Gov. Christie Visits Surf City

Christie Thrills Crowd at Scojo’s as Tour of Shore Continues
By MICHAEL MOLINARO | May 25, 2013
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

Raucous applause and jubilant cheers erupted from the crowd outside Scojo’s Restaurant in Surf City as Gov. Chris Christie exited his black sport utility vehicle upon arrival. Gape-mouthed looks of shock engulfed the faces of “rubberneckers” driving by who had to be ushered on by police, as many had no idea the head of the state would be stopping by Long Beach Island Saturday morning.

The stop was part of a Memorial Day weekend tour of the shore that will culminate with a visit from President Obama the day after Memorial Day for what will be his second survey of damage caused by Superstorm Sandy last October. Christie was at Scojo's for 45 minutes, but had little time for a meal before he would advance to Ocean City and Wildwood.

“LBI, baby!” exclaimed the governor to the thrill of the crowd.

The governor said he was “happy to be back!” on LBI nearly seven months after Sandy, adding, “It’s a lot different today than it was seven months ago, and I’m really glad for that. The folks here have been incredibly resilient and cooperative. All we need now is the weather to cooperate and everything will be fine.”

Christie also shared his first memory of visiting LBI.

“It goes all the way back to when I was a teenager here and I had a friend whose parents owned a house here. That was a long time ago. First time I was on LBI, I think I was 14, and it was in Harvey Cedars.”

Later, inside, Christie would comment on his experience with Long Beach Island beaches. ““I’ve been to them all. All up and down LBI, the beaches are great.”

While still outside, Christie consoled a struggling businesswoman, “If you need help, contact the (N.J.) Economic Development Authority; we’re giving out grants. We’re starting to give out money this week. Let’s get everybody going. We’re helping out the shore first to get you guys open, all right?”

At one point a man yelled, “Christie for President! Let’s go!” to the delight of the crowd.

Mary Madonna introduced herself as the Surf City municipal clerk, to which the governor responded, “That means you’re the hardest working person in town” before posing for a photo with her and thanking her for her hard work.

Plenty of politicians from the state, county and local levels were on hand to welcome the governor.

“It’s always exciting to have the governor or lieutenant governor here,” said 9th District Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove. Standing outside Scojo’s Restaurant awaiting the governor, the former mayor of Long Beach Township, who has lived her entire life on LBI, revealed her favorite restaurant. “All of them. You have to frequent them all. It’s just like the stores. We’re all in this together, so we all have to interact.”

Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little stopped by in support minutes before he would be partaking in a Memorial Day service at Veterans Park nearby.

“I think (Christie is) doing his very best to let everyone know in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and surrounding states that the Jersey Shore is open for business and to welcome the tourists and appreciate their business here in Ocean County and throughout the New Jersey shore,” said Little. “He has done a magnificent job in leading our effort to rebuild and restore the Jersey Shore, and he’s just shown great leadership from the day of the storm until now. He’s been shoulder-to-shoulder with our Ocean County freeholders throughout this process. We had meetings, and they would take us throughout the state with the governor during the emergency state. Here today we’re here to greet him and thank him for coming to Surf City and Ocean County as we open the shore for Memorial Day weekend. We’re very proud.”

Beach Haven Mayor Robert Keeler was on hand and spoke to The SandPaper about what made Christie’s visit receive what appeared to be nothing but approval from the crowd.

“He’s great,” said Keeler. “If you go to his town hall meetings, he’s very direct, he’s very helpful with people, but he gives people a feeling of hope that I think is really important. People want to think that somebody’s listening to them or that somebody’s out there that really cares, and Gov. Christie’s been able to convey that, I think, very positively.”

For more information on grants available through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, head to njeda.com/web/default.aspx.

michaelmolinaro@thesandpaper.net

Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, a Surf City resident, accompanies the governor on his Surf City visit. (Photo by: Jack Reynolds)
(Photo by: Jack Reynolds)
(Photo by: Jack Reynolds)
(Photo by: Jack Reynolds)
(Photo by: Jack Reynolds)
(Photo by: Jack Reynolds)
Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, a Surf City resident, accompanies the governor on his Surf City visit. (Photo by: Jack Reynolds)
(Photo by: Jack Reynolds)
(Photo by: Jack Reynolds)
(Photo by: Jack Reynolds)
(Photo by: Jack Reynolds)
(Photo by: Jack Reynolds)
(Photo by: Jack Reynolds)
(Photo by: Jack Reynolds)
(Photo by: Jack Reynolds)
(Photo by: Jack Reynolds)
(Photo by: Jack Reynolds)
(Photo by: Jack Reynolds)
(Photo by: Jack Reynolds)
(Photo by: Jack Reynolds)
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