Christie Draws Support at Ateres Reva Hall in Lakewood


chris-christieLakewood – Gov. Chris Christie today picked up the endorsement of Orthodox Jewish education, community and business leaders, after bringing his small government message to a retirement community down the road.

At Ateres Reva Hall, located at Yeshiva Toras Aron, Christie said his proposal for private school vouchers would ensure it is “the education of the parents’ choice, regardless of their economic situation, that governs how their children are educated.”

Invoking his epic battles with the New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, Christie said “special interests” have stood in the way of the Opportunity Scholarship Act.

Boys in kindergarten through fourth grade waved Christie campaign signs and stood on chairs to get a better look. Chants of “Four more years” broke out.

During a town hall meeting at The Fairways at Lake Ridge in Lakewood, Governor Chris Christie said there were approximately 40,000 families still displaced because of the storm, and the state’s Sandy relief efforts include a federally-funded homeowners grant program of up to $150,000 per household for storm-related repairs and improvements.

Christie accepted the endorsement of three sectors comprising the Orthodox community including Igud, which oversees more than 30 Lakewood yeshivos, the Vaad, a coalition of rabbonim, businessmen and town leaders and Mayor Isaac Akerman.

In 2009, the Vaad supported then-Gov. Jon Corzine and the Igud did not endorse as a group, said campaign strategist Mike DuHaime.

“In the town of Lakewood, there is no question what the No. 1 priority of everyone in the orthodox community is, there is one priority and that is education,” said Rabbi Shlomo Chaim Kanarek, who heads the Igud and called Christie “a longtime friend.”

In addition to financial support for private education, Christie shares what speakers called the moral values of the community including “upholding the sanctity of traditional marriage,” said Vaad member Rabbi Moshe Zev Weisberg.

Mayor Akerman noted Ocean County Chairman George Gilmore promised the county GOP would deliver Christie 100,000 votes this year, surpassing the 71,000 plurality four years ago.

Christie was popular among hundreds of senior citizens who came out for a town hall-style event, billed as a “conversation,” in the clubhouse at The Fairways at Lake Ridge.

In contrast to his sometimes combative and always outspoken manner, Christie offered no rebuttal to a resident who, in asking a question after he was called on, called him a role model for every bully in New Jersey. “I believe you should be known for what you say, not how you say it,” the resident said.

Otherwise, Christie stuck largely to familiar talking points, though he said the state asked the federal government for $250 million in Blue Acres funds to purchase homes in flood plains.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) later issued a statement praising the move: “The governor’s announcement is welcome news, especially for the hundreds, if not, thousands of homeowners who have had enough. People are tired of rebuilding only to see their homes destroyed again. They just want out.”

In Lakewood, Christie ran through a list of ways he says his administration shrank government, and chided newspapers for criticizing his lack of specificity in the 2009 campaign.

He reprised his argument against sick-leave payouts for municipal employees, saying a dozen retiring workers in Atlantic City cashed checks worth a combined $2.2 million while Parsippany police chief got $375,000 plus a pension.

Turning back to Sandy, Christie said 40,000 families are still displaced. Federal dollars will fund grant programs, $10,000 checks intended to encourage people to make repairs quickly and businesses grants of up to $50,000.

Christie says his wife Mary Pat’s Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund has collected $32 million. The first $1 million has been allocated, he says, and the organization received 150 applications fore the next $10 million.

By 2014, he said, “I think we’ll have state and much of shore back to what looks like the new normal.”


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