Governor Christie Leads Sandy Commemorations
Governor Chris Christie is leading New Jersey's commemorations of the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy by traveling around the state visiting volunteer service projects.
Christie began the day Tuesday thanking firefighters in Seaside Park where he told Matt Lauer on NBC's Today Show that the memory of meeting 9-year-old Ginger in Port Monmouth and seeing her in tears really brought home the pain caused by Sandy and still haunts him to this day because Ginger reminds him of his own daughter of the same age.
Christie told Lauer that while "incredible progress" has been made in getting people back in their homes, he's still having to "bang heads" at the federal level to get relief dollars to New Jersey. He pointed out that it took 92 days for Congress to approve funding for Sandy relief. Christie also blamed the "Katrina hangover" that created more regulations and red tape following fraud and abuse of relief funds from the 2005 storm.
Christie again cited his work with a Democrat legislation in New Jersey to demonstrate that Washington is still very much a partisan place. "Both parties need to get back to work and start talking to each other and working with each other like we do here in New Jersey."
The governor also offered praise for President Obama and the help he brought to New Jersey. "The president kept his word to the state of New Jersey," said Christie, adding that "my job is to stand up for the people of New Jersey and fight for them...regardless of the politics."
Christie sounded similar themes on CBS' This Morning and ABC's Good Morning America. George Stephanopolous was rebuffed asking about his presidential aspirations. "I'm committed to being the best governor New Jersey can have, for as long as I can possibly do it," said Christie. "But neither one has a crystal ball and know what happens in the future. I've been honest with the people of New Jersey and told them exactly that."
Christie quickly became partisan when CBS' Charlie Rose brought up Obamacare, accusing the President of not telling the truth about being able to keep their existing health plan. "You can remember, they were told that they would be able to keep their policies if they liked them. Now, you hear hundreds of thousands of people across the country being told they couldn't. So the White House needs to square that with what was told to the American people. And told to the Congress beforehand. And it doesn't seem to square at the moment. But we'll wait and see."
A Full Day Of Events
From Seaside Park Christie attended an interfaith prayer service at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark and was joined by Jets owner Woody Johnson and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for a visit with volunteers in Moonachie. Later he will join a day of service in Union Beach and attending a pot luck dinner in Sea Bright.
It will also be the second day of A Day Of Service, an effort led by Jersey Cares and New Jersey First Lady Mary Pat Christie that marks the day with service projects around the state.
New Jersey residents will mark the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy in ways big and small.
They'll take part in vigils, hold prayer services and in some cases just spend another day ripping out moldy wallboard. The stations of Townsquare Media New Jersey will Light Up New Jersey with special events around the state leading up to the moment the superstorm made landfall just north of Brigantine.
Sandy damaged or destroyed more than 340,000 New Jersey homes and businesses, hitting Monmouth and Ocean counties particularly hard. It was blamed for 71 deaths in the state.
The Associated Press contributed to this report