NJ Senate GOP consults with Gingrich

April 2, 2008 11:36:13 AM PDT

"My view is the modern American voter is like the modern American consumer because it's the same person," Gingrich said after meeting with GOP lawmakers at the Statehouse. "If you come up with a better brand, a better value, if you offer more choices at higher quality at lower cost, people will switch (allegiances) with stunning speed. Every election is an opportunity to create a new understanding and a new contract with the state."

The conservative Republican ex-congressman, now an author and political consultant, met with minority legislative leaders for more than an hour Wednesday to strategize and discuss policy.

Afterward, Gingrich said New Jersey has long been a victim of bad government. He said the time is ripe for a bipartisan reform movement "that could fundamentally change the state."

He said such a movement would include urban and younger residents, two groups who traditionally vote Democratic. One idea is to draft a bill allowing students who graduate high school in three years to apply the money it would have cost for their fourth year as a college scholarship.

He also advised Republicans to use the Internet as an alternative to the expensive, fragmented Philadelphia and New York media markets.

Republicans are outmatched by Democrats in both the Senate and House, and Democrats control the governor's office.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. said there was no hesitation about bringing in Gingrich, an oft-polarizing figure who talked up family values and vocally opposed Bill Clinton.

Kean characterized the session as "a conversation about ideas" and said other nationally recognized politicians would be invited to address the caucus.