The New Jersey Environmental Federation (NJEF), the Garden State chapter of Clean Water Action, is endorsing Chris Christie as the environmental candidate in this year's governor's race - the first ever for a Republican in a statewide race.
This decision was not made lightly. It was the result of a long, very difficult, rigorous process conducted by NJEF's Vote Environment Committee (VEC), which takes our political endorsement work very seriously and believes it to be crucial to the advancement of environmental protection in New Jersey.
For many months, VEC has been concentrating on the gubernatorial race, listening, analyzing and discussing the race and the candidates, while keeping our focus on environmental issues.
The VEC conducted extensive research and surveys on all the candidates, collected questionnaires, and conducted interviews with Governor Jon Corzine, Chris Christie, and Independent candidate Chris Daggett.
In making our endorsement decision we weigh a number of factors, but we always stress two: the candidate's commitment to the environment and his willingness to work with us on our issues.
Out of all the candidates, Christie has laid out by far the most impressive green agenda in this year's race. In addition, he consistently expressed a strong commitment to the environment and certainly demonstrated a willingness to work with us.
We also believe our endorsement was necessary to create a road block against the current legislature, the most anti-environmental in recent history. The Governor, as leader of the majority, has a responsibility to work hard to turn this around, a responsibility Corzine has shrunk away from.
Governor Corzine has also repeatedly broken promises, weakened important environmental and public health protections even when the science and economics justified stronger protections, and has made only weak, vague statements about his commitment to improve over the next 4 years.
In contrast, Chris Christie has committed to:
In addition, other key planks of the Christie environmental platform that stands in stark contrast to the Corzine record include but are not limited to:
We expect our political leaders to take on our environmental issues and problems, and provide good solutions that are in the best interest of the environment and our public who depend upon clean air, water and soil. When that fails, it is time for change.
We believe that the change we seek will be found in Chris Christie.
We need a backstop from the governor's office. Someone who is not afraid of controversy and saying "no more" in the name of protecting the environment, public health, ethics and creating a green economy for all. And we believe that Chris Christie is such a person.