Gov. Christie: ‘I Am Ultimately Responsible’

By Melanie Arter | January 14, 2014 | 3:57 PM EST

In this Jan. 9, 2014, photo, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a news conference at the Statehouse in Trenton, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

( – Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in his State of the State Address on Tuesday addressed the Bridgegate scandal plaguing his administration, saying he is responsible for what happens on his watch – “both good and bad” – and pledged to “cooperate with all inquiries to ensure that this breach of trust does not happen again.”

“The last week has certainly tested this administration. Mistakes were clearly made. We let down the people we’re entrusted to serve. I know our citizens deserve better, much better. I’m the governor, and I am ultimately responsible for all that happens on my watch – both good and bad. Now without a doubt, we will cooperate with all appropriate inquiries to ensure that this breach of trust does not happen again,” Christie said.

Christie’s comments come on the heels of recent accusations that in September, his administration closed down two of three lanes leading to the George Washington Memorial Bridge in Fort Lee, N.J., in an act of political retribution against the town’s mayor for refusing to endorse Christie.

David Wildstein, the governor’s appointee to the Port Authority, said the closures were due to a traffic study. However, it was revealed last week that a top Christie aide, Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Ann Kelly – who has since been fired – e-mailed Wildstein prior to the closures, saying, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

On Tuesday, Christie assured the citizens of New Jersey that the scandal “does not define us or our state.”

“This administration and this legislature will not allow the work that needs to be done to improve the people’s lives of New Jersey to be delayed for any reason,” he said.

“I am the leader of this state and its people, and I stand here today proud to be both, but also those of you who know me know I am always, always determined to do better. So, now I come before you once again for my fourth time to report to you the state of our state, and the good news is that today the state of our state is good, and it is getting better,” Christie said.