What They're Saying: A “Promising New Era” For Higher Education

Jersey Comeback

Governor Christie’s Signing Of The “Landmark” Higher Education Reorganization Bill “Will Create A World-Class Network Of Institutions” And “Transform Higher Education In New Jersey”

“This is a transformative and historic day for higher education in New Jersey. After decades of politics getting in the way of a desperately needed rethinking and restructuring of our higher education system, we have again come together in a bipartisan way to put our state’s students, our long-term economic viability and our future generations first.” – Governor Chris Christie, Statement On Higher Education Reorganization, Press Release, August 22, 2012

Higher Education Experts

Chairman Of The Rutgers University Board of Governors Ralph Izzo: “This marks the beginning of a new era for Rutgers and higher education in the state of New Jersey …” (Rutgers University, “Gov. Christie Signs Higher Ed Restructuring Legislation Positioning Rutgers as National Leader,” Press Release, 8/22/12)

  • Izzo: “The integration of an academic medical center into Rutgers adds tremendous value to the entire university and the state. We will be well-positioned to dramatically improve our ability to win federal grants, attract top-flight faculty and students, expand health care options for New Jersey residents and foster economic growth.
  • Izzo: “The bill that the governor signed today is a demonstration of the progress that can be made when leaders of both political parties work together …”

Rutgers University interim president Richard L. Edwards: “The blending of Rutgers and UMDNJ faculty and staff will produce an extraordinarily talented and vibrant university community …” (Rutgers University, “Gov. Christie Signs Higher Ed Restructuring Legislation Positioning Rutgers as National Leader,” Press Release, 8/22/12) 

  • Edwards: “The strategic integration of UMDNJ into Rutgers will leverage our combined biomedical research strengths to create a major academic and health science powerhouse with newly energized campuses in Camden, Newark, New Brunswick and Piscataway.”

Rutgers University Vice President Peter McDonough: “[T]he benefits are enormous.’’ (Patricia Alex, “Christie Signs Bill Merging UMDNJ Into Rutgers,” The Record, 8/22/12) 

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Chair Kevin M. Barry & Interim President Denise V. Rodgers: “The signing today by Governor Christie of the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Restructuring Act brings us an important step closer to a goal we all share – realizing the enormous potential of health sciences education in this State.” (University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Press Release, 8/22/12) 

  • Barry & Rodgers: “We thank Governor Christie and the legislative leadership — especially Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Oliver — and others for their diligence and resolution in achieving a structure that will benefit all of New Jersey.”
  • Barry & Rodgers: “We embrace this promising new era for all of higher education in New Jersey.”

Higher Education Secretary Rochelle Hendricks: “After decades of decades of analysis and indecision, (the governor and legislature) demonstrated the courage to act and willingness to compromise to get things done …” (Minhaj Hassan, “Christie signs Higher Education reorg bill,” Politicker NJ, 8/22/12)

Legislative Leaders

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford) “called the bill signing a ‘legacy moment’ for the state ...” (Melinda Caliendo, “Christie Signs Higher Ed Reform Bill, Ushering In New Era For Rutgers,” NJ BIZ, 8/22/12)

  • Sweeney: “Standing still means you die … The Rutgers that we’re going to know is going to be unbelievable great.” (Minhaj Hassan, “Christie signs Higher Education reorg bill,” Politicker NJ, 8/22/12)


Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic): “This was always about creating a better and stronger New Jersey and building a better future, and in the end the bill sent to the governor was written in a way to ensure that indeed is the case. I look forward to seeing the progress it brings in the coming years.” (Assembly Democrats, “Speaker Oliver Welcomes Long-Term Benefits of NJ’s Higher Ed Restructuring,” Press Release, 8/22/12)

  • Oliver: “The reorganization will position New Jersey to develop economic opportunity and jobs in the health professions - the fastest growing sector of our nation's economy - to the benefit of not just Newark and surrounding counties but the state as a whole. This is a good thing for everyone.”


Assembly Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex): “This law will elevate educational opportunities for all New Jersey students, regardless of where they live.” (Assembly Democrats, “Wisniewski, Prieto & Riley on Signing of ‘New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act,’” Press Release, 8/22/12)

  • Wisniewski: “Providing New Jersey students with the resources they need and deserve to pursue their dreams in New Jersey is the right thing to create a better future. This is great progress for our state."


 Assembly Budget Chairman Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen): “This is a substantial step toward a higher education system that gives all New Jersey students world-class higher educational opportunities - regardless of region, county or ZIP code.” (Assembly Democrats, “Wisniewski, Prieto & Riley on Signing of ‘New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act,’” Press Release, 8/22/12)

  • Prieto: “Our goal is to give New Jersey students the top-notch higher education opportunities they deserve, and that’s what this law aims to accomplish. This opens to the door to new opportunities for our students and state.”


Assembly Higher Education Chairwoman Celeste Riley (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland): “For too many years, our state's students have been denied the full state support and resources they need to pursue those dreams, but this law puts New Jersey on track for a brighter future.” (Assembly Democrats, “Wisniewski, Prieto & Riley on Signing of ‘New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act,’” Press Release, 8/22/12)

Senator Joseph F. Vitale (D-Middlesex): “This transformative legislation will provide our universities with a competitive advantage in the medical and life science programs …” (Senate Democrats, “Vitale Statement on Signing of Transformative Medical Education Restructuring Bill,’” Press Release, 8/22/12)

  • Vitale: “This restructuring creates a ‘perfect match’ between the medical and academic institutions in New Jersey.”
  • Vitale: “This is good for education, for medical care and for economic progress.”

