SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. — Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who once told a heckler to “sit down and shut up,” is forming a think tank to discuss ways to bring civility back to politics.

The former Republican presidential candidate tells The Star-Ledger of Newark politics “have gotten so ugly and divisive in the country that people are not having civilized conversations.”

The Christie Institute of Public Policy will be based at the Seton Hall University Law School, where Christie got his law degree.

Christie says the institute will engage in nonpartisan conversations and research about national and international issues. There will be lectures, scholarships for law students and internships.

Christie says the institute is not a springboard for a future political campaign, and he will will moderate the first lecture featuring New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.