By Julie Parise, CBSNewYork.com.
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two major figures from the Garden State were at Lincoln Center Tuesday night at the TIME 100 Gala, and both shared big dreams – and big plans – for New Jersey.
Governor Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker were both honored at the event, held at Midtown’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, for landing on TIME magazine’s list of the ‘100 Most Influential People In The World.‘ Other big names on this list were Barack Obama, Justin Bieber and Hillary Clinton.
As he made his way down the red carpet, a humble Christie told CBSNewYork that the accolades weren’t so much an honor for him – but more so a tribute to the state he leads.
“It’s really all about the work that we’re doing,” the governor said. “It’s great for New Jersey to get some positive recognition.”
And when it comes to the future, the challenges New Jersey faces in terms of the economy aren’t hindering his upcoming plans.
“We got a hard budget to get through this year, and times are still really difficult and challenging,” Christie said. “But I think things are looking up , and better, and we’re positive.”
Despite speculation on the part of many, Christie insists he won’t be distracted by an upcoming presidential run.
“It’s flattering that people say that,” Christie said when asked about the possibility of running for the office. “I’m not gonna do it. I know who I am and what’s right for me right now. What’s right for me is to do that job I have in New Jersey.”
Also feeling hopeful for the future, Booker was all smiles as he told CBSNewYork what the TIME honor meant to him.
“It’s extraordinary,” the mayor said. “Newark has been a city that’s been disrespected, disregarded and plain dissed for so long. And now the city is getting so much attention, and I benefit from that, and I know a lot of that has to do more with the city than with me.”
And much like Christie, Booker promised not to let a tough road ahead stand in the way of the progress Newark has made.
“We have enduring problems we have to battle with,” Booker said. “We still have to push down crime, but we’ve had some big victories with bringing Panasonic to the city, new hotels…we want to continue the momentum, continue to do some innovations that will capture people’s imaginations.”
Julie Parise is the features editor for CBSNewYork.com.