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Christie’s High Number of Vetoes May Chisel Away Bipartisanship Claim

1-22-14

By Michael Aron
Chief Political Correspondent

On the same day he delivered a second inaugural address, Gov. Chris Christie signed 100 bills into law and pocket-vetoed, or allowed to expire, 44 others, topping his own modern record for number of vetoes in a two-year period.

For example, he signed a bill making Megan’s Law offenders contribute $30 a month toward their supervision.

On the other side, he pocket-vetoed a bill that would have mandated sprinkler systems in new home construction, another that would have required police to get a warrant before using surveillance drones and a third linking schools to police departments via a panic button.

Sen. Dick Codey, who served as governor for 14 months, says other governors would negotiate more to work things out.

“He speaks to very few legislators and that’s wrong, that’s a mistake. They feel slighted. The more you talk individually to legislators, the better off you are,” Codey said.

In his first term, Christie got a lot done working with Democrats.

He’d like that bipartisanship to continue in the second term.

“We can not fall victim to the attitude of Washington D.C., the attitude that says I am always right and you are always wrong. The attitude that puts political victories ahead of policy agreements, the belief that compromise is a dirty word.” said Christie.

Codey says don’t expect Democrats to compromise on further cuts to the state pension system.

“I don’t think there’s any compromise to be reached on that issue at all, and that’s a big problem for the state’s budget going forward,” said Codey.

An hour before the speech, Democratic leaders announced they were combining into one the two committees investigating the George Washington Bridge controversy.

Some commentators saw that as a shot across Christie’s bow and a warning about the second term.

Codey disagrees.

“I don’t think they were sending a message at all to the governor, at all. It was just the right thing to do for the legislature,” Codey said.

But Codey says Christie has a reputation for going after critics and opponents and that needs to end.

He has felt the wrath of Christie retribution himself, he says.

“For a governor to strike out against a legislator who’s also a former governor, that’s unfortunate. I would hope and pray that would never happen again,” said Codey.

He says Christie is still capable of doing great things if he tones down the aggressiveness.

“I don’t wish any trouble on him. It’s a sad thing for all New Jerseyans what’s going on, especially for someone who held that office. I hold all governors in the highest respect,” Codey said.

When asked if he thinks Christie can survive this, Codey said, “I think it’s gonna be a very tough time for him, his family and for those around him.”

His admirers and Republican allies don’t see it that way.