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Steve Sweeney Talks Sandy Recovery with a Warning [AUDIO]


At public hearings around the state, New Jersey residents have told lawmakers that they’re still living a nightmare as a result of Superstorm Sandy and they think help isn’t coming fast enough.

Homes damaged from Sandy
Homes damaged from Sandy (Mark Wilson, Getty Images)

Senate President Steve Sweeney gave his thoughts on the topic and issued a warning about the state’s current readiness should another major storm hit.

“I would love to see it (Sandy recovery) go much quicker than it is, but this is an enormous task,” said Sweeney. “It’s easy to criticize right now, but we’ve got to work together to make sure we get people back in their homes.”

The state also has to rebuild in a smart way, according to Sweeney. He said everything can’t just be put back the way it was before the storm because that would make no sense.

“We know storms like Sandy are going to come again, so we have to be stronger,” explained Sweeney. “We’ve got to improve our utilities. We have a lot of work to do and I think it’s going to take years for this state to get to a position where it’s going to be able to withstand the type of storms that we have.”

Florida and other states that have a lot of hurricanes build differently than New Jersey, said Sweeney, and we need to learn from that.

“We’re not ready,” warned Sweeney. “If we got hit by another storm tomorrow, we’re in big trouble and that’s not a criticism. It’s just a reality.”

The Garden State is over one year removed from Sandy. In September, joint Senate and Assembly environment committees learned that many residents are no closer to returning to their homes today than they were last November. The Sandy rebuilding progress has stalled for many affected by the storm.

“We’ve been treated like criminals basically, like we’re trying to get something for nothing when we’re just trying to get the insurance money that we initially thought was due us,” said Kathleen Fisher whose Ventnor City home was flooded by Sandy. “You just basically felt like a criminal through the whole experience just trying to rebuild a house.”

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