By Michael Hill
Gov. Chris Christie taking his annual stroll on a Jersey Shore boardwalk, greeting and posing with holiday weekend tourists and looking as if he’s a candidate campaigning again.
Even though presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump says he’s looking for a running mate with executive experience, the governor told us in a one-on-one interview: “We’ll see. Like I said, I’m running transition for Donald and it’s a big job, but one I’m really excited and enthusiastic about tackling. As far as the vice presidency that’s one person’s choice and we’ll see what he decides to do.
Will he put his name up? “You don’t put your name up. Anybody who puts their name up for the vice presidency doesn’t get it, so you don’t put your name up. It’s like I’ve known the Donald for 14 years, it’s not like he’ll forget me. If he decides that I’m the best person for him, then great, and if he doesn’t I have a big task to do for him and the country and I’ll be happy to do that and I’m honored to do it,” he said.
When asked if he wants the job he said, “I don’t think anybody wants to be vice president. What happens is if a presidential candidate comes to you and asks you to take that on then you talk with your family and decide if that’s the right thing for you.”
The governor came here to check out the beginning of the summer tourism season for the Jersey Shore.
“The beach replenishment we’ve done and the work we’ve done with the Army Corps of Engineers is making a huge difference on the beaches up and down the state,” Christie said.
The folks on Jenkinson’s Boardwalk say they’re anticipating a terrific tourism season based on what the hotel and motel industry is telling them.
“They said they’re really ahead of where they were last year in terms of bookings, so we’re very optimistic. We’re hoping Mother Nature has decided to get on board,” said Jenkinson’s Boardwalk Marketing Director Toby Wolf.
“That’s great and I think that’s part of the economy in New Jersey. Our unemployment is now down to 4.7 percent, we’re below the 5 percent national average. More people are working in New Jersey today than any time in our history. That’s all great for our economy and when the economy is good the tourism industry is great,” Christie said.
The governor told NJTV News he will sign the financial recovery legislation for Atlantic City.
“Here’s the good thing about Atlantic City, the good thing is that Atlantic City and the private sector is doing really well. Casino revenue is up, non-gaming revenue is up. It’s the government that’s screwed up and that’s why the legislation that the legislature passed yesterday that I’ll be considering today will give Atlantic City a chance over the next five months to be able to get their act together. If they don’t then I’ll come in and takeover Atlantic City and I will make the changes that are necessary so people won’t even be talking about Atlantic City a year from now,” Christie said.
It meets almost all the requirements that I put forward. the only real difference in the legislation is giving them 150 days rather than doing it immediately and so I’m looking forward to signing that legislation later today,” Christie said.
And when does it kick in?
“Starts today, 150 days starts counting today. They have 150 days to fix their own house. If they can’t on day 151 I’ll be there to fix their house.
Is he confident they’ll be able to do it on their own? “I don’t know. It’s up to them,” he said. “I mean, I offered them this deal a year ago and they turned it down because they said it couldn’t be done.”