Governor Christie: A life without hope is a life wasted, and a life without hope is a life that usually is destructive. We don’t want that in our society for any of our citizens. We know that we can't reach everyone, but we can reach more people than we’re reaching now, and we can give hope through our community colleges, because for those who do truly want to change their lives, this is a good place to start. This is going to be a welcoming community. A diverse community- ethnically diverse, racially diverse. Making sure that everybody understands that we all come from different avenues in our life to this point and that we’re not going to judge that avenue. We’re going to judge people by the way, when they get here, they conduct themselves as part of this community, and if they are people who want to give back to their fellow students, their faculty members, their administrators in one of our community colleges, if they then want to become a contributor to our society in a positive way, of course that’s going to help our economy and is going to help them economically. But more importantly, we should think about what that adds to the fabric of our state. For those people who are looking for a second chance, we should not only want to give that to them because it is the right thing to do as God teaches that to us, but we should also want to do it because it makes our state a better place. People who leave incarceration and come back into the educational system and then ultimately the workforce, not only contribute to our economy but they become better mothers and fathers. They become better sons and daughters. They become better brothers and sisters, and they become better citizens. They not only help to lead their families in a positive way and set a positive example, but they also contribute to our society in lots of other ways. Instead of being incarcerated or being on the streets committing crimes, they’re volunteering at churches and mosques and synagogues. They’re coaching little league and soccer. They’re contributing culturally to our state in many ways. They are right now a lost asset, and places like Raritan Valley can make them a rediscovered asset. That’s a tremendous gift.
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