Before the special Senate election for U.S. Senate between Cory Booker and Steve Lonegan, Jeff Chiesa filled the position of one of New Jersey’s U.S Senators for five months. The former U.S Senator told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that he’s time in the senate was an experience.
“It was a great experience for me personally, no question about it and an incredible opportunity to watch how our government operates from inside of the body you’re a part of,” said Chiesa.
Chiesa was in the Senate during the government shutdown. For Chiesa it was difficult during the government shutdown because the Senate was shutdown and he had not been there for long and why was the government shutdown.
As for the reason for the shutdown, Chiesa believes that the reason for the shutdown was a failed strategy. Chiesa says that there were other ways of achieving a goal in regards to ObamaCare and that even Democrats are suggesting that the law needs to be fixed.
In the vote towards the Affordable Care Act, Chiesa voted to defund it.
“I voted, there was a cloture vote on whether or not to get to the vote to have a vote to reopen the government,” said Chiesa. “I voted for cloture so we could get to a vote. I still didn’t think the way we were going about it made sense but it came out of the senate at that point anyway.”
During the vote, Chiesa mentions that there were disagreements between the two political parties on how to do things. There was also a debate on the impact to the Senate and the Republicans in the Senate.
As for the difference to working in Washington as a Senator and as the chief and attorney general in Trenton, Chiesa says the jobs are completely different.
The transition to Senate according to Chiesa is tough. Now that Booker was elected as Senator, Chiesa says Booker will find his way.
“The transition its a very different way to operate collectively as oppose to an executive,” said Chiesa. “So for me I’d most immediately been the attorney general where you’re making designs and moving the department along, as oppose to being part of a collective body. I’m sure the mayor will find his way down there, he’s a skilled negotiator and he’ll certainly bring bring a a great deal of civility down to Washington but I think that like anybody else there’s a transition when you leave an executive function and then enter a legislative branch of government.”
When his time as Senator came to an end, Chiesa said that he was impressed with the Senators that he had worked with. He believes that the institution will be fine and that it moves slowly for a purpose.
Now that Chiesa is back in New Jersey, he is back in private practice with his old firm Wolff and Samson.
As for Gov. Chris Christie and if he will run for President, Chiesa mentions that it’s a decision Christie needs to make on his own.
“That’s a discussion for he and his family to have, there’s no doubt in my mind that I think he’ll be a terrific president if he chooses to do that,” said Chiesa.
If Christie does decide to run, Chiesa says he’s willing to help him in any way that he can.