Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who once told an attendee at his town hall to “sit down and shut up,” is launching a new project that has some scratching their heads, according to New York Public Radio.
The Republican recently announced he is starting the nonprofit and nonpartisan Christie Institute of Public Policy — a think tank centered on civility in politics.
The organization will be based out of Christie’s law office in New Jersey and “will fund research into public policy solutions, finance scholarships for law students interested in public office and public policy, and present a quarterly lecture series moderated by Christie himself.”
"Unfortunately our politics have gotten so ugly and divisive in the country that people are not having civilized conversations,” the former governor told NJ Advance Media.
The Christie Institute’s first event will include Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, with whom NYPR noted “Christie worked when he was in office, most memorably in raising tolls and blocking reforms at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.”
Christie’s former law partner, Bill Palatucci, will now serve as the think tank’s chairman of the board.
"We've got big issues and big problems facing our country and the world, frankly," he said. "And how do we work together in a bipartisan fashion to address those and make progress? That's the purpose of the institute."
Palatucci said people need to look beyond Christie’s assertive and at times overbearing style of leadership as New Jersey governor and focus instead on his ability to work with those across the aisle.