(TRENTON) – Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Connie Wagner on Friday sent letters to every New Jersey legislator asking them to publicly denounce Gov. Chris Christie’s threatening language toward Sen. Loretta Weinberg.
They also urged the governor to make a public retraction and apology for his offensive remark.
On Wednesday, during a news conference, the governor urged reporters to “take the bat out” against Weinberg, a 76-year-old Democratic senator from Bergen County.
“The governor’s offensive and disturbing language has no place in decent society,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “Let’s be clear – this isn’t an issue of partisan politics. This is an issue of the governor’s lack of common decency. The Legislature needs to speak as one in denouncing the governor’s comments as unacceptable, not only toward women but to every New Jerseyan of good will who understands threatening language is wrong.”
“The governor’s comments are indefensible,” said Wagner (D-Bergen). “No one, no matter their role, should be advocating violence against a 76-year-old woman, or anyone for that matter. The governor may enjoy his rants, but the Legislature needs to make clear that the governor’s disturbing comment sets the worst example for everyone, particularly when it comes to respect toward women. New Jerseyans deserve better.”
On Wednesday, April 13, during a public media availability, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, in reference to Democratic state Senator Loretta Weinberg, asked the assembled press corps, “Can you please take the bat out on her for once?”
No matter how the governor may try to spin his comments, what he said advocated violence against women. It is not part of his charm. It is not straight talk. It is not the tough talk New Jersey needs to hear. It is offensive speech, plain and simple.
As women, we were shocked, dismayed and disgusted that anyone, let alone the governor of the New Jersey, would make these kinds of comments. With domestic violence accounting for more than a third of all crime committed in the state, we would have hoped that the governor was more attuned to the harm an individual in his position could cause by cavalierly calling for
violence against women.
As legislators, we were shocked that the governor would so flippantly and easily lend his voice to those who would like to undermine the efforts made by the New Jersey Legislature to provide equal compensation, representation and protections for women under the law. For all of us who have advocated for protecting the rights of women, particularly battered and abused women,
the governor’s words were bone chilling.
And as New Jersey residents, we could not help but think of the example the governor is setting at home and across the rest of the country. What kind of message does his comment send to the thousands of children across the state who count the governor as a role model? What kind of example does it set for those who view Gov. Christie as a rising star in politics? Will they see his usage of violent imagery against women as a tacit endorsement that they may do the same?
The governor should know better. He should especially know better after signing the anti-bullying legislation earlier this year, a measure the governor has not seen fit to follow himself.
Yet, time and time again, Gov. Christie’s actions prove otherwise, such as his continued opposition of critical health care funding for working class and poor women.
Allowing this type of hateful rhetoric to stand unchallenged is tantamount to lauding and encouraging it. And that is something we cannot allow.
If you believe, as we do, that women demand and deserve equal treatment from any and all individuals in any and all situations, we ask that you join us in condemning the governor’s comments and demanding not just that he apologize but that he make a public retraction of his deplorable and misguided statement.
Let Gov. Christie know that you stand with us and women across New Jersey by publicly condemning the governor’s comments and calling for him to make an immediate public apology and retraction.
Please register your support by calling Asw. Vainieri Huttle’s office at (201) 541-1118 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle
Assemblywoman Connie Wagner