Quijano Calls For Homeland Security Hearing On Use Of State Helicopters – Gov. Reimburses Taxpayers

state police helicopter tlsUPDATED: Following Tuesday revelations that one of the state’s $12.5 million helicopters was used to transport Gov. Chris Christie and his wife around the state for personal business, Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Chairwoman Annette Quijano today called for a hearing to discern protocols and procedures for the helicopters.

“The helicopters are state-of-the-art models meant to be used for homeland security and patient transport across New Jersey,” said Quijano (D-Union).  “I understand the state police have said the helicopter may have been in use for pilot training even if the governor and his wife didn’t need a ride to make all their appointments, but my committee needs a fuller understanding of how these helicopters are being utilized.”

According to news reports, Christie and his wife flew to Bergen County in a state police helicopter and landed in a field adjacent to the baseball diamond where they were then shuttled the remaining distance to take in their son’s high school game. They later left the game in the helicopter for a political meeting at the governor’s official residence in Mercer County.

“The best way for us to get to the bottom of the procedures in place for these emergency helicopters will be to examine pilot training protocols and training schedules and ask questions of the people directly responsible for these homeland security helicopters instead of parsing through press statements and various spokespeople,” Quijano said. “How are pilot trainings determined?  What are the trainings when they don’t involve transporting dignitaries and their families?  How many pilots have been tasked to these two helicopters?

“Will there be more in rotation when the other three arrive?  Will they need additional training and, if so, will it be tailored to coincide around people’s travel needs? What is the protocol if a dignitary and their family are being flown someplace and an emergency arises?  There are many pertinent questions that need to be addressed in the discussion of the utilization of these helicopters.” TLS.

UPDATE: This afternoon, Gov. Christie agreed to reimburse the taxpayers for his trips.

Assembly Democrats Paul Moriarty, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Bonnie Watson Coleman today declared victory on behalf of the taxpayers after learning that Governor Christie and the Republican Party will reimburse the state for the costs incurred to ferry the Governor by helicopter to his son’s baseball game and a meeting with presidential donors.

“I’m glad the Governor has seen the light and recognized that he was abusing taxpayer money for his own personal advantage,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester).  “I intend to continue pushing forward with my Government Reality Check Act (A-3880) to ensure that this type of abuse doesn’t occur again in the future.”

“I’m glad the Governor recognizes that the rules he applies to everyone else should also apply to him,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen).  “Taxpayers will be pleased to know that their hard-earned dollars are no longer being squandered on the Governor’s joyrides.”

“This was the right thing to do for someone who has called on everyone else in this state to share in the sacrifice,” said Watson Coleman (D-Mercer).  “Clearly yesterday’s claim that the trips did not cost taxpayers a dime was just an attempt to save face.” TLS.

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  1. Honesty is the key to success in everything. from friendship to familt to business etc…
    CORRUPTION is the key to DESTRUCTION & will bring a person straight down until his name & reputation is destroyed.


  2. This was nothing but a hatchet job done to a successful Republican Gov. in a Democratic state. If this was a Democrat it would never had been an issue and most likely had been used as a photo op. Go back in the records and see how many Democrats did this.

  3. Corzine reimbursed the state for any gas (helicopter or car/SUV) he used for personal use. That was proven in a investigation when everyone thought he was misusing funds. Christie is a millionare, let him fund his own rides, this was not a professional ride, it was for a baseball game. And people need to stop comparing it to the President, huge difference, the president has to have several people fly with him, so its apples to oranges.

  4. This is why many of us don’t trust our government. On the news (TV), he said that he is a great father because he went to see his son play; however, he left before the game ended (5th), and they had to stop the game to let him leave. I’ve been to many events for my children. I drove, or walked, didn’t fly. Anyway, I think this is just wrong. What do you think?

  5. What horrible thing did I said that my comment is still “moderated”. I though we’re all living in the USA, mabey not here…Why not let all people express their feelings? It may bring more of us together. You can start somthing new. Think about it. I may be wrong; you may be right. It’s open for discussion. That’s a good thing.

  6. I don’t see anything so bad, after all he is the govorner of the state and spends over time in his office for the state, and has a family too. He could not live a family life and a govorner at the same time if he didnt skip some traffic. He would require security anyway. So what’s so bad. Obama does a million times worse.

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