Sarah Gonzalez, Reporter, WNYC/NJPR
Sarah Gonzalez is the northern New Jersey enterprise reporter for WNYC and NJPR.
Gov. Chris Christie publicly supported granting in-state tuition rates to undocumented students in New Jersey during Tuesday’s debate.
He was asked if he had changed his position on the issue given a 2011 statement he made at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
“I want every child who comes to New Jersey to be educated,” Christie said in 2011. “But I don’t believe that for those people who came here illegally, we should be subsidizing with taxpayer money, through in-state tuition their education.”
Christie said his support now is not a change in position.
“I’ve never been opposed to tuition-equality,” Christie said on Tuesday. “What I have been opposed to is making that choice when there are other choices that we needed to make in the budget.”
Given the economic climate, Christie said it’s now the time to talk to the legislature about how the state could fund tuition-equality.
During the debate the Governor was also asked how he would respond if one of his kids came to him one day saying they were gay.
“I would grab them and hug them and tell them I love them,” Christie said. “But what I would also tell them is that Dad believes that marriage is between one man and one woman.”
His opponent Barbara Buono, who has an openly gay daughter, urged the governor not to appeal the state’s same-sex-marriage court decision.
Christie was also asked if he could govern New Jersey and run for president.
“I don't know,” Christie said. “Because I’ve never run for president.”
But he said he would run the state the same way if he is re-elected.
But Buono argued it has already interfered with his job -- saying the Governor spends about a quarter of his time out of the state.
“This governor is running we already know it,” Buono said. “He’s already gone and I think we ought to return the favor on Nov. 5.”
She said she doesn't car if he runs President in 2016, but how he runs.
"That he’s sacrificing the safety of our children by vetoing common sense gun laws just to cater to the Republican right and the NRA because they play big on Republican Presidential primaries."