Gov. Chris Christie tackles education at Hasbrouck Heights town hall, but stays mum on presidential plans

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Gov. Chris Christie at Thursday's town hall meeting in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.

Gov. Chris Christie at Thursday’s town hall meeting in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J. (Andrew Kalmowitz)

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ (PIX11) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the small town of Hasbrouck Heights in Bergen County Thursday for his 135th town hall meeting,  tackling voter concerns like education but disappointing political observers hopeful that Christie might announce his candidacy for president.

The day before, Christie was in the key presidential-politics state of New Hampshire, where he pressed the flesh with voters in what is the first state to hold a primary, and shook off concerns that his poll numbers aren’t what they used to be. In Hasbrouck Heights Thursday, the talk was focused on issues that hit home for New Jersey voters: teachers’ pensions and education.

Christie and a few members of the audience got into a spirited debate about what should be done about entitlements after teachers retire.  Christie and audience members also took on issues involving education, such as the high cost of college and some of the flaws with the new Common Core Standards as wells as PARCC Testing.

While there was a good representation of educators inside the VFW hall where the meeting took place, a broader array of teachers gathered outside who were opposed to the governor’s policies. At either exit,  hundreds of teachers from Hasbrouck Heights and surrounding communities protested Christie’s new budget plan and the cuts to their pensions.

Protesters outside the VFW hall where Gov. Chris Christie spoke on Thursday. (Andrew Kalmowitz)

Protesters outside the VFW hall where Gov. Chris Christie spoke on Thursday. (Andrew Kalmowitz)

The governor closed the meeting by saying: “I don’t always do my best. I am human.”

Christie will continue to hold these town hall meetings once a week in various towns until the 2016 fiscal year budget is passed.