CONGRESSMAN JIM HIMES

Representing the 4th District of Connecticut

Jim Himes calls out Chris Christie over offensive comments about Kevin Sutherland

July 17, 2015
Press Release

 Congressman Jim Himes’ (CT-04) statement in response to Chris Christie’s remarks yesterday.  Christie’s full remarks can be found here.

Himes' statement:

Yesterday, New Jersey governor Chris Christie gave a speech on criminal justice reform and took the opportunity to attack the policies of his political enemies in a despicable way: politicizing the deaths of two young people, Kevin Sutherland and Kathryn Steinle, saying the policies of the cities they lived in failed them.

Kevin Sutherland was a friend of mine. He was an intern on my campaign and in my Congressional office. I am friends with his parents. By speaking about Kevin Sutherland and his family in this way, Christie has once again shown himself nothing more than a pure opportunist with no sense of decency and a severely distorted idea of right and wrong.

To use Kevin’s death to score political points is vile. Kevin was empathetic, kind, and wanted to create a better America and world by lifting up those around him. The fearmongering and thinly veiled racism evident in Christie’s speech reveal that he knew nothing about Kevin and his family or what they believed in, and he should be ashamed. Although, at this point, I find myself doubting if shame is something he’s capable of.

This is made more terrible by the ridiculous hypocrisy of Christie criticizing San Francisco and Washington, DC for their violence, when he has slashed state aid to cities, cut funding for neighborhood revitalization, called for the elimination of Urban Enterprise Zones, and led a budget that has caused police layoffs. And what’s the result? Crime went up under his watch in New Jersey’s 6 largest cities, including Camden, where he was giving the speech.

If Christie wants to spout his particular brand of hate-filled nonsense to whomever is unfortunate enough to be in earshot, that’s his right. But when he uses the memory of a beloved friend and son in such a grossly disrespectful way, it’s our duty to stop listening, move on to more serious topics and people, and continue the work that Kevin believed in.