A Missed Moment
Thursday, March 14, 2013 • 11:57am
When I was first contacted about Governor Christie's desire to have a town hall meeting in Paterson, and at St. Luke Church I was excited. As Pastor of the St. Luke Church and President of the Paterson Branch of the NAACP my relationship with the Governor and his policies has not always been endearing. I was happy that after having been seemingly ignored or dismissed by this Governor, that the Governor now found the time to come and talk to Patersonians and give ear to the concerns of Patersonians. As a result I welcomed the opportunity to host him in the church where I serve as Pastor and in the 4th Ward of our great city.
I had hoped that the Governor would articulate to our community his vision and plan for helping Paterson and other urban cities in our state become safer, economically solvent, and educationally stable and independent. I am keenly aware that our Governor is a passionate speaker but was hopeful that we would not be deluged with political rhetoric alone.
Unfortunately my hopes and expectations were not realized. Governor Christie is without question a forceful and dynamic speaker and leader. I appreciate his courage as it relates to his willingness to confront and tackle issues and people who disagree with policies and style.
I was and am yet saddened by the Governor's blatant attack of Speaker Sheila Oliver. Governor Christie insinuated that Speaker Oliver was preventing his School's Choice bill from going to the floor of the Assembly. He made it clear that he has established and maintained a great rapport and relationship with Oliver's Democratic counterpart in the Senate, but such a relationship does not exist with Speaker Oliver. The words that the Governors chose to use in speaking of Oliver (while not even respecting her enough to call her by name) defies his earlier assertion that political leaders (himself included) need to learn to respect all views and work together for the good of the State of New Jersey.
I believe that the Governor not only owes Speaker Oliver an apology but the Paterson community as well, for his misuse of a great opportunity to unite us toward the betterment of the great Garden State.
Kenneth D.R. Clayton
President, Paterson Branch NAACP
President, United Missionary Baptist Convention of NJ, Inc.
Pastor, St. Luke Baptist Church, Paterson