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Christie Talks Sandy, Bipartisan Politics in State of the State Address

Gov. Chris Christie delivered his third State of the State address Tuesday in Trenton.

It’s been a consistent refrain from Gov. Chris Christie’s office following Hurricane Sandy’s landing on New Jersey’s shores. Make no mistake about it, he told the assembled crowd of lawmakers at the Statehouse Tuesday afternoon, New Jersey will be back.

As expected, much of Christie’s State of the State address focused on Sandy’s impact on New Jersey and the ongoing effort to restore the areas most devastated by the storm as quickly as possible.

During the approximately 45-minute speech—one marked by several standing ovations for both Christie and for residents who performed heroically during and after Sandy—the governor appealed for bipartisanship in politics at both the state and national levels as New Jersey works toward restoration.

Recalling advice delivered during a tour of Port Monmouth to a 9-year-old storm victim named Ginjer that the “adults are in charge now,” Christie lauded rebuilding efforts thus far and called for the effort to continue.

"The people of New Jersey have come together as never before,” he said in his speech. “Across party lines. Across ideological lines. Across ages, races and backgrounds. From all parts of our state. Even from out of state. Everyone has come together.”

In all, Christie’s office estimates Sandy caused nearly $37 billion in property damage. The stormed knocked out power to 7 million residents, damaged or destroyed 346,000 homes and has left tens of thousands of residents displaced.

Backing off his harsh criticism of the GOP and U.S House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, whose “toxic politics” the governor blamed for delaying aid to Sandy victims, Christie instead urged Congress to follow up on its approval of a preliminary $9 billion flood insurance package by passing the remainder of the aid at a scheduled Jan. 15 vote.

“You see,” he said, “some things are above politics. Sandy was and is one of those things.”

Christie added: “We now look forward to what we hope will be quick Congressional action on a full, clean Sandy aid bill—now, next week—and to enactment by the president. We have waited 72 days, seven times longer than victims of Hurricane Katrina waited. One thing I hope everyone now clearly understands—New Jersey, both Republicans and Democrats, will never stand silent when our citizens are being shortchanged.”

‘We are working together’

Much of Christie’s speech carried a tone of optimism. The governor, delivering his third State of the State, dwelled little on the politics that have dominated his tenure thus far, instead offering quickly delivered recaps of policies he claims have kept property taxes low, reformed the pension system, cut the government workforce and added jobs to the private sector.

Instead of discussing opposition from Senate and Assembly Democrats, Christie instead lauded a method of government that has gotten things done, now and even prior to Sandy.

“We are working together, not just as a people in digging out from Sandy and rebuilding our economy,” he said in his speech. “Here in Trenton, in this chamber, we have had our fights. We have stuck to our principles. But we have established a governing model for the nation that shows that, even with heartfelt beliefs, bipartisan compromise is possible. Achievement is the result. And progress is the payoff.”

The economy has been a top priority and will continue to be in the coming year, Christie said. Sandy and lingering effects of the national economic recession have been stumbling blocks toward New Jersey’s complete economic recovery, Christie noted, though new data shows that homes sales, consumer spending and industrial production all are up.

Ultimately, the state’s economy benefits when more, better paying jobs are created, Christie said.

“Since I took this office, participation in New Jersey’s labor force is higher than the nation as a whole and the number of people employed has grown,” Christie’s speech read. “That means that more people have the confidence to be out looking for jobs, and more people actually have jobs.”

New Jersey does, however, have an unemployment rate that outpaces the national average.

Democrats say some Christie policies hurt

Though Christie refrained from too much finger pointing during Tuesday’s speech, New Jersey Democrats, in their official response, did object to some of the governor’s claims. Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-34) said Christie has done a fine job responding to the needs of counties devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Unfortunately, she said, he’s failed to address the needs of the rest of the state, now, and even before Sandy.

The foreclosure rate on residential properties in New Jersey is up, Oliver said. And while municipalities are unable to adequately fund their police forces because of, presumably, the governor’s mandatory 2-percent tax cap, crime is up in many areas already plagued with high crime rates.

Christie’s policies also came under fire from regular political rival state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3), who on Monday said that the governor’s prayers were answered when Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey; Sweeney quickly apologized for his remarks. Sweeney’s message was clear, however. He believes Sandy provided a convenient distraction for Christie’s economic policies, which have failed to jump-start New Jersey.

With Christie advocating for an end to partisan politics in his address, his colleagues in the Statehouse were more than willing to pick up the slack. State Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-13), representing towns in Monmouth County, attacked the governor’s Democratic critics who’ve challenged his positive economic interpretation.

“For anyone to say that 75,000 private sector jobs created, $120 billion saved taxpayers by pension and benefits reform, and the first meaningful limits on property taxes isn’t a record worth cheering is absurd,” Kyrillos said in a statement. “I encourage the governor’s critics to stop with the nasty, partisan posturing, leave the campaigning for the fall, and work with the governor to continue the progress.”

With his plans to seek re-election for a second term as New Jersey’s governor, Christie called for Trenton to work together toward a positive future. During the next several years the state will be tasked with rebuilding from Sandy, restoring New Jersey’s economy to growth and prosperity, and reclaiming the promise of a positive New Jersey for future generations, he said.

That requires assistance from both Republicans and Democrats.

