Chris Daggett on the need to fight corruption in NJ

Below is a copy of a speech given by Chris Daggett during the announcement for Lt. Governor.

chris_727_speech1Those of you who know me know my style is not to be rash or impulsive. So in order to make a thoughtful and measured response, I wanted to give myself time to reflect on the raids and corruption charges of last week.

Like everyone else in New Jersey, the more I thought about those events, the more they made me sick to my stomach. Despite what the late-night comics believe, this is not funny. It’s a national embarrassment. Our elected officials make the corrupt politicians in Illinois look like Eagle Scouts. Once again, they have made New jersey a punch line, and it starts right at the top and it involves both Republicans and Democrats.

When are we, the voters of New Jersey, going to say we’ve had enough? When are we going to wake up and realize – short of putting our elected officials in red or blue prison jumpsuits – that today it makes no difference whether we put Republicans or Democrats in office? The cancer of corruption, both outside the law and under the cover of law, is so deeply embedded in our government that – unless we are going to put the FBI on a monthly retainer and watch every meeting of our politicians – only a truly big change is going to make any difference.

We, the people of New Jersey, need to take our government back. We need to send a message to Trenton by throwing out Jon Corzine and his inept administration and turning our backs on Chris Christie and the Republicans who simply represent more of the same. Because as we’ve seen time and time again, “Different” doesn’t mean “Better”, and throwing everybody in jail isn’t going to solve the problem.

I have studiously avoided making any campaign promises to date, but I am here today to promise you two things:

– If you elect an independent governor, for the first time in New Jersey history, you will get your money’s worth from state government. A Daggett administration will only appoint the best person for each government job, whether that person is from the public or private sector, and regardless of party affiliation or lack thereof.

And only an Independent governor can do this. Only an Independent governor, with the backing of the most powerful constituency in the state- you, the voters of New Jersey – can do this devoid of partisan politics. As an Independent, I do not have party favors to pay back. I do not have special interests to kowtow to. I do not have to hire some politician’s lamebrain cousin and put him in a featherbed government job because he is a partisan party hack who can’t make a living in the private sector.

That’s what got us into this mess, and we shouldn’t stand for it anymore.

-Secondly, in the first month of my administration, I will visit every department of New Jersey state government. My message will be very simple: the old rules are gone. If you aren’t productive in your job, you will be deemed unnecessary. If you know how to do your job better, or to make your department function more efficiently, or if you have some ideas on how we can serve the people of New Jersey better, now is the time to bring those ideas forward. If party politics were in the way before, they’re not now. If what was holding you back before was making your political-appointee-boss-who-doesn’t-understand-how-the-department-works look bad, it isn’t any longer.

Only an Independent governor can do this. It is the best – not to mention the only – way to greater efficiency in government and to cut government spending – which are the first steps to making life in New Jersey more affordable for all our citizens.

truth_isI don’t make these promises lightly. I know we are competing against 100 years of party politics and the entrenched powers in the Democratic and Republican parties. But if we haven’t had enough by now – if we aren’t going to do this, starting today- when will it ever happen?

We not only can win in this cancerous environment, we will win- with your help. My independent campaign is the first independent campaign ever to qualify for matching funds and for all of the major debates.

So I have a challenge for you -what is it worth to take your state back? What would you invest in New Jersey to make it honest, functional and affordable again? $100, $500, $1,000? Whatever it is, your money is now worth more than ever before. Every dollar you contribute to change New Jersey is now worth three dollars to our campaign.

If just 33,000 New Jerseyans contribute $100 each, we will have raised the maximum the state will match, and it will give us the resources we need to change New Jersey forever. Please go to our website at to make yourself heard.

The only way to get real change in New Jersey this years is to elect an independent governor. If you’ve had enough, if what’s happened in New Jersey makes you as sick and angry as it has made me, please join our campaign and send a message to the Republicans and Democrats in Trenton. They have abused our trust for the last time. It is past time to take our government back from them.


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