6/30/15 Protesters at Christie announcement: ‘Christie for president … hell no!’  Tim Darragh and Adam Clark, Star Ledger

6/30/15 Protesters at Christie announcement: ‘Christie for president … hell no!’  Tim Darragh and Adam Clark, Star Ledger

LIVINGSTON — Teachers, environmentalists and victims of Hurricane Sandy are among the protesters who have gathered at the site of Gov. Chris Christie‘s presidential candidacy announcement in Livingston later this morning.

“A lot of people think the Shore thing is over,” said Chuck Griffin of Little Egg Harbor, a Sandy survivor who said reconstruction of storm-damaged homes lags. 

A group of Sandy protesters arrived by bus at Livingston High School, where the governor is expected to announce he’s running for president at 11 a.m. They included Terry DeDunta, also of Little Egg Harbor, who said her contractor has been waiting over two years to begin reconstruction.

They said they both blame Christie for what they say is his failure to make Sandy reconstruction a priority.

Teachers, with whom the governor battled for most of his administration, were also making their presence known outside the school.

Diane Vistein, a math teacher from Howell Township, stood atop a table bearing a placard stating, “Liar.”

Lisa Greene a teacher in Sayreville leads the protesters as they sing a version of “Born in the USA,” but instead say Chris Christie is “wrong for the USA.”
Most of the teachers arrived wearing red T-shirts and carrying signs saying, “Broken Promises,” “Liar!,” and “Christie: Bad for New Jersey, Disaster for U.S.A.” They arrived by buses making shuttle trips from the Livingston Mall. 

They were chanting, “Hey hey, ho ho, Christie for president. … Hell no!”

Protesters representing New Jersey Citizen Action, the Sierra Club, New Jersey Working Families, and preservationists interested in protecting the old Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital are also at scene.

The mood on the broad oval fields and school entranceway was spirited but unthreatening, as hundreds of protestors – mostly teachers – had their say. They chanted, sang, and chanted some more while their nemesis, the governor of the state, was making his candidacy announcement inside.

As Christie supporters left the grounds of the high school after the governor’s speech, they were heckled and jeered at by some of the protesters. While some of the Christie supporters ignored the comments, others waved their signs, and someone shouted, “Get a job!”

 Anthony Rosamilia, president of the Essex County Education Association, said he was pleased with the turnout from his membership.

“We got a thousand people or better on very short notice,” he said.

Jim Keady, the assemblyman whose heckling at a gubernatorial town hall produced Christie’s memorable response of “Sit down and shut up!” gave a speech himself while the governor was speaking inside the school.

Environmentalists were there as well. Jeff Tittel, of the Sierra Club, said the governor’s approach to the Exxon pollution settlement and denial of the need for a government response to climate change made him ill-suited for the presidency.

“Christie was a disaster for New jersey. He’d be a disaster nationally,” he said.