At the 75th State Chamber of Congress annual dinner in Washington, D.C., the evening’s featured speaker Gov. Chris Christie received a standing ovation by the largely business crowd.
In his speech, the governor again proclaimed the ‘New Jersey Comeback’ and touted the state’s improved business climate.
He used the platform to respond to critics of his proposed 10 percent income tax cut, saying he found the idea of Democratic leaders lecturing him on fiscal responsibility “hysterical.”
He also brought up the issue of gay marriage which Democrats have made a priority. Christie fired back that the mission of both parties should be “to put our people back to work, not play the politics they’re playing around in the halls of Trenton.”
Among the attendees was attorney Ted Zangari who thought the governor projected the right bipartisan message. “The only way to grow ourselves out of this [economic] mess,” according to Zangari, is for both parties to work together.
Governor Brendan Byrne, who was also in the audience, said of Christie’s speech: “he knows how to put his best foot forward and he did.”
Reporting from Washington, D.C., Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron files this report.
The Chamber’s decision to break from tradition by only allowing for Gov. Christie to speak at the dinner may have ruffled some feathers. In years past, both U.S. senators and the dean of the congressional delegation, Rep. Chris Smith, were offered a chance to speak.
For the first time in decades, neither U.S. Senator – Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez – attended. Tom Bracken, President of the NJ Chamber of Commerce, defended the decision, saying that the overwhelming message by attendees in a survey conducted last year was to keep the dinner short so that participants had more time to network.
Congressman Chris Smith (R), who was at the dinner, admitted that four speeches may have been excessive. “You’d see people going out the door or people who wouldn’t come in the first place. So I respect their decision.”