As the Garden State took a pounding from the blizzard that's paralyzing much of the East Coast, New Jersey's Governor and Lieutenant Governor both escaped the Garden State for holiday vacations, leaving the senate president and acting governor Stephen M. Sweeny to stand-in during the snow.
Sweeny was almost immediately immersed in storm-related issues as the blizzard approached Sunday since Governor Chris Christie and his family left for a Disney vacation in Florida at the same time Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno left on a vacation of her own. Christie plans to return to Trenton Thursday.
"The first action I took as Acting Governor was to receive a complete briefing on the state's storm preparations from the State Police, the Commissioner of Transportation and the Governor's Chief of Staff," Sweeny said in a statement Sunday. "Based on current conditions and the forecast I am declaring a state of emergency throughout New Jersey."
Both Governor Christie and Lieutenant Governor Guadagno are Republicans and their absences turn the New Jersey governor's office from red to blue since Acting Governor Stephen Sweeney-third in the state's line of succession--is a Democrat. However Sweeney told the Newark Star Ledger he didn't plan to push through any legislation Christie wouldn't approve of while he temporarily serves as governor.
Sweeney continued to guide the state through the blizzard's fallout Monday saying in a statement, "The most important thing for residents to do today is to stay safe ... The worst of this storm is behind us, but we all still need to be careful and to look out for each other."
It seems Sweeney called on a spirit of cooperation he is extending to his vacationing Republican colleagues as he looks out for them and the state while they take a break from New Jersey's winter.