At 129 minutes, the "town hall" meeting Gov. Chris Christie held in Belmar this winter has the distinction of being the longest of the 100 town hall meetings the governor has led.
In marking the 100th event, the governor's office announced how the town halls — which feature the governor surrounded by seated New Jerseyans as he gives a speech and answers audience questions — have stacked up.
For example more than 1,100 have attended and asked questions of the governor. Belmar made the list of notable town halls, in that it was the longest, clocking in at 129 minutes in a packed Belmar Borough Hall on Main Street.
The town halls are held throughout the state where ever the governor schedules them, and more than 30,000 people have attended, according to the governor's office. None of them have started on time.
Belmar's town hall, held Dec. 20, was the 99th such event, and was also the first after Hurricane Sandy, hosted by the borough which saw much storm devastation and predicts years of rebuilding. Christie's comments that day focused on the now-approved federal aid bill for Hurricane Sandy, and urging bipartisanship in solving the issues Sandy created.
In Bradley Beach Monday, Christie was asked whether the town halls would begin to resemble campaign events, as the governor seeks another term. He said absolutely not and hopes to continue the town halls as the year proceeds.
In a Jan. 14 press conference, Christie said the town halls have created a level of transparency and access for the office of governor. Though he's received cheers and jeers throughout his term's town halls, Christie said he's proud of the events.
“Wednesday will be the 100th one that I’ve done since I’ve been Governor," he said that day. "I’m proud to have that level of transparency in our administration and that level of accessibility for people to be able to just show up at a gymnasium or at a school or at a community center in their town and have the opportunity to ask me a question flat out, face to face. I wish governors in the past had done more of that. I think it’s a good thing to do and I’ll continue to do it.”