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Another View -- Donna Sytek: Why I'm supporting Chris Christie for President

December 02. 2015 11:33PM

Like many New Hampshire voters, I have spent the past year sizing up the presidential candidates who have come here seeking support. After many town halls, house parties, policy forums, and personal conversations with most of the major Republican candidates, I have decided to support Gov. Chris Christie.

I believe our next President needs to have executive experience. As a conservative governor of New Jersey for the past seven years, Chris Christie has been a strong leader, making tough decisions to cut 800 programs to address a huge budget deficit without raising taxes, and significantly reducing the unfunded liability of the public pension system.

This is all the more remarkable because he accomplished these things working with a Democratic legislature.

Besides these fiscal challenges, Gov. Christie had to deal with natural disasters as well, leading the response to Superstorm Sandy which devastated the Jersey shore.

One of my top issues is the $18 trillion national debt, driven largely by payments for entitlements and interest. I have asked each candidate what he or she would do to assure that vital programs will be there for future generations. Most acknowledged the problem but offered only vague solutions and platitudes.

Chris Christie, on the other hand, was first to unveil a detailed plan back in April that puts Social Security and Medicare on a path to solvency.

I was impressed that he would stick his neck out and take a necessary but perhaps unpopular position. Gov. Christie is a leader who isn’t afraid to tell voters what they need to know, not just what they want to hear.

His town halls are called “telling it like it is,” and he genuinely appreciates the opportunity to answer voters’ questions. No talking points for him, just candid answers based on his experience and political philosophy.

His stories of the effects of addiction on his law school classmate and his mother are not only moving, they demonstrate his personal commitment to treatment for those struggling with substance use disorders. He is unapologetic about being pro-life and is clear that his commitment doesn’t end after the first nine months, but extends to the drug-addicted teenager on the floor of the county lockup.

As chairman of the NH Adult Parole Board, I have seen too many inmates serving time for offenses committed to support a drug habit, when treatment would have been a more humane and cost effective alternative. Gov. Christie’s drug court initiative combining treatment and close supervision in the community has served to reduce incarceration and recidivism to the extent that New Jersey is looking to close a prison.

It is not surprising that a sitting governor would have expertise in domestic issues. Recent terrorist attacks in Paris and elsewhere have made national security a front burner issue once again.

Gov. Christie’s account of his family’s experience on 9/11, when for five hours he was unable to reach his wife who worked near the World Trade Center, powerfully explains why keeping our country safe is personal for him. His recent speech at the Council on Foreign Relations demonstrated his depth of understanding of the critical role America plays in world affairs. His talk at the Sunshine Summit laid out his view that the President’s chief obligation is to protect American interests, because if we don’t take care of ourselves, no one else will.

We need a President who understands the threats facing our country, and has the temperament and experience to tackle them head on. Chris Christie’s record as federal prosecutor and governor shows that he is the man for the job. I am proud to support him for the Republican nomination for President of the United States.

Donna Sytek is former Speaker of the New Hampshire House

Presidential Guest Commentary Chris Christie

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