The day after listening to Sanders, we drove to Summit Ag, out in the country near Alden, Iowa, to listen to Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey. We were very impressed by how organized the event was. Summit Ag workers waved each car through the driveway to a parking spot.
Inside the building, chairs were organized in a circle, with bleachers set up behind. There were beautiful John Deere tractors and a combine on display...ah, what could make a person feel more patriotic than to breathe fresh country air and be surrounded by green tractors?!
Miscellaneous Facts: Christie is 53 years old. His father is of Irish, Scottish, and German ancestry, and his mother was of Sicilian descent. He is a Roman Catholic, has been married to Mary Pat Christie since 1986, and has four children.
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Christie began by saying that Putin has been pushing around our president. For 40 years we had kept Russia out of the Middle East, but with only 7 years under President Obama, the Russians are now back in, and with Iran, supporting Assad. Israel is threatened as Iran works toward obtaining nuclear weapons, and meanwhile, Obama says the greatest threat facing our nation is climate change.
Under a Christie presidency, Iran would not get nuclear weapons, even if preventing them would call for military intervention from the United States. It may be time for a regime change in Iran. They stone women, don't educate women, hang homosexuals from cranes, and they want their influence to spread throughout the Middle East. There should be no negotiations with Iran till they understand Israel's right to exist. The #1 responsibility of the U.S. government is to protect the safety of the American people.
Jobs are harder to get now than they were 30 years ago. Students are coming out of college with mountains of debt. The job of the government is not to create jobs. The job of the government is to get out of the way and off the backs of the American people so they can create jobs.
Christie's tax plan is to have three rates: 8%, 12%, and 28%. There should be no deductibles except mortgage and charitable deductions, so people can do their taxes in 15 minutes. Many IRS agents should and would be fired under this plan. Corporate taxes should be lowered from 35% to 25%. And to motivate corporations to bring their offshore funds home, there should just be an 8.75% tax on them if they bring the funds back.
We need to rebuild our infrastructure and reduce our debt.
Regulations are out of control. It costs small businesses $10,000 per employee to comply with all the regulations! Christie's first executive order as governor was to freeze all new regulations. He got rid of 1/3rd of the regulations, cut taxes, and job opportunities grew. Christie's first executive order as president--even before the inaugural parade--will be to freeze all new regulations for 90 days. He'll also appoint a team to search out and fire federal employees appointed by President Obama. It will be exciting!
In the Republican debate he had to speak up when Trump and Fiorina were arguing about who had the most successful career. He was thinking about the construction worker watching in his state. He cares about people, not about petty a disagreements between the most successful.
Q: Thank you for your consistent support of the renewable fuel standard. Other candidates waffle, and say one thing to one audience and change it a bit for the next audience.
A: When you run for political office, your real character comes through. I don't say whatever people want to hear. When a politician responds to a question with, "It merits study," that means either he doesn't know the answer, or you wouldn't like his answer. As President, I will work toward implementing the renewable fuel standard.
Q: What is your immigration policy?
A: Sanctuary cities should be given 100 days to start enforcing the law, or they will receive no federal aid. Build fencing and walls in the most populated border areas. FBI agents should be working with the border patrol, and we should use cameras and drones for surveillance. 40% of those here illegally just overstayed their visas. We should have a thumbprint database for visa holders. We need to use E-verify to see if people are here legally. If people can't work, they will leave. Enforce the law.
Q: People have trouble obtaining green cards. Why don't we just sell green cards for $50,000 each?
A: At first thought, I'm not for that idea. We have lots of legal immigrants already. We do need to re-evaluate how many immigrants we should let into this country: maybe less, maybe more. If my great-grandparents had to pay that much to immigrate to the United States, they wouldn't have been able to leave Sicily. They came with only $15.00.
Q: What do you think of the Syrian refugees coming to the United States? ISIS claims it will embed their people among the refugees. Most likely some will slip through, and we'll have ISIS cells here in the U.S.
