By David Cruz
There are no off days when you’re running for president. Chris Christie was not on the campaign trail today, per se. He was in New Jersey — which nowadays — qualifies as news in itself. But in advance of a $1,000 a pop fundraiser tonight, the governor and first lady were in Morristown, honoring David Scott, executive director of the Market Street Mission, as the 2015 New Jersey Hero. The mission has a number of programs that deal with alcohol and drug abusers.
“We know that addiction is a disease; it is not a moral failing, it is a disease,” said the governor. “And those affected need to know that it’s not only OK to ask for help, but you need to ask for help, and then to go and get it.”
Scott has been running the mission since 1989. Its programs include a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, drug and alcohol rehab and the Life Change program, which has graduated more than a thousand men who’ve turned their lives around from addiction to sober self-reliance.
“In here, if everybody came back tonight, you’d see 20 or 30 guys sleeping on the floor; part of the shelter and the basic needs program,” noted Scott. “That’s something we do in a big way to win people in terms of relationships, to help them know that we care. But what we’re really about is what we’re celebrating today, the Life Change program. where we see people come in of the Lord and their whole life changes as a result.”
Later, the governor and first lady handled the afternoon lunch crowd as part of the season of giving. The governor hardly ever takes questions when he comes to New Jersey now, so what’s new on negotiations over the Transportation Trust Fund or the Atlantic City rescue – if there is anything new – remains unknown.
Asked if he had heard from any of his colleagues in the legislature, the governor answered: “Oh, sure. I talk to them all the time.”
That’s not what his colleagues in the legislature say, though. The Senate President said recently that he hadn’t talked to the governor in weeks. But for Christie, New Hampshire is the main focus. The governor is the candidate of the moment up there and he told us he’s been feeling the growing momentum.
“I can feel it coming,” he told NJTV News. “This is not my first rodeo, so I can feel it coming and I’ve got to continue to make more progress but it’s all going to be hard work, that’s it.”
It’s hard to argue with the governor honoring a long-standing community resource with accolades and cash, but his critics might consider today’s event an exercise in photo op 101, a reminder that, when it comes to that this governor is second to none.