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Christie takes state chopper to NJ state park not open to the public because of the government shut down

Gov. Chris Christie says he's using a state helicopter to travel to and from the governor's residence at the state park where his family is staying amid a government shutdown.

Speaking Sunday at a news conference, Christie said he flew Saturday from Trenton to Island Beach State Park and then went back to the capital Sunday. The Republican governor plans to fly back to the park after working Sunday because that's where his family is.

"That's where my family is sleeping so that's where I'll sleep," he said. "When I have a choice between sleeping with my family or sleeping alone, I generally like to sleep where my family is."

Christie defended his use of the state property during the shutdown that affected the public, which is being kept out of state parks.

"That's the way it goes," he said. Run for governor and you can have the residence."

The shutdown forced the closure of all 40 state parks, recreational areas, historic sites, state beaches and Liberty State Park

Christie says he's ready to reopen the state government that shutdown after he and lawmakers in the Democratic-led Legislature failed to enact a budget Friday.

Christie said he would sign a Democratic-preferred budget as long as he gets the bill he wants to overhaul the state's largest health insurer.

How the NJ government shutdown could affect your holiday weekend

The state is beginning to feel the sting of shuttered services.

Christie ordered the shutdown of nonessential state services, like parks and motor vehicle offices, Friday after he and lawmakers failed to agree on terms to enact a $34.7 billion budget.

The public is shut out of state parks and turned away from motor vehicle agencies. State workers have been furloughed.

Among those affected were a group of Cub Scouts forced to leave a state park campsite and people trying to obtain or renew documents from the state motor vehicle commission.