New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was sworn in for a second term at noon on Tuesday in the state house in Trenton, New Jersey. His oath of office was followed by an 18-cannon salute.
Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, in her dual role as the Secretary of State, gave Christie the seal of the state and a kiss to seal the deal before she was also sworn in as Lieutenant Governor.
Christie began his inaugural address by saying that “once again, the people of New Jersey have given me the opportunity to serve.” The governor’s heartfelt speech included many emotional references to New Jersey.
“We have survived the worst natural disaster in our state’s history,” he said, and added that it’s time to “renew the state we love.”
Christie also referred to New Jersey as “tough, resilient and proud.” He also emphasized the bond between the administration and the people of the state, repeatedly using the phrase “faith and trust” to illustrate his points.
Regarding his election to office to serve a second term, Christie alluded to having a mandate from the people of New Jersey, and characterized their votes for him “voices of affirmation.”
“Elections are about more than TV ads and debates and rallies—each vote cast is an act of faith and trust,” he said. “The people have definitively set the course for the next four years.”
Though Christie said in his speech that he plans to “stay the course” of state government, he also said that “our answers to our problems must be bold.”
“We have no moral option in my view but to heed the voice of the voters and that is exactly what I intend to do,” said Christie.
Promises for his second term include easing the fiscal burden borne by the middle class and ensuring that all children get a quality education.
“We will no longer stand for the achievement gap that stands between our best and least educated children.”
He also promised to make drug treatment available to as many non-violent offenders as possible.
Words for His Detractors
Christie also made what appeared to be a veiled reference to the political upheavals he has faced in recent weeks after accusations aides at his office blocked access to the George Washington Bridge as political retaliation against the mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie in the governor’s race.
“We have to be willing to play outside the red and blue boxes that the media pundits put us in,” he said.
Christie’s administration came under fire in recent weeks after emails from his staff were made public that appeared to connect them to a massive traffic backup on the George Washington Bridge last September. The emails inferred that the lane closures were intentional, and intended as political retaliation for a New Jersey mayor.
Most recently, the mayor of a second New Jersey town has accused Christie’s administration of withholding Superstorm Sandy relief funds as retaliation for refusing to sign on to a development deal.
Just before his inauguration speech, the New Jersey Legislature announced that a super committee will be convened to investigate both claims.
Nonetheless, Christie showed no signs of distress during his speech. Rather, he criticized Washington politics and political wrangling in general.
“We cannot fall victim to the attitude of Washington, D.C …. [that] I am always right and you are always wrong,” he said. “We can put the future of our state ahead of the partisans who would rather demonize than compromise.”
Christie ended by offering his ear to the people of the state.
“I will always be willing to listen,” he said.
An inauguration gala planned for Ellis Island on Tuesday evening was cancelled because of snowy weather.