Christie 'absolutely' believes he'd be president if Trump hadn't run

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Long before Donald Trump smashed through the establishment to clinch the Republican Party presidential nomination, the reality-TV mogul had considered playing second fiddle as Chris Christie's running mate.

Christie noted that when he took office, the state's unemployment rate was at around 10 percent, and that it has now been reduced to slightly less than 5 percent.

He succeeded on all counts, Christie said in his final State of the State address in the ornate Assembly chamber here. In order to continue keeping property taxes from ballooning, Christie also recommended a renewal of the interest arbitration cap, a two percent cap on police and fire salary increases that expired at the beginning of the year.

"After seven years as USA attorney, I didn't need to seem to be tough on crime; I am tough on crime", Christie said, but went on to talk about the importance of second chances underlying the bail reform effort.

Christie did not shy away from heaping praise on colleagues from both sides of the aisle. He also thanked former Camden Mayor Dana Redd for being his "partner" on the reform of the Camden police force.

He chastised public-sector union leaders who he said "have never cared" about how the state would pay for its promises and warned his successor that it's a "short road back to the edge of disaster" if the state abandons his pro-growth policies and fiscal restraint.


Christie said that even though he has enjoyed his time as governor, his "happiest days" were when he was the USA attorney, from 2002 through 2008. Sandra Cunningham (D-Hudson) for her work on criminal justice reform and Attorney General Chris Porrino.

Advocates for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities have argued that an ombudsman, appointed specifically to represent some of the state's most vulnerable citizens and their families, would be better able to help them navigate the programs and services available from an alphabet soup of New Jersey agencies. But you guys somehow give them credibility ... as if they've actually done anything or know anything about what it's like to sit in this chair - they're voyeurs.

"I can only tell you who ultimately executed on it and that was [Steve] Bannon, [Reince] Priebus, and [Jared] Kushner", he told NJ.com.

He offered a takedown of reporters during his final interview in the governor's mansion in Trenton when asked about some of his controversial actions, such as hobnobbing with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Jones's jet, hanging out on a state beach during a state government shutdown of state beaches, spending most of a year outside New Jersey while campaigning for president, and endorsing Trump early in the primaries when establishment Republicans were still hoping to take out Trump.

New Jersey has one of the worst-funded pensions in the country, with a liability estimated at about $80 billion to $90 billion. New Jersey's new system has been called a model for other states across the country. Christie recommended making retirement savings "more realistic" for future workers.

Christie leaves office Tuesday, January 16 after eight years as governor. Most of all, I thank the wonderful people of the great state of New Jersey.

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