Within the setting of the newly renamed Essex County College Public Safety Academy in Cedar Grove, Gov. Chris Christie held his 136th Town Hall Thursday, April 23. The event inside the Academy’s gymnasium attracted 220 residents and College personnel, including President Dr. Gale E. Gibson and Board of Trustees Chair Calvin Souder.
In his introduction of the governor, County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo also praised the College as the “best college in the state” under the leadership of Dr. Gibson and Mr. Souder.
“We are pleased that the Essex County College Public Safety Academy is able to offer Gov. Christie the opportunity to address state policy and give the community the chance to hear firsthand his direction,” said Dr. Gibson.
Gov. Christie opened the session by pointing out he was born in Newark and grew up in Livingston before discussing the challenges of the state budget. He then took off his jacket and spent the next hour fielding questions from the audience.
Questions included the controversial PARCC test, school construction, ways to bring healthy alternatives into school lunch programs, double dipping public employees, smoking bans in parks and disability rights.
The governor was also asked whether he will run for president. “I have to decide whether it’s right for me, right for my family and right for the country,” he replied. Gov. Christie said he will be making his decision in “May or June.”
Following the Town Hall, Acting Dean of Community and Continuing Education/West Essex Campus Elvy Vieira said she was pleased the Academy was able to host the event. “It is always good to be able to showcase our College. It is also important to show the type of things we are doing in the community.”