By Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron
Gov. Chris Christie was almost as busy on the one-year anniversary as on the day of the storm. After appearing on three network morning shows, his schedule had 10 New Jersey stops well into the evening.
His message today? Be thankful for what’s been accomplished in a year and re-double the efforts.
“I think we’re much better prepared from the perspective of us knowing how to handle these things and inter-connectedness between all the different groups, both volunteer and government groups in the state. Where we’re not as well prepared on the resiliency side. That’s where a lot of the money that was announced yesterday will go towards. And the dune projects have to be done,” Christie said.
Stop number two this morning was the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, an interfaith service full of gospel music and pungent oratory.
“We learned a lot of life lessons from Sandy and one thing that we learned from Sandy, when the lights went out nobody cared what color you were,” said Rev. Joe Carter. “When the lines were backed up to get gas nobody cared whose God you prayed to.”
“In my experience there’s nothing quite like the New Hope Baptist Church in terms of lifting your spirits and making you think,” Christie said.
The governor didn’t speak there but his cabinet and senior staff attended.
Stop number three was Moonachie, a hard-hit town near the Meadowlands where leaders of the NFL pledged more money for recreation facilities in affected towns.
Christie acknowledged some people are still hurting a year later. We found some ourselves.
“I’ve done nothing but go through red tape and for what for nothing. I’ve filled out every form, I’ve completed every document. I’ve supplied everything that has been asked me to supply and yet nothing has been done,” Keansburg resident Isabel Newson said.
“Here we are a year later in financial ruins because we still haven’t seen any help. Nobody’s helping, I haven’t seen a dime. It’s just not there,” Union Beach Reisdent Simone Dannecker said.
“We’re gonna keep working at it. There’s no reason for us to despair today but we must keep our arms open and keep our hands working for the people who are still hurting,” Christie said.
At stop number four in hard-hit Sayreville, he said Sandy had turned being governor from a great job into a mission.
“My promise is I’m not gonna let anyone, anything, any politician, any government get between me and my completion of the mission,” Christie said.
Christie said repeatedly today said he is not forgetting those still suffering one year later. Unspoken a week before Election Day was that Superstorm Sandy helped project an image of the governor as a leader who rises to the occasion in a crisis.