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Christie gets bridge scandal question at Flemington town hall

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Governor Chris Christie gets bridge scandal questions at Flemington town hall.
Governor Chris Christie gets bridge scandal questions at Flemington town hall. - (Governor's Office / Tim Larsen)

Gov. Christie had made it through five town halls since the George Washington Bridge scandal broke without a single question from the audience regarding the lane closures.

Not counting the protestors, that is.

But on Thursday in Flemington during what was his 115th overall town hall and sixth since the scandal, a man called upon wanted to know more about what was behind Christie’s decision to fire former aide Bridget Kelly, a central figure in the controversy known for sending the now-famous “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” message to David Widstein, another major player in the scandal and former ally of Christie’s at the Port Authority.

Christie defended his handling of Kelly’s firing, saying that while he “never had the chance to hear the truth,” he would’ve fired her regardless because he did not approve of what had happened.

Going forward, Christie said he’s “doing everything” he can to “make sure something like that doesn’t happen again.”

Christie then fielded a remark from a woman who said she felt bad for him having to deal with the negative fallout from the scandal.

The governor advised her otherwise.

“I can’t sit around and get into a pity party for myself…I’ve got a job to do,” Christie said.

“In the end, what matters most to me in all of this is that we find out the truth,” Christie added.

Christie opened the town hall by criticizing state Democrats for not acting on property tax reform and a renewal of the 2 percent cap on arbitration awards.

Members of both parties had previously agreed to extend the cap but money from special interest groups has gotten in the way, Christie said.

The bill is set to expire within the next two weeks and he has yet to hear anything meaningful from Democrats on the issue, he said.

“When a politician is quiet, that’s a problem,” Christie said.

Christie also faced a question regarding the state Motor Vehicle Commission’s decision last week to pass a set of regulations effectively banning electric carmaker Tesla from the state. The governor said it was on Tesla to appeal to the state Legislature rather than ask for special treatment, adding that it’s not his call when to enforce and not enforce the laws already on the book.

“Their model is not legal in New Jersey under the current statute,” Christie said.

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Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is andrewg@njbiz.com and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.

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