing the public pension system by making public employees work longer and pay more for benefits. These all became major issues in the next several months of government.
Assemblyman John Amodeo, R-Atlantic, said he believes this year the governor will talk about the accomplishments in pension and health care reform, as well as Atlantic City legislation that created the Tourism District and streamlined state regulations.
He said he thought the governor also would talk about making education more equitable throughout the state, and hoped he would talk about getting the NextGen project in Egg Harbor Township the tools it needs to succeed.
On the Democratic side, Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, said he believed Christie would touch on the state’s fiscal issues.
Van Drew said he believed the governor would talk about his accomplishments as well as the nature of divided government.
“I think we’ve accomplished a great deal,” Van Drew said. “Bipartisan government can work — it does work. I’ve been clear that a great deal of what the governor does, I agree with.”
Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, said he hoped the governor would put the focus on the economy and getting people back to work.
The governor has made it clear that education reform will be a priority during the next 12 months, Whelan said, and there were things that Whelan said he believed could be done.
However, he said, “I suspect we’re going to get some rhetoric about education reform and civil-service reform,” Whelan said. “He likes to have a boogeyman to beat up on.”
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