Assemblyman Chris Brown has received the support of Atlantic City’s main hospitality workers union in his bid for state Senate.

Brown, R-Atlantic, was endorsed unanimously over Democratic candidate Colin Bell by the political action committee of Unite Here Local 54, union President Bob McDevitt said.

“Chris Brown stood firmly with working families by leading the fight against North Jersey casinos, preventing the loss of 15,000 existing local jobs, McDevitt said in a statement. “Thanks to Chris’s efforts, Hard Rock is now investing in Atlantic City, creating over 3,000 new jobs.”

Brown consistently railed against the idea of expanding casino gaming to North Jersey during last year’s election cycle, when a ballot referendum asked New Jersey residents if they would support casinos outside of Atlantic City.

The issue of North Jersey casinos was a hot-button topic for Local 54, which represents about 10,000 hospitality workers in the Atlantic City area.

The fear was that if gaming was expanded to North Jersey, then more casinos in Atlantic City would close.

Brown’s Atlantic County counterpart, Democratic Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo, penned a letter to the editor in The Press of Atlantic City on Sept. 22 voicing his opposition to North Jersey casinos. Outgoing state Senator Jim Whelan, a Democrat, was against expanding casino gaming, but also said he thought it was inevitable.

Bell, a former Atlantic County freeholder, was not part of the state Legislature during the North Jersey casino debate.

Members of Local 54, including Marc Scittina, said Brown is the right candidate for them because he will stand up to special interests.

“We need Chris Brown’s leadership in the State Senate,” Scittina said. “He’s proven he has the courage and independence to stand up to special interests and do what’s right for our local working families.”

Bell and Democratic 2nd District Assembly candidates Mazzeo and John Armato picked up a key endorsement Monday from the American Federations of Teachers in New Jersey.

Mazzeo and Armato are running against Republicans Vince Sera, a Brigantine councilman, and Brenda Taube, a former Margate commissioner.

I am honored to have the support of AFT NJ,” Bell said in a statement. “Ensuring our children in Atlantic County get the best education they can, and that the professionals who making that possible get the support they need, is paramount to a bright future for Atlantic County. I am thankful to AFT NJ for the incredible work they do and promise to fight for their issues in Trenton."

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