Whelan Blows Smoke on Casino employees

Atlantic County Republican Chairman Keith Davis said that Assemblyman Jim Whelan?s callousness toward casino employees reached a new low when Whelan sent an email recently criticizing the firing of casino employee Vince Rennich.

?If Whelan truly cared about casino employees like Mr. Rennich, he would have gotten his bill to ban smoking on casino floors passed last year like he promised,? said Davis. ?Instead, he is callously using Mr. Rennich in a desperate attempt cover up his failure as a legislator and win the favor of casino employees.

?My heart goes out to Mr. Rennich and his family,? said Davis. ?Mr. Rennich has consistently and forcefully called on casinos to ban smoking entirely, and then coincidently he gets laid off. I am glad to read he is taking the proper steps to protect his rights as an employee.

?Yet, contrast Mr. Rennich?s behavior with Whelan?s,? said Davis. ?Whelan hasn?t been consistent or forceful when it comes to protecting casino employees from the dangers of second hand smoke.?

Davis cited contradictory public comments and actions made by Whelan on the issue of a smoking ban:

* In January of 2006, Whelan said of extending the smoking ban, ?It?s only fair to apply the ban across the board.?

* In February of 2006, Whelan boasted that a complete ban for casinos would be approved by the Legislature by the end of that year.

* Then in June of 2006, Whelan back peddled from his original bill, by saying he intended to introduce another bill which would continue to allow smoking on the casino floor. ?We are trying to come up with a number [amount of casino floor space set aside for smokers] that goes beyond sticking the smokers in an enclosed small room and gives the casinos enough space to play with,? Whelan said.

* But in July of 2006, after a Surgeon General report was released discussing the harmful effects of second hand smoke, Whelan resorted once again to a complete ban and said that ?separate smoking areas are not effective?.

* Whelan must have forgotten about that Surgeon General?s report because in January 2007 Whelan expressed support for Atlantic City Council?s plan to allow smoking on some areas of the casino floor and wanted to give the plan ?an opportunity to work.?

?Since Whelan feels that signing a petition to stand up for Vince Rennich is the right thing to do, you can sign a petition by clicking here
to tell Assemblyman Jim Whelan to stop playing politics and start working on legislation which will completely ban smoking to protect the health and safety of casino workers.?

?When it comes to attracting and keeping gaming investment in Atlantic City, we need state legislators who will be consistent on the issues,? Davis said. ?I am confident the men and women who work at the casinos can see through Whelan?s smokescreen and recognize that his recent actions amount to nothing more than election year posturing.?

Paid for by the Atlantic County Republican Committee. Michael Goloff, Treasurer.

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