NJ's New Governor Says He's State's "Last, Best Hope"

Becomes first Republican to hold the post in eight years

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    NEWSLETTERS

    In his inaugural address, Chris Christie said "a new era of lowertaxes and higher growth will begin." (Published Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010)

    You gotta give Governor Chris Christie credit for thinking he can get the job done.

    As he addressed hundreds of allies and Statehouse insiders at his inaugural speech on Tuesday, Christie, the new Governor of New Jersey, went straight to the point. "You voted for change and you have entrusted me with what may be our last, best hope for a stronger New Jersey."

    Christie soon added, "One person can make a difference. I will make a difference."

    Sounding more like Barack Obama, Republican Christie's tag line several times was "Today, change has arrived."

    In fact, you could say it started with the fact that thanks to a change in the state constitution a couple of years back, the Garden State got its first-ever Lieutenant Governor in former Monmouth County Sheriff Kim Guadagno. She ran as Christie's running mate.

    And then Christie got to the point. After noting that New Jersey has "the largest budget deficit per person of any state in the nation," he went on to say "Yes, we will have to cut some programs."

    What no one knows yet is where he will cut, and what he will cut. But he has promised no new tax hikes, and is staring at a budget gap of as much as $8 Billion dollars for next years budget which starts on July First.

    Whatever he does, he will need the help of the Legislature, which is controlled by Democrats. So halfway through his Inaugural Address, Christie asked Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver to join him at the podium "and join me in a handshake of resolve and friendship." They did.

    There is, of course, a lot of skepticism that Christie can do what other governors couldn't. Mike Bucchino of Hamilton told nbcnewyork. com "You have to be realistic today," in explaining why his expectations aren't very high.

    But then there is Dolores Threadgill of Trenton who explained that her expectations are always high because "I'm a very positive person."