Governor Christie: I Never Forget How Lucky I am
: My mom had a high school education, never went to college, raised a family. My dad was the first in his family, through all the generations, to ever get a chance to go to college, and you know how he did it? He worked at the Breyers Ice Cream plant in Newark during the day, and he went to Rutgers-Newark at night, and paid for his own school through that and the GI Bill because he served in the United States Army. And when he left the Army after the Korean War he came home, worked at that ice cream plant, and met a guy on the line in the ice cream plant who said to him, you’re a smart young guy. What are you going to do with your life? And he says I like this job. It’s a good job. I like working at the ice cream plant. And he said son, this ice cream plant ain’t going to be here forever, and he said you’re too smart to do this. Go to college. You’re a veteran. Take advantage of the GI Bill. Go to college at night. My father lived in Hillside, and so he went to Rutgers in Newark. Six years it took him to get through because he could only go a certain number of classes because that’s all he could afford. And he eventually graduated. It’s our first family picture. It’s in June of 1962. My mother was five months pregnant with me, standing next to my father in a cap and gown, so proud that he had worked and they had worked together hard enough to be able to start a life together and have him go to college and graduate with a degree in accounting, and he became a certified public accountant and that’s what he did for the rest of his life. I mean think about from that beginning, I was born a few months later in September, went home to a fourth floor walkup apartment at the corner of South Orange Avenue and 14th Street in Newark, right across from West Side High School, and—yeah, sure. That building is gone now by the way. It’s just a vacant lot, but from that I don’t know what my mother and father were thinking the day they brought me home from the hospital. But I can bet that they weren’t thinking there sits the 55th Governor of the State of New Jersey. Probably not. They were still mortified that they had actually named me Chris Christie, which is a whole other story which I’ll tell at another town hall meeting about how I got my mistaken name. But think about that, about what a great country this is and what a great state this is, that you, the people of this state, believed enough in somebody who had those beginnings to give me the chance twice to be the governor of the state where I was born and raised. You need to know that no matter the ups and downs that happen in this job and they happen to everybody, that I never ever forget how lucky I am to have the opportunity that you all have given me, and what motivates me every day to try to do better is that chance that you’ve given me.
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South River Town Hall
March 18, 2014