Yesterday Senator Rand Paul attacked NJ Governor Christie suggesting that the Governor’s landslide victory last week was the result of the federal aid package sent to NJ following superstorm Sandy.
I occupy the unique combination of positions of Republican Assembly Budget Officer, long term fiscal conservative who has warned of New Jersey’s irresponsible spending polices for years, long-term advocate for reforms like pension benefit and collective bargaining reforms – and my District (13) covers the area of the bayshore hardest hit by the storm.
Unlike Senator Paul, I can state unequivocally – and based on first hand experience – that Governor Christie’s popularity wasn’t purchased with federal aid. It was earned by tireless, extraordinary leadership on multiple crisis fronts from the moment Christie won election in 2009. He inherited a state on the verge of insolvency, requiring reform solutions – pension and benefit, arbitration, property tax, budgetary – that no governor in the history of the state ever dreamed of tackling.
Governor Christie assembled an almost impossible bipartisan coalition of legislators and tackled every major issue we faced. His popularity was earned with those successes. Earned even before the storm by a guy who could marshal bipartisan support for dramatic reforms that ignited a trend that swept the nation.
The storm did enhance Christie’s popularity – but not due to the federal aid. It again came back to rock-steady leadership in a time of crisis. It came from an ability to instill confidence in leadership at a devastating time of turmoil when Americans are used to expecting less from typical politicians. Christie’s popularity wasn’t purchased with federal dollars – it was earned with guts and sweat and determination and honesty and integrity and genuine achievement.
The attack, while being total, erroneous garbage against Christie , does say something about Senator Paul. We now know without question that he is a man willing to gratuitously attack another based on wholly fabricated charges about issues he, Senator Paul, knows nothing about.
So let’s recap – Christie is a tireless worker who can win over hearts, tell the truth – good or bad – to his constituents, inspire bi-partisan cooperation and support in a deeply divided legislature to solve heretofore intractable problems decades in the making. Oh, and as a bonus, he can step up in times of extreme tragedy and instill confidence and optimism on the part of those in dire need of both. Sounds to me like just the type of guy this country could use as President. Just sayin’.
Declan O’Scanlon is a New Jersey State Assemblyman from the 13th Legislative District/ Monmouth County