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Christie in Teaneck to Inaugurate Jewish Leaders for Christie

Teaneck—On Tuesday, Sept. 3, Gov. Chris Christie came to Teaneck to inaugurate New Jersey’s Jewish Leaders for Christie, and was greeted by an excited crowd of about 150 people. As he walked past all the kosher restaurants from Palisades Avenue to Queen Anne Road, he shook hands and spoke to as many people as he could. His staff had handed out buttons, in English and Hebrew, referring to his strong leadership. (See picture of button.) Placards were also distributed to welcome the governor.

The crowd included people of all ages, including students from TABC (a few blocks away) during lunch break or free period,. There were also about a dozen protesters carrying signs.

Gov. Christie stepped behind the podium set up in front of Gotham Burger and was introduced by Councilman Yitz Stern who announced that he and two other councilmen were endorsing Gov. Christie for re-election. Stern said he was doing this despite the fact that he does not agree with the governor on every issue. The councilman spent a few moments thanking Christie for working to help parents of religious and private school students to reduce tuition costs. Stern later said that the governor is doing this by supporting the Opportunity Scholarship Act, now pending in the state legislature.

Christie thanked the councilmen, all Democrats, including former mayor Elie Y. Katz and Mark J. Schwartz, for their bi-partisan support. The three councilmen are prominent members of the state-wide Jewish Leaders for Christie, Yitz Stern noted later that this Leadership Team is broadly based, including having as its chairman Mark Levenson, chairman of the NJ Association of Jewish Federations.

Many TABC students were happy to be at the event. TABC Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Yossi Adler, explained that while the boys are free to use that time as they wish, this was a wonderful opportunity for them to get up close to the governor of our state.

In a an email to JLBC, Councilman Elie Katz wrote: “In the area of tax relief, [Gov. Christie] has made great strides and has shown that he will continue to make NJ taxes a priority. As a Councilman, my single most important goal is to stabilize taxes and preserve services for our residents. I have [brought] new revenue to Teaneck and … continue to support the candidates that have a similar goal—to help stabilize the tax burden for the Teaneck residents.”

Councilman Mark Schwartz is traveling in Israel this week. When reached by phone, he said that he is a dedicated leading member of the Jewish Leaders for Christie.

In an exclusive interview with JLBC, Stern explained he is endorsing Gov. Christie because he is working to make yeshivot and other private schools more affordable; he is an active supporter of Israel who has been there more than once. And as governor, Christie has re-invigorated the NJ/Israel Trade Commission, of which Stern is a member. Its mission is to improve trade and cultural ties between NJ and the State of Israel. There is no other such commission in NJ dealing with any other country. And, since Gov. Christie will most likely stay in office for another term, Stern believes it is wise to build a close relationship with him and his staff. For example, a closer relationship might assist in getting state aid for infrastructure improvements to Teaneck and surrounding areas.

Yitz Stern also did say he does not agree with Christie on everything. Asked for an example, he said that while he admires the governor’s success at getting bi-partisan support to have public employees contribute more toward their benefits, he preferred to stretch the changes out over a longer period of time. Stern likes that the governor “took the bull by the horns” and didn’t “kick the can down the road,” as previous governors did. The current plans, he believes are more in line with the private sector.

What more the state can do for Teaneck and its neighbors? The councilman pointed to the governor’s appointments to the BPU (Board of Public Utilities). The BPU should make sure that our utilities, including PSE&G, are ready for future challenges with better backup systems and noted the recently upgraded sub-stations in Bergenfield and Teaneck.

By Stephen Tencer

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