Governor Christie: One of the reasons I agreed to come and talk about this today is because of him. Now the reason I say that is we need people who have had great accomplishments in their life, from both parties, being willing to work together with each other. And you know, all too often we set up a system in our political affairs where that becomes impossible, or if not impossible, frowned upon to the point where people become reluctant to do it. And I can tell you that from the time I’ve become Governor, I’ve reached out to him for advice and to urge him to get out more in public. Because even though we don’t agree on every issue or nearly every issue - if we sat down and did a list of public policy issues, right? I mean it would be a relatively spartan list, right, that McGreevey and I agreed on. But what I will tell you is that has never stopped him from giving me advice. When you’re in these jobs, the advice you can get from somebody who’s actually sat in the chair is qualitatively different than the advice you can get from anybody else. I want him to continue to be a leader in this state on issues that he’s passionate about and cares about. And I want all of you to see that no matter what disagreements we may have on other issues, when we agree on something, we’re going to work together to try to make it happen and force, because we’ve been leaders in the highest office in this state, and force the people underneath us; the legislators, the mayors, the council people, the freeholders, the county executives, to not allow the partisan barriers to get up between them to prevent progress because if we can do it, then everybody else beneath us in terms of office status should be able to do it too. So his invitation today was really welcome and I appreciate it.
Governor McGreevey: Before the Governor leaves I just want to say a heartfelt thank you and I wasn’t even going to say this but you know obviously I’ve had my own challenges in life and there have been few people who have been as decent and kind and compassionate and good as Chris Christie. And so I want to thank him for being here today. I want to thank him for clear, strong, powerful voice as to the need for treatment over incarceration, for visiting our women in Hudson County, for Mary Pat coming to Integrity in the basement of one of our facilities and spending hours with our women and for the Governor being here at the mayor’s conference, to lifting up his voice, not only here in Hudson County, not only in this state, but god willing, nationally so that America can be her best not only for those in this room, but for those sitting in prison cells throughout this country. Governor, on behalf of all of us, a heartfelt thank you and blessed Easter.
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I’m pro-life and I believe strongly in the sanctity of life and as do many of my conservative, fellow conservative governors and I say to them you know, it’s great to be pro-life but you need to be pro-life after they get out of the womb too. We have to be pro-life all the way along. And sometimes life presents us with challenges to being pro-life. People make mistakes. People anger us. People do things that we can’t understand and it becomes harder at that moment to be pro-life but if we believe in the sanctity of life then we need to believe in how life is precious for every moment that God gives us. Not only the really good moments, but the really tough moments too.
And so if in fact we believe life is precious and I do, then the life of the drug addicted teenager who has been arrested for the sixth time is just as precious as the lives of any one of my children. The life of the 45 year old lawyer who is addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol is just as precious as any one of the prosecutors who ever worked for me. the life of the 65 year old woman who has spent her entire life helping others and then falls victim to alcohol or drug abuse is just as precious as the life of my own father. Now these are things that we need to stand up for. And it’s hard to stand up for them. But if you’re going to be pro-life, you’ve got to be pro-life the entire journey, not just the beginning of it. So I think if you talk to conservative leaders and say to them yes there is a class of people who deserve to be incarcerated and whether conservative or moderate or liberal, whatever you call yourself, you don’t want violent people on the street.
Nobody does. It doesn’t matter what neighborhood you live in, you don’t want a violent person armed on your street that may hurt you or your children or your other loved ones or your neighbors. But we also have to understand that there is a class of people who will benefit much more from us reaching out a helping hand to them and understanding that we’re all flawed and we all make mistakes and we all at some moment in our lives need help. I just recently lost a dear friend to alcohol and drug abuse. And I could tell you that as we all stood around at his wake at 52 years old, that all of us were in a sense at the same moment of disbelief and inevitability. I said to my wife that night, is it possible to be completely stunned and not the least bit surprised at the same time. And I can tell you from just having experienced this, it is absolutely possible. I knew we all tried to reach out to this friend and help him for nearly a decade and he continued not to be able to deal with the ravage that this addiction did to him. And at the same time though, I was completely stunned that a guy who had been a dear friend of mine for 30 years was laying there in that coffin because he couldn’t deal with the illness that he had. When I tell you everybody that this can happen to everybody, when I talk about this over and over at town hall meetings, it’s because it can and it does every day. So I don’t believe this is a conservative or moderate or liberal issue. I don’t believe this is a Republican or Democrat issue because let me tell you, I know as many drug addicted Republicans as I know drug addicted Democrats. It just is what it is. Because alcohol, prescription drugs, heroin, cocaine, they don’t ask you for your party registration card when the drug dealer is selling it to you.