Following a budget stalemate between New Jersey’s Republican Governor, Chris Christie, and the democratic legislature that led to a shutdown of the government, America’s least-popular governor immediately left for vacation at the state-owned Island Beach State Park. While he and his family enjoy the 4th of July holiday at the park, authorities are blocking all other visitors from the destination, citing the budget impasse.
— Chris Megerian (@ChrisMegerian) July 2, 2017
Christie defended his “right” to the island amid its public closure by tersely citing his residence at Island Beach.
“That’s because the governor has a residence at Island Beach. Others don’t. … It’s just the way it goes. Run for governor and then you can have the residence.”
Christie issued an executive order on Saturday morning ordering the government shutdown, blaming the legislature for not including provisions for his initiatives. Hours later, he arrived at what effectively became his family’s own private 10-mile barrier island. Tourism accounts for nearly 7 percent of New Jersey’s entire state economy.
Residents of New Jersey’s shore communities, like Denise Wirth, 57, of Lavallette, were understandably furious.
“It’s seems so hypocritical to me that Governor Christie orders a state government shutdown — which included Island Beach State Park — affecting the livelihoods of business along the northern barrier island and the Fourth of July weekend plans of thousands of folks. Meanwhile, Governor Christie ignores his own New Jersey state shutdown and continues his Fourth of July weekend plans, taking residence of the governor’s mansion in Island Beach State Park for the weekend.”
She added, “Perhaps the state budget would not be at an impasse if the governor was not spending $400 to $700 million on renovations to the Statehouse.”
The governor had better enjoy his private island this 4th of July weekend. After a humiliating rebuke by Trump and a 15 percent approval rating in New Jersey – the lowest “for any governor measured in any state in more than 20 years” – his political career is effectively all but over.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.