Senator Donald Norcross (D-Camden, Gloucester): “Today we saw the signing of landmark legislation that will transform higher education in New Jersey. This restructuring will create a world-class network of institutions in the area of life sciences that will spur research and development, create new jobs and fuel economic growth.” (Senate Democrats, “Senator Norcross Statement on Signing of Historic Higher Education Legislation,’” Press Release, 8/22/12)

  • Norcross: “For nearly a decade, administrations and lawmakers have attempted to reorganize higher education in New Jersey in a way that would improve academics and enhance our state’s overall competitiveness. Today we celebrate victory.”



The Wall Street Journal: “Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation Wednesday to reorganize three state universities, one of the largest restructurings of New Jersey’s colleges in decades and a hard-fought political victory for the Republican governor.” (Heather Haddon, “Christie Approves N.J. College Reorganization,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/22/12)

  • “Discussions around reorganizing the state’s universities date back more than a decade. The financial and political complexities of a merger caused them to stall. Christie’s ability to push the reorganization through the Democratically controlled legislation is a significant victory for his administration …”


The Record:“Rutgers, the state university, is poised to grow substantially in size and stature – gaining coveted dental and medical schools – thanks to a bill signed into law by Governor Christie Wednesday.” (Patricia Alex, “Christie Signs Bill Merging UMDNJ Into Rutgers,” The Record, 8/22/12)

  • “[C]hristie succeeded where two of his immediate predecessors failed in a major reorganization of some of the state’s largest schools.”


NJ BIZ: “Christie Signs Higher Ed Reform Bill, Ushering In New Era For Rutgers” (Melinda Caliendo, “Christie Signs Higher Ed Reform Bill, Ushering In New Era For Rutgers,” NJ BIZ, 8/22/12) 

  • “The higher education reorganization compromise that's taken decades to be hammered into its current form at last becomes law today.”

Governor Christie Has Acted On His Strong Commitment To Protect New Jersey’S Beaches And Waterways

Since Taking Office, Governor Christie Has Made The Preservation of New Jersey’s Shore A Top Priority:
  • Restored beach replenishment funding to its full level;
  • Enacted Fiscal Year 2011 and 2012 Budgets that keep all parks, historic sites and wildlife operations running;
  • Signed legislation appropriating nearly $1.5 billion in zero- and low-cost loans for crucial water and sewer infrastructure projects across the state over two years;
  • Signed legislation appropriating $157 million for open space across New Jersey, including preservation projects in the Barnegat Bay watershed, on the Cape May peninsula and along urban waterfronts;
  • Maintained unwavering opposition to drilling offshore New Jersey;
  • Maintained unwavering opposition to liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities off of New Jersey's coastline, including the veto of a proposed deepwater operation 16 miles off the coast of Asbury Park, preventing construction and operation of 44 miles of submerged pipeline and an offshore port to receive foreign vessels transporting LNG to the U.S. for regasification.
    • In April 2012, the company looking to build the facility officially withdrew its application. Environmentalists are claiming victory for the withdrawal, which follows Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of the proposed facility more than a year ago. ’The people and the governor have been saying ‘no,’ and finally, it sunk in,’ said Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action, based in Sandy Hook. ’This was a real grassroots victory of the power of the people.’”(Kathleen Hopkins, “Proposal for offshore liquefied natural gas port withdrawn, Asbury Park Press, April 25, 2012)
  • Proposed a comprehensive 10-point initiative to restore and protect Barnegat Bay, which the Administration continues to implement aggressively, including negotiating the December 2010 agreement with Exelon to close Oyster Creek 10 years ahead of license expiration;
  • Enacted the most restrictive standards in the nation for nitrogen content in fertilizer and application rates for use, which will reduce nutrient pollution in Barnegat Bay and statewide;
  • Enacted law that will reduce post-construction soil compaction to reduce stormwater runoff and nonpoint source pollution in Barnegat Bay and all of New Jersey's waterways;
  • Adopted a narrative nutrient criteria rule to establish rigorous water quality standards;
  • Clearly stated a policy of no new coal-fired power plants in New Jersey, which will reduce pollutants deposited to waterways as well as improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and memorialized that commitment in the State’s 2011 Energy Master Plan;
  • Created a Barnegat Bay Water Quality Monitoring Network to obtain scientific data on pollutants entering the Bay as part of 10-point plan to restore Barnegat Bay in addition to maintaining New Jersey's Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program nationally recognized by the EPA as one of the best in the nation.
  • Continued to advocate--both publicly and in the courts--a strong position against the dredging project to deepen the Delaware River;
  • Signed legislation creating a free State saltwater fishing registry in New Jersey, allowing New Jersey anglers to avoid a $15 federal saltwater registration fee.


Governor Chris Christie: “Whether it’s standing against offshore drilling or liquefied natural gas facilities that would industrialize the coastline, or aggressively pursuing a comprehensive plan to restore the ecological health of Barnegat Bay, protecting New Jersey’s shore is a top priority of my Administration.”


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Press Contact:
Michael Drewniak
Kevin Roberts

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