A: The situation in Syria is the result of Obama declaring a red line and then not enforcing it. A President must stand behind what he says. Perhaps we should send financial aid to our allies to help the refugees instead of taking in refugees ourselves. Trump says to leave ISIS alone--to leave them to the Russians and Assad. We can't do to ISIS what Clinton tried to do to Al Qaeda. We and our allies need to find a way to fix the problem.
Q: Why is it more profitable for some people to be on unemployment and welfare than to work?
A: I am the only candidate with an entitlement reform plan. 71% of federal spending is on entitlements and debt. Programs should be there for the needy, but should not be an alternative to work.
Q: We keep hearing Social Security is going broke, but entitlements are solid--no one talks about them running out of money. What gives?
A: Social Security only has a few more years till insolvency. To save Social Security, we need to raise the retirement age by 2 years over the next 25 years. We also need to have a means test for Social Security.
Q: Can we dump the Congressional pension fund into Social Security, and put Congress on Social Security?
A: Yes, it would only be a drop in the bucket but serve as good symbolism. We should impose term limits on Congress. Both Republican and Democratic Congresses have failed. Something must be wrong with the water in Washington D.C. I'll ship in New Jersey water to the White House. No one is getting the job done. As governor, I issued 400 vetoes; none of them were overridden. And I vetoed more tax increases than any other governor in U.S. history.
Q: Politics are acrid. We're sick of it. What would you do to build consensus and compromise?
A: As governor, I had an almost completely democratic legislature. I talked with the Democratic leader and developed a relationship with him. It's harder to hate up close. I will talk with the Democrats, and build a working relationship. We have to be adults, and work out our differences. A President has to lead.
Q: How can we better take care of our veterans?
A: We need to fix the VA system. I would hire the best hospital executive to run the V.A. While the V.A. is being fixed, the government should pay for care for veterans at any hospital of their choice.
Question about student debt.
A: Student loans should be refinanceable, and there should be a national service option available to help pay for college. College tuition bills should spell out exactly what is being paid for, and you should be able to choose what you want to pay for. Unbundle the bill. If colleges don't comply, they should receive no federal student loans or grants.
Q: We have a $19 trillion debt. Does that concern you?
A: We need entitlement reform. We need to cut spending, and grow the economy. In New Jersey we had a budget deficit, so we eliminated 800 useless programs, and grew our economy.
Unexpected things happen that candidates are never asked about in the debates. For me there was Hurricane Sandy. There was nothing about it in the New Jersey governor's manual. Unexpected challenges will face the next president. You have to know who I am to know I'll be able to face them.
I have an Irish father and a Sicilian mother. That meant I had to help with a lot of dispute resolutions. If my dad were here tonight, he'd tell stories, and give hugs. My mom was the driver, the judge, jury, and executioner. Her rule was, "No suffering in silence; there will be no deathbed confessions!" Problems had to be dealt with right away.
Eleven years ago as she was dying of cancer, I came home to see her. It was a weekday, and she told me to "Go to work!" I told her I wanted to stay with her, but she said, "Christopher, go to work where you belong. There's nothing unsaid between us." She lived that way; there were no deathbed confessions. We knew we loved each other. So I said, "Ok, I'm going to work." She said, "Good boy!" Three days later, she died.
I'm probably the second most psychoanalyzed candidate. I am what my mom taught me to become. I believe in telling the voters everything. There has to be a trusting relationship, if they're going to make me their president.
I can promise to try to do things. But there are four things I guarantee: 1. You'll always know what I'm thinking. 2. You'll always know what I'm feeling. 3. You'll always know what I'm willing to fight for, and 4. You'll always know I'm willing to fight for you.
Further Resources: Visit Governor Christie's website to learn more about him and read his stance on the important issues. You can also read about him on Wikipedia. Or check out Christie for President by the Christie 2016 campaign.
My remarks: Chris Christie is an excellent story-teller; his speech was captivating. He must be one of the best speakers in the race. And the Christies seem like nice people! It was a special treat to see Mary Pat. She has a nice style and is very accomplished in her own right.
For my personal political views, please see this article.