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What does Chris Christie believe? Where the candidate stands on 10 issues

BY and   June 30, 2015 at 10:22 AM EST
New Jersey Governor and probably 2016 Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire April 17, 2015. Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire, in April. Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

He’s a lawyer, a former Wall Street lobbyist and a Bruce Springsteen superfan. Chris Christie’s undergraduate degree comes from the University of Delaware, where he spent his only significant time outside of his native New Jersey. In his early 30s, he lost a race for State Assembly, then, as he turned 40, won confirmation as U.S. Attorney for New Jersey. The two-term Republican governor of a blue state, Chris Christie is also a Little League coach and father of four. Here’s where he stands on 10 big issues:

Climate Change: Climate change is real and at least partially man-made. Approve the Keystone Pipeline. Skeptical of cap and trade.

In May, Christie told a crowd in Keene, New Hampshire, that he believes climate change is real and caused at least in part by human activity. Previously, at a November 2010 town hall, the governor said he was not convinced about the role of mankind and needed more scientific proof. He opposes cap and trade — in 2011, Christie scrapped a regional cap and trade initiative that would have capped carbon dioxide emissions across 10 states.

On energy policy, Christie would approve the Keystone-XL Pipeline and has three times vetoed legislation geared to limit fracking. He signed a bill to expand renewable energy in New Jersey by bringing wind turbines to the state’s coastline. A regulatory panel appointed by Christie has since blocked installation and there is debate over whether the governor still supports the idea.

Watch the PBS NewsHour Democratic Primary Debate, 9 p.m. EST Feb. 11, on your local PBS station, and in our live stream, which will begin at 8:30 p.m.

Education: End Common Core. Waive No Child Left Behind rules for states.

At the CPAC conservative summit in February, Christie said he regrets signing onto Common Core as New Jersey governor because of the way the program was implemented. He said that local and state governments need more control over standards. In 2013, he touted his decision to sign on to Common Core as part of President Obama’s Race to the Top initiative.

In March, Christie filed to renew his state’s waiver giving it more flexibility in how it implements No Child Left Behind requirements.

Guns: Do not ban assault weapons. Support some gun control. Focus on addressing mental health issues.

Christie wants mental health records included in background checks at the time of gun purchases. The governor vetoed a ban on a powerful model of assault weapon after originally advocating for the ban in the aftermath of mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. He said the bill went too far by penalizing those who already owned the guns.

He told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday in November 2013 that the country should be more aggressive about dealing with mental health issues associated with gun violence.

In 2009, Christie said on Fox News that he did support some state gun control measures.

Immigration: No path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Allow in-state tuition for undocumented students.

Christie told FOX News in May that he opposes a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally. He did not publicly support or oppose the Senate’s bipartisan comprehensive reform bill in 2013. Christie would not answer questions on the topic of immigration at an appearance in Marion, Iowa, last summer, or in a 2013 appearance on ABC’s This Week.

Christie signed the New Jersey Dream Act, also known as the Tuition Equality Act, in December 2013, allowing undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates

Obamacare: Repeal and replace it. New Jersey accepted Medicaid expansion portion of the law.

Christie has repeatedly said he would repeal the Affordable Care Act as president. At at a March town hall meeting in New Jersey, he insisted that politicians must have a plan for replacing the health care law. The blue-state governor has not offered a specific alternative yet but has called for a discussion aimed at formulating a plan. When given the choice to accept or reject the federally-funded Medicaid expansion that is part of the health care law, Christie accepted it for his state.

Social Issues: Marriage should be between a man and a woman but the Supreme Court ruling is “the law of the land.” Ban abortions after 20 weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.

Christie said he disagreed with the majority Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states, but that
<href=”#page=1″ >he respects the ruling as “the law of the land.”

In the past, the governor favored civil unions but not same-sex marriage. He dropped New Jersey’s challenge to a court decision legalizing gay marriage in 2013.

Self-described as “pro-life,” Christie supports a Congressional bill to ban abortions starting 20 weeks after fertility, allowing for exceptions if the pregnancy is caused by rape or incest or if the life of the mother is in danger. Prior to 1995, the governor described his position as “pro-choice.” Christie says he changed position after hearing his daughter’s fetal heartbeat.

Social Security, Medicare: Increase costs for wealthier Americans. Gradually raise retirement age.

Christie has proposed a national entitlements reform package. His plan would include means testing for wealthy seniors so that Americans making more than $80,000 a year would get lower Social Security benefits and would pay more for Medicare health plans. Starting in 2022, the governor would gradually raise the full retirement age for Social Security to 69, from the current age of 67 for people born after 1960. He would raise Medicare eligibility more slowly, setting it at 69 years old by the year 2064.

Taxes: Reform the tax code.

In a May Wall Street Journal op-ed, Christie argued he can raise Americans’ incomes and increase economic growth by simplifying the tax code to three individual income tax rates, with the highest rate set at 28 percent. He would also cut the corporate tax code from 35 percent to 25 percent.

He told state lawmakers in February that he would not raise taxes to help solve New Jersey’s budget crisis.

Iran and Israel: End current negotiations with Iran. Strengthen ties with Israel.

Christie told a group of potential donors in Manhattan in May that the president should stop all negotiations with Iran. At an April town hall in Londonderry, New Hampshire, the New Jersey governor said any nuclear pact with Iran would be a mistake.

On Israel, Christie has criticized Mr. Obama’s treatment of Israel during his tenure as president. In 2014, he apologized for using the term “occupied territories” to refer to West Bank.

Islamic State and Iraq: Willing to send U.S. troops. Invading Iraq was a mistake.

In April, Christie told a crowd in New Hampshire that the U.S. must be ready to send American troops to fight Islamic State. In a foreign policy speech in Merrimack, New Hampshire, in May, Christie criticized President Obama’s handling of U.S. defense policy and said he would expand the American military.

Christie told Jake Tapper of CNN in May that invading Iraq in 2003 was the wrong choice, knowing what we know today.

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