Several Jersey lawmakers paid a visit to the Jersey Shore yesterday to get a firsthand look at areas hard-hit by Superstorm Sandy.

After seeing numerous squashed homes, ruined businesses and piles of debris, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver wept softly, saying, "You look at the economic loss - families - who have lost their quality of life - as you travel down these side streets and you look at people's personal belongings, their mattresses, their beds, their sofas…People's lives are in an upheaval."

After seeing the destruction at Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, GOP Minority leader Jon Bramnick said, "People live at the shore and love the shore- that's part of their being - and when you see that, you're ripping their heart and soul apart…It shows how fragile we are when we live on a planet- every day you have to be thankful that you're safe in your home…You think about kids walking on the boardwalk and looking at that and being so excited -and you have the opposite feeling today."

Sheila Oliver added, "We're very fortunate that there was not extensive loss of life during this storm - I think we're very fortunate…People made their livelihoods on this boardwalk, and there are families, who have been living in this area through successive generations and the economic impact alone is going to be a tremendous challenge for us."

Bill Akers, the Mayor of Seaside Heights, said he's glad the Legislators came to visit.

"They are the ones who are going to help us rebuild. In order to get all the facts and visually see it, I think a picture speaks a thousand words - we're in desperate shape right now."

He also said rebuilding will begin soon, and they want reopen the boardwalk May first of next year.

"There will be a next summer - we can't think any other way other than there will be a next summer- we will be open…Is it going to be what it was last summer? I don't anticipate that, but we will be open, and it's going to get better each and every day…Please don't forget about us, please support us, please come down here and visit us cause we will be open…We all went down together and everybody's in the same boat, and as long as we're all pulling the same way I think we're going to be okay."

The tour included stops in Seaside Heights, Ortley Beach, Normandy Beach, Brick and Bay Head.

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