LIVINGSTON, NJ — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie officially announced his candidacy for the President of the United States when he returned to his alma mater on Tuesday. The Livingston High School gymnasium was packed with friends, family and supporters as Christie declared his “readiness to work with America to restore its rightful place in the world.” Outside, detractors donned red, held signs and protested.
Christie stood with his wife, Mary Pat, whom he acknowledged as an indispensible part of his accomplishments, and his four kids, Andrew, Sarah, Patrick and Bridgette and credited the town that Christie said “greatly impacted his success.”
“Everything started here for me: the confidence, the education, the friends, the family and the love that I have always felt for and from this community,” said Christie. “When I decided to make this announcement, there wasn’t any choice, I had to come home—and Livingston is home for me.”
Serving multiple years as the president of student government in the Livingston Public Schools, continuing that tradition at the University of Delaware and ultimately becoming the two-term New Jersey Governor, Christie’s LHS Class of 1980 friends in attendance said they were not surprised to hear he had returned to announce his bid for Presidency.
“Choosing Livingston High School for today’s announcement illustrates that Chris has not forgotten where he came from and what a significant influence growing up here has had on his life,” said Christie’s high school friend Lynn Jalosky Grone. “The importance of family and friends is a constant in his life.”
Grone told Christie’s audience that she always knew him to be a devoted son, husband, brother and father who had a powerful voice and passion for advocating for others from the start. She said when Christie spoke before the Delaware State Legislature at the age of 19, it foreshadowed the many great things he would come to do—including announcing his Presidency bid at the age of 52.
Like his mother, Grone said, Christie is not afraid to listen to what the community has to say and to “tell it like it is,” which is the phrase that has quickly been adopted as the motto for Christie’s campaign.
“We are going to ‘tell it like it is’ today so that we can create greater opportunity for every American tomorrow,” said Christie. “If you give me the privilege to be your president, I will wake up every day not only with my heart strong and my mind sharp, but with my ears open and my arms open to welcome the American people no matter what party, no matter what race or creed or color, to make sure that you know that this is your country too.”
Christie promised his audience at Livingston High School five things as he begins his 2016 campaign: first, a campaign without spin, pandering, or focus group-tested answers.
“You’ll get what I think, whether you like it or not, or whether it makes you cringe every once in a while or not,” he said.
Second, Christie promised to answer the question that is asked, rather than what his political consultants told him to say.
Third, he will run a campaign concerned with what is right as opposed to what is possible.
Fourth, Christie will run a campaign that believes in an America that is “as great as the hopes and dreams” parents wish their own children to have.
Finally, Christie promised, “a campaign that doesn’t tear people down but one that rebuilds America into the place where you and I grew up, where we want our children to grow up in again, and where we want free people around the world to grow up in their countries as well because that’s what America has always stood for and that’s what this campaign will stand for.”
Christie said he has had his share of doubters but insisted that America is not angry, it is anxious. In the end, he said, it is leadership that matters and that it is time America stopped worrying about being loved and started worrying about being respected again. He said the new path he is determined to put America on is one where it has the courage to tell the truth about the problems and about the difficulties of the solutions
“Truth and hard decisions today will lead to growth and opportunity tomorrow for every American in this country,” said Christie. “We have to acknowledge that our government isn’t working anymore for us. We need to acknowledge that all of that anxiety and those failures are not the end, they’re the beginning — the beginning of what we can do together.”
Christie said he spent his years as New Jersey’s Governor fighting for fairness, justice and opportunity for the people of his home state. Now, he hopes to do the same for his country.
“That fight has not made me more weary,” said Christie. “It has made me stronger and I am now ready to fight for the people of the United States of America.”
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