Chris Christie is the 55th Governor of New Jersey who is serving his second term in the office. A Republican, he first assumed the office of Governor in 2010 and implemented certain aggressive reforms in the fields of taxation, health benefits and education. New Jersey’s economy which had been on the decline over the past several years was revived under his leadership. Rising levels of unemployment, which had been one of the state’s major issues was tackled with the creation of over 143,100 private sector jobs. Christie is known for his argumentative and aggressive style of leadership which has been held responsible for his political successes. His interest in politics was apparent from an early age. Even as a student he actively participated in the gubernatorial campaign of Tom Kean. He studied to become a lawyer and practiced for some years before plunging head on into politics. It was during George Bush’s re-election campaign where he was volunteering that Christie decided to run for office himself. Thus began his political career which culminated in his becoming the Governor of New Jersey in 2010. He became immensely popular due to his educational and taxation policies. His administration was much appreciated for the quick and effective disaster management in the wake of the Superstorm Sandy.
Childhood & Early Life
He was born on September 6, 1962 to Wilbur James Christie and Sondra Grasso. His father worked as a certified public accountant. He is of mixed ancestry.
He attended Livingston High School from where he graduated in 1980. He became interested in politics while in school and was highly impressed by a talk the then state legislator, Tom Kean gave to his class.
He studied political science from the University of Delaware and graduated in 1984. He decided to become a lawyer and enrolled at the Seton Hall University School of Law. After completing his J.D. he was admitted to the New Jersey State Bar Association in 1987.
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He joined the law firm of Dughi, Hewit & Palatucci in New Jersey in 1987. He was a hard working and prudent lawyer who was made a partner in the firm in 1993. He specialized in election law and government affairs among others.
Christie, a Republican, was elected to the Board of Chosen Freeholders for Morris County in 1994 and the next year he announced that he would run for a seat in the New Jersey General assembly. However, he was defeated by John Murphy.
He worked as a registered statehouse lobbyist for Dughi and Hewit from 1999 to 2001. Along with Palatucci he also lobbied on behalf of GPU Energy for deregulation of New Jersey’s electric and gas industry.
He was appointed as the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey by President George W. Bush in 2001. He received overwhelming support from the Republican Party though there were some dissenters who were not satisfied with Christie’s prior experience.
In 2002, he became the Chief Federal Law Enforcement Officer in New Jersey, a post he served till 2008. There were 137 attorneys in his office. Tackling public corruption was made a high priority during his tenure.
He decided to run for the Governor’s office in 2009 and was helped by the former Governor Thomas Kean in his campaign. Christie, already popular by this time, easily defeated opponent Jon Corzine to win the election.
He assumed office as the Governor of New Jersey on 19 January, 2010. When he took office, New Jersey was reeling under an economic crisis and he accepted the challenge of reviving the state.
During his tenure as the Governor he implemented several revolutionary measures like overhauling the state’s business tax programs, raising tolls and fares, and revamping the educational system. Known for his aggressive demeanor, he ensured that the reforms were implemented properly.
New Jersey saw a remarkable revival under his leadership. The economy which had been on the decline from the past many years started registering a positive growth rate. His anti-corruption policies and educational measures were also much appreciated.
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He helped to revitalize the economy of New Jersey and claimed to have delivered balanced annual budgets as required by the New Jersey Constitution without increasing taxes though he did reduce tax credits.
He signed three state pension reform bills in March 2010 which were passed with bipartisan support. Pension benefits for future hires were reduced as a result of these laws which resulted in a lawsuit by the police and the firefighters’ unions.
He approved 23 new charter schools in January 2011 which included the state’s first independent school for children with autism. He also proposed to overhaul the regulations for evaluating public school teachers in New Jersey.
In 2013, he ran for a second term in office and won the election by defeating Barbara Buono by a huge margin, thus proving his popularity. Currently, he is serving his second term as the Governor of New Jersey.
As the Governor of New Jersey he brought about a lot of changes in the administration especially in the fields of education and taxes. His administration created several new jobs and boosted the economy of the state. Equally commendable was the administration’s rescue and rehabilitation work in the aftermath of the Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Awards & Achievements
Christie was awarded honorary doctorate degrees by Rutgers University and Monmouth University.
Personal Life & Legacy
He met fellow student Mary Pat at the University of Delaware and married her in 1986. The couple has four children.