Guadagno: “What you’ve seen in the last three weeks is not only the grit of the people of the state New Jersey, but also the grit of the people that are going to rebuild New Jersey and we’re going to rebuild it here, as the governor said three weeks ago, to be bigger and better than it was before.”
A fifth grader from Burbank, Calif., sent her Halloween candy to the governor’s office because, Guadagno said, she had read that “the kids of New Jersey had not had Halloween this year…That’s the kind of help that will keep us going. That’s the kind of support that will make sure New Jersey does come back stronger.”
At the height of the storm, 2.7 million people were without power, 500 state roads were closed and 7,000 people were in shelters, Guadagno said, adding: “The sun is coming up again, we are going to be stronger.”
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said the President Obama and Gov. Chris Christie administrations have been “remarkable in terms of their bipartisan assistance in the aftermath of the storm and I know they’re committed for the long haul.”
She went on: “The challenging reality is that government will not be able to cover all of Hoboken’s losses so we’re setting up a nonprofit to help fill that gap with private donations.” She directed people to rebuildhoboken.org.
|Vice President Joe Biden speaking at the Hoboken Terminal with Mayor Dawn Zimmer (l) Senator Bob Menendez and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. |
Photo courtesy of The Boken.
Pool report of VP Joe Biden's remarks in Hoboken:
Biden started by thanking first responders and explained what he saw during an aerial tour of coastline damage earlier in the day.
"I looked down and I said, you know, this an amazing country and this is the heartbeat of this country. It really is astounding when you just take a look at it from the air, when you take a look at all the commerce on the river. It's just astounding. So it's absolutely critical, I might add, not just for the people of New Jersey and New York , but for the people of this country that everything gets up and running again."
"If you'll forgive a little self-serving reference to FEMA and to the Department of Transportation and Homeland Security, I'm incredibly proud of the job that they have done."
Before he came to New Jersey today, Biden said he had a long conversation with Gov. Christie and was reassured that tour would feature areas important for him to see. Biden commended all levels of government in New Jersey for "being on the same page."
"My mom used to have an expression. She said, Joey, out of everything terrible something good will come if you look hard enough." Biden said the devastating storm provides an opportunity to rebuild and modernize "this section" of the country."
"I am absolutely confident of the grit and determination of the people of this state and across the river that we're going to come back better. It's going to be tough in the meantime. And congress and the senators are going to have their work cut out for them."
"Every time there's been a drought of pestilence, a forest fire in Mississippi, we always step up, we always step up and provide all the resources that are needed. Never can I remember an East Coast senator shying away from helping a drought and devastated farmland... We're expecting the same. This is one United States."
"The president and I are absolutely determined after all the photo ops are all over, after all the visiting delegations, after things look like they are back to normal, I promise the mayor we're not going anywhere."
Biden called himself and Lautenberg "sort of the Mr. Amtraks of the world."
Biden said Zimmer told him "there's probably no other city in America where there's a higher percentage of the population that takes public transportation." She interjected that it's 56 percent.
After Sandy hit, Obama and Biden held nearly daily conference calls with mayors and governors from impacted states. Biden said that Delaware Gov. Jack Markel offered Christie resources. Connecticut Gov. Daniel Malloy and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett did the same for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Biden: "I don't want to be sophomoric about this, but the truth of the matter is that's how it's supposed to work... Elections are over. We've got to get this done. And it's not merely in the interest of New Jersey, it's in the interest of the country."
"The coastline for us, the ocean for us, whether you call it the shore of the beach, from Virginia to New York, even all the way down to Florida, it is our Grand Canyon. It our Titons. It is ...not only part of us, but our economy is, but it is part of our culture. And I think the whole nation recognizes that."
Pool returned to motorcade vehicles at about 4:30 p.m. and, after holding a while, traveled along a bustling stretch of Washington Street in Hoboken. At 5:05 p.m., pool arrived at Benny Tudino's, whose sign proclaims "Home of the Largest Slice." Biden was already inside.
A crowd gathered on the street. Someone chanted, "Lower taxes!" A few others yelled out, "Delaware!" Before getting in his SUV, Biden popped his head up, grinned and waved at the crowd.
Next, the motorcade made an unplanned stop at the Hoboken Tavern on Hudson Street, a sports bar owned by Tom Brennan.
The pool report comes courtesy of Jenna Portnoy of the Star Ledger.