Casino workers, protestors greet Christie in Ocean City

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Protestors outside Ocean City’s Music Pier asked Gov. Chris Christie for help, as three Atlantic City casinos are expected to close by mid-September. Protestors outside Ocean City’s Music Pier asked Gov. Chris Christie for help, as three Atlantic City casinos are expected to close by mid-September. OCEAN CITY — Gov. Chris Christie was greeted by protestors and supporters in Ocean City Thursday, with many casino workers petitioning for Christie to come to their aid before three more Atlantic City casinos close.

The town hall meeting at the Music Pier was expected to be on pension reform, and was one of several stops Christie has made throughout the state to push pension and benefits reform.

Before Christie entered the Music Pier, he had to face protestors chanting “keep your promises” and “fund our pensions” who had lined the boardwalk. Many held signs asking the governor to help Atlantic City’s casino workers. Earlier that day, Christie had reportedly encountered casino workers protesting outside of the Atlantic City Country Club, where he attended a fundraising event for U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo.

But the crowd inside the Music Pier was packed with Christie supporters, who cheered “Christie for president” and “Christie 2016” and gave the governor a standing ovation when he entered.

Gov. Chris Christie addresses the crowd at Ocean City’s Music Pier Thursday, Aug. 14. Gov. Chris Christie addresses the crowd at Ocean City’s Music Pier Thursday, Aug. 14. While Thursday’s town hall meeting was expected to be on pension reform, Christie first addressed the fate of Atlantic City, as three of the city’s casinos are expected to close by mid-September. Those closures would leave over 6,500 workers at Revel, Trump Plaza, and Showboat unemployed, according to Atlantic County officials. The city is still reeling from the closure of the Atlantic Club, which put 1,600 workers out of the job.

Christie said that in two weeks, he will meet with casino executives, local, and state officials on the state of the city and try to work toward a solution.
 “We are going to do everything we can to make sure you stay safe, you stay secure, and you stay employed,” Christie told the crowd.

He stressed that Atlantic City has been a priority to him as governor, and that he hasn’t given up hope that the city can make a comeback.

“I think we are going to have success,” Christie said. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be bumps in the road.”

Cindy Pemberton, a Showboat worker from Hammonton, asked Christie to do something before Showboat closes Aug. 31. Cindy Pemberton, a Showboat worker from Hammonton, asked Christie to do something before Showboat closes Aug. 31. Cindy Pemberton, a Showboat worker from Hammonton, pointed out that in two weeks, Showboat will be closed. The casino announced it would close Aug. 31 back in June, and Pemberton asked that Christie do something to help the employees.

“There’s not an opportunity for them,” she told Christie.

Christie stressed that throughout the next two weeks, his administration will be working on a solution, but he added he can’t order Showboat, or any of the casinos, to remain in operation.

He said they are working every day with the Division of Gaming Enforcement, Casino Control Commission, local and county officials, to find some sort of solution.
“I can’t order someone to continue to lose money,” Christie said. He later added, “I am going to try to make sure that whatever steps are taken are factual and fair.”

He said that he knew deadlines for casino closures are fast approaching before that Sept. 8 meeting.

“I’m going to try to help you all in that interim period,” Christie said. “I am working and my administration is working to try to come up with a solution to help you and others and save jobs.”


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