#9: Chris Christie
“It is time to leave the corner, join the sacrifice, come to the center of the room and be part of the solution. … This governor will not pull the rug out from underneath you.”
The American public has grown increasingly disillusioned with its politicians—and often for good reason. Voters are subjected to candidates who spout half-truths, pander to special interests, and deliver lofty campaign rhetoric that deflates within months of taking office.
Chris Christie, the newly elected governor of New Jersey, has made a conscious effort never to be that sort of politician. According to the National Review, Christie has “developed a bewildering habit of keeping his promises.”
With Christie, what you see is what you get, and the residents of his state have come to expect no less than the truth, even when it hurts.
“This is who I am,” he told a group of reporters this past May. “When you ask me questions I’m going to answer them directly, straightly, bluntly … I came here to govern, not to escape, … not to worry about re-election.”
In January, Christie arrived in Trenton with New Jersey in disastrous financial standing; within hours of being sworn in, he learned that the state was slated to default on its obligations by early March.
He could have borrowed even more money and raised taxes, as his predecessors had, kicking the can along to the next administration. But he also knew it was this sort of inaction that resulted in New Jersey being ranked 46th in the nation on the economic freedom index, and dead last in state business tax climate.
Instead, Christie declared a fiscal state of emergency. A month later, he presented a balanced budget that required $3 billion in cuts. Much of it was controversial, especially a measure that required state employees to contribute a small portion of their salaries to their own health benefits.
While opponents chastised him for being a bully, Christie was entirely unapologetic, patiently drumming up public support for a budget whose sacrifices he firmly believed in and could ardently defend.
We can continue to do what we’ve always been doing before before … but the new path, and the bolder path, is a path that will be lined with resistance from those who are benefiting from the current system.
… But there is no more solid obligation that we have as human beings … than to do everything we can to leave this place better for our children and grandchildren than it was left to us.
It worked. The budget passed in June.
“Like it or not, [with Christie] I always know where I stand,” Booker explained on The Today Show. “I have a partner in the city … in a way I haven’t had ever before. [He’s] saying, ‘We’re gonna get this done, mayor, whatever it takes.’”
The Top 10 Good Men of 2010
10) Josh Hamilton
7) Mick Foley
5) Barack Obama
3) Dan Savage