Christie taps former attorney general, a Democrat, to lead Port Authority

 John Degnan, left, makes a statement after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie introduced him as his choice to be next chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, in Trenton, N.J., Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Christie put forth Degnan, a former state attorney general, to be the next chairman of the embattled agency at the center of the traffic jams scandal that has clouded the Republican governor's political future. Degnan is a registered Democrat who served as attorney general from 1978 to 1981.(Mel Evans/AP Photo)

John Degnan, left, makes a statement after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie introduced him as his choice to be next chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, in Trenton, N.J., Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Christie put forth Degnan, a former state attorney general, to be the next chairman of the embattled agency at the center of the traffic jams scandal that has clouded the Republican governor's political future. Degnan is a registered Democrat who served as attorney general from 1978 to 1981.(Mel Evans/AP Photo)

Gov. Chris Christie has recommended former New Jersey Attorney General John Degnan as the new chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Degnan, a registered Democrat, is a person of “unquestioned integrity” and well suited to be Port Authority chairman, Christie said Tuesday.

Degnan would replace David Samson who resigned as chairman last month amid ethics complaints that he voted on contracts that benefited his private law firm.

The state Senate must approve the nomination of Degnan to fill a vacancy on the Port Authority commission. Christie can then nominate him to serve as chairman.

The Port Authority runs the bridge in the midst of the George Washington Bridge traffic jam scandal that’s involved former members of Christie’s administraton.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the co-chairman of the legislative committee investigating the bridge scandal, said Tuesday he looks forward to hearing how Degnan intends to confront fiscal woes and poor management at the Port Authority.

During a 32-minute news conference, Christie also said he expects his press secretary Michael Drewniak will answer a subpoena and testify before the committee next month.

“I don’t see any reason why not. We have completely cooperated with any and all appropriate ongoing investigations, and I assume that folks will continue to do that,” Chrisitie said. “We have not restricted people’s ability to cooperate in any way with appropriate investigations. And as long as that continues, we will continue to cooperate.”

Other trusted Christie advisers have resigned over their part in creating the the massive traffic jam in September.

 

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