TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — As he starts his second term, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he's been given a mandate by the voters to stay the course.

Speaking after he was sworn in for the new term, Christie said his 22-point victory margin in November leaves him with "no moral option but to heed the voice of the voters."

He reiterated his call for tax cuts for the middle class. And he made no mention of the multiple investigations of his administration.

Christie spoke less than an hour after Democratic state lawmakers said they would merge investigative panels looking into lane closures on an approach to the George Washington Bridge.

While pushing ahead with his agenda, Christie also spoke of the need for bipartisanship and diversity. He said, "We have to be willing to play outside the red and blue boxes," and to "reach out to those who look or speak differently than us." And he warned against falling victim to what he called "the attitude of Washington, D.C." -- which he says "puts political wins ahead of policy agreements."

Also sworn in for a second term today was Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who's been drawn into the controversy surrounding Christie in recent days. The Democratic mayor of Hoboken says the lieutenant governor warned her that her city would lose out on recovery aid following Superstorm Sandy, if she didn't support a real estate project involving people with close ties to the governor. The lieutenant governor has denied it.

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