PARSIPPANY - A verbal exchange between Gov. Chris Christie and a teenager in Belmar this week is getting a lot of attention.
Some believe the governor was too harsh in his response to the 17-year-old girl's question about why he has not held a town hall meeting in Newark.
"As soon as I said I was from Newark, his tone got kind of condescending," says Kristen Towkaniuk.
Towkaniuk attended the Belmar Town Hall Wednesday and asked, "Why have you blatantly ignored Newark in your 120 town halls? And would you be willing to come to Newark?"
Christie had already encountered several other students from Newark who were interrupting the Q&A. The governor defended his many visits to other towns and didn't say no to a town hall in Newark.
"If one of them turns up in Newark," he told Towkaniuk, "I hope you show up and you get to ask a question that's better than the one you just asked."
Christie was in Parsippany on Friday, and was asked if he would he entertain a town hall in Newark, and whether he felt he was too tough on Towkaniuk.
"I'll do town halls, 125 of them, where myself and my staff feel they can be most effective," he says. "I thought they were fairly rude and I thought my response was light."
Towkaniuk is president of the Newark Students Union. She has rallied to have Newark School Superintendent Cami Anderson resign.
Towkaniuk feels Gov. Christie is in alliance with Anderson, who's pushing charter schools over public and recommending closing several schools.
"I don't think he'll have a town hall in Newark," Towkaniuk says. "I think he's scared of Newark because he's causing all this turmoil and doesn't know how to deal with it."
Towkaniuk, a rising senior at Science Park High School this fall, says there's a standing invitation.