So 2016 could see two New Jerseyans vying for the highest office in the land.
That would be the current N.J. Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, and Sen. Cory Booker, the former mayor of Newark, a Democrat.
As head of the Republican Governors Association, Christie already has a national platform – and an excuse to fly to places like Chicago, Florida and California to raise money for like-minded Red Staters.
And when he was the Brick City chief executive, Booker was not one to let the dust settle, as demonstrated by a Star Ledger survey which reported on July 15, 2012, that the mayor “was out of state and the New York City area on at least 119 days since Jan. 1, 2001,” although Booker’s aides noted that their boss often returned the same day he went out of town.
The point is that the wanderings of both Christie and Booker have proven distractions that shoved local priorities to the back seat in favor of personal aspirations for operating on a wider political stage.
In Christie’s case, his administration has to, at least, share part of the blame – with the feds – in failing to ensure that the “tens of thousands” of New Jersey residents left homeless by the ravages of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 got storm recovery aid.
As folks continued struggling to reclaim homes and businesses ruined by Sandy, our governor spent a comfortable weekend vacation with his family recently in San Juan. I guess he needed to recover from all the jet lag he’s experienced flying around the U.S.
Then, of course, there’s Bridgegate, where the jury of public opinion is still out, awaiting the results of investigations by the legislature and the Port Authority. Apologies notwithstanding, if Christie didn’t order the Fort Lee lane closures, how come he wasn’t paying attention to what his appointees were doing at the GWB?
Same can be said for former Mayor Booker who recently condemned the actions of the former Newark Watershed Conservation & Development Corp. who, according to report issued by the state comptroller, allegedly plundered its coffers for hundreds of thousands of dollars for personal gain, as reported by The Star Ledger last week.
Booker told The Ledger he was relying on the city business administrator to keep tabs on the Watershed and that’s why he didn’t attend any of that agency’s meetings. Maybe the business administrator wasn’t in Booker’s Twitter phone book.
At a “Town Hall” meeting last week in Port Monmouth – the 110th such public meet and greet for Christie – a woman who identified herself as “Debbie from Brick” trying to get Sandy recovery aid told the governor, “I just wanna go home.”
Maybe that’s what Chris from Trenton needs to do: Stay in New Jersey.
– Ron Leir