Chris Christie involved in ‘bridge-gate’ scandal

Chris Christie
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a news conference Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, at the Statehouse in Trenton. A day after revelations that Christie’s administration may have closed highway lanes to exact political retribution, the prospective Republican presidential candidate is faced with what may be the biggest test in his political career (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Avery Wood
Current Affairs Editor

Recently reelected governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, and his staff have been involved in a scandal that the media is calling Bridge-gate.

The bridge-gate scandal entailed the closure of two of the three lanes connecting Fort Lee, New Jersey to the George Washington Bridge. The lanes approaching the bridge, which is the busiest in the world, were closed unexpectedly on September 9th and Port Authority claimed it was part of a traffic study. The Port Authority is the authority in the area on bridges, tunnels, and air travel and its members are appointed by the governors of both New York and New Jersey.

The day the closure began was coincidentally the first day of school for many students in the area. It lasted for four days and caused a severe traffic jam. The unexpected closure caused the media to ask questions about why the lanes were closed and why the local authorities were not informed, while Democrats were claiming that the closures were politically motivated, but had no proof.

On January 5th, it was revealed that subpoenaed emails and text messages from members of Christie’s staff were involved in plotting the closures, including the appointees from the Port Authority.  The messages appear to be initiated by one of Christie’s staff members, Bridget Anne Kelly, to Port Authority member David Wildstein.

Kelly says, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” and Wildstein responds with “got it.” The conversation goes on and one of the people involved expresses concern about troubles getting children to school. The response to this is that “They are the children of Buono voters.” Buono was Christie’s opponent in the elections last November.

There is speculation, but no proof, that all of this started because Christie did not receive support from the mayor of Fort Lee, who is a democrat while Christie is a republican. While it would often be unusual for a republican to expect a democrat to support him, he is supported by a few including state Senate President Stephen Sweeney.

Christie answered questions at a two hour long press conference, during which he apologized profusely and claimed that he had nothing to do with the scandal and no knowledge that his staff had planned it. The two participants were fired and there is no decision on whether criminal action will be taken.

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