Christie taps two Dems for key N.J. jobs

 Gov. Chris Christie, left, had nominated Democrat Jamie Fox to lead the New Jersey Department of Transportation. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Gov. Chris Christie, left, had nominated Democrat Jamie Fox to lead the New Jersey Department of Transportation. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Gov. Chris Christie is nominating some Democrats for key positions in New Jersey state government.

 

 

Christie’s choice to lead the state Department of Transportation has been involved in Democratic politics for years. Jamie Fox worked for former U.S. Sen. Bob Torricelli as well as Govs. Jim Florio and Jim McGreevey.

Fox, who ran the transportation department before becoming McGreevey’s chief of staff in 2002, said he’s looking forward to being commissioner again.

“Which is the best job I ever had in my life in my previous stint in government,” he said Thursday. “You’re allowing me to go back to something that I love, and I believe that is important for the state both for its economy and for obviously transportation and moving around.”

Christie also selected Democratic Assemblyman Upendra Chivakula to be a Board of Public Utilities commissioner. If confirmed, he’d have to give up his seat in the legislature.

Legislative leaders were quick to applaud Christie’s choices.

Saying selecting Fox is one of the best decisions Christie has made, Senate President Steve Sweeney said he believes Fox will work with lawmakers to find a solution to fund needed transportation improvements.

Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto said New Jersey has no better advocate for consumer and modern utility reform than Chivakula, D-Somerset.

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