Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Change in New Jersey

On Tuesday the voters of New Jersey went to the polls and elected Chris Christie as their new governor. After a bruising slugfest of a race where everything but the kitchen sink was fair game in this cage match, a victor was chosen.

Now comes the hard part - how the hell do we fix what ails us in New Jersey? Can one man alone make the kinds of sweeping, "out of the box", "move beyond your comfort zone", changes that must happen?

Well, I ask this rhetorically, because no one person can do that, and if this appearance is fostered and promoted, then we are setting up Governor-elect Christie for failure. Just look at what's happening to President Obama.

During the presidential election, he was placed not just on an incredibly high pedestal, but also revered in almost otherworldly tones. Now, he has not been able to meet those high expectations and as a result, is causing a tremendous feeling of disappointment among many who thought he was the savior.

Let's be clear. Folks wanted change, and his message galvanized and motivated many to action.

Rather, it is a call for rational, common sense expectations of what can be accomplished by one person, fighting a beauracracy and culture that predates him by many decades, and will still be there well after the governor-elect is gone.

Now, having said that, do I think that governor-elect Christie can make a positive difference? ABSOLUTELY! He has the intelligence, guts and stubborness of purpose to do what is needed.

His challenge initially however, is to surround himself with quality folks to help him!

And I mean a diverse cross-section of talent.

This state is a melting pot of ethnicities and political ideologies. To truly govern in this critically important time, it is imperative that we open our dialogue to voices other than our own.

To heal this state from the "us verses them" stances of political campaigns, reaching out to others is a requirement - and in a substantive manner, not just as window dressing.

Many folks I've talked to - inside political types and more importantly,to regular folks who don't follow it as closely - have asked whether a Christie adminstration will be a diverse one.

The Republican party has fallen woefully short on this in recent years, a fact which generated the question in the first place.

Governor-elect Christie has an excellent opportunity to help turn this around. I am a big fan of Christie, and I firmly believe that he will - but time will tell.

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