“Let’s put aside destructive politics in an election year. Let’s put aside accusations and false charges for purely political advantage. Let’s work together to honor the memories of those lost in Sandy. Let’s put the needs of our most victimized citizens ahead of the partisan politics of the day,” he said. “Let’s demonstrate once again the resilience of New Jersey’s spirit. And let us continue what we have started.”

proud January 10, 2013 at 10:46 AM
@Mister Mike, in early December Obama introduce a bill for SandyAid in the amount of approximately 60 billion dollars. The Senate passed the bill right after Christmas. The House was too busy playing political football with the fiscal cliff negotiations to consider the bill and the speaker wanted to table the bill until a new congress was sworn in. He partially caved under pressure and approximately 9.7 billion portion passed the house and was subsequently signed by the Predident . The remaining 50billion and change will likely be considered on January 15th, dependent upon whether or not our illustrious leaders are lying or playing games.
John J. Harris January 10, 2013 at 12:49 PM
Actually karen the bottom line is that you have nothing to back up your line. What? What? Ahh the sound of silence. You are clearly emotionally involved since you have a family member that is "Autistic" Your anecdotal accounts of one person and of what you hear from others are not proof of anything. The first thing you hear from the family of these mentally deranged people after they open fir is oh geee adam or jarod were never violent before. Then the reports from the investigators come out that reveal the real truth. They have no ability to show emotion and no empathy they are stone cold killers. I wonder if karen always tries to argue with people that dont agree with her by calling them angry. I never changed what I said I simply corrected people who do not have very good reading comprehension and did not understand what I stated. Hopefully cowboy joe biden will have the president issue an executive order to lock up these dangerous people.
NJarhead January 10, 2013 at 01:09 PM
Rick, I was suffering myself under Corzine. Especially as a commuter. Thankfully I found a job right here in Monmouth County., but if you ask anyone who drives up north to work each day, the tolls are killing them. Corzine allocated that money already and Christie was unable to reverse it. I know he's made some tough decisions, some unpopular ones, but there's no question in my mind that he's trying to get us back to a better position overall. What's the saying? "It's a *poop* sandwich and we all have to take a bite."
Resident January 10, 2013 at 01:44 PM
Rick/Ricky, His fake cap as you call it of 2% is very real. For towns to go over the 2% the town needs to justify and have it voted on by the residents of that town. So if your town went over that, then atleast you had a say by voting and not having it rammed down your throat like in the past. I would be interested in your list of lies he has told.TIA
Bernie January 10, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Before CC I was getting $1200.0 a year tax rebate as I am a senior. Since CC An 1% Additional sales tax was added just for needed money to continue this program ?? What has changed under his admistration.. Now I get $247 dollars back , delayed from Oct payment in 2012 to May of 2013, making it look like a rebate for 2013?? Ponzi at it best CC. Also tax freeze for Seniors was changed ! His excuse NO Money. Where did the extra money from the 1% that was to be for Rebates get used?? Salarlies for his legal staff?? Big Mouth no results.
Joe Taxpayer January 10, 2013 at 05:27 PM
@bernie, CC increased the sales tax? News to me. The state is spending 32 Billion and taking in 31 Billion. What would you like CC to do when we have 9.8% unemployment? Raise taxes? Cut pensions? Cut healthcare costs for unions? Given the budget deficit, sounds like no one should be getting a rebate and should pay their fair share.
Bernie January 10, 2013 at 07:15 PM
Yes: He increased from 6% to 7% But people like you missed it I guess, And the sole purpose was to aid seniors, who you may not be one.
Joe Taxpayer January 10, 2013 at 07:22 PM
@bernie sorry you must be confused. most liberals are. The sales tax went from 6 to 7% way back in 2006 under the crooked Gov named Corzine who then stole the money and spent it. Don't believe me. Believe in the power of google. New York-WABC, September 28, 2006) (WABC) -- Get ready New Jersey, as of Sunday the state's increased sales tax is expanding to more items, including downloads and tattoos. As part of a sales tax increase, from 6 percent to 7 percent, which was approved in July, the state's tax will be extended to various items. New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine proposed the increase to help close a projected $4.5 billion budget deficit, but the increase was opposed by many state Democrats in the state legislature. That dispute led to a shutdown of the state's government, which was later resolved. http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=business_week&id=4608733 So can I count on you to support eliminating pensions so we can provide seniors with tax relief?
JustWondering January 10, 2013 at 07:38 PM
NJ sales tax increased from 6% to 7% on July 15, 2006. Time flies when you're having fun. (Bernie - CC took office on January 19, 2010.)
Sherm January 10, 2013 at 07:44 PM
What EXACTLY has he done? Hows JOhn Boner
Sherm January 10, 2013 at 07:47 PM
what exactly has he done?
Sherm January 10, 2013 at 07:48 PM
yuuuup
proud January 10, 2013 at 07:54 PM
@ JustWondering, give @Bernie a break Apparently, the memory isn't what it used to be. As for your "bigmouth/noresults" comment @Bernie, you seem to be pointing fingers in the wrong direction. Don't you think an apology is in order?
Mister Mike January 10, 2013 at 08:11 PM
joe taxpayer, correcting Bernie that the increase of the nj sales tax to 7% was under gov Corrine is one thing, as is citing the WABC article about it. however, saying that Corrine then stole the money and spent it implies that you mean he stole it from the state and spent it for his personal use. if you are if fact saying this, where,s your documentation of it?!? I'm not saying Corrine was a good gov, but it looks like you are mixing fact of the 7% sales tax increase with an unsubstantiated personal opinion that borders on libel.
proud January 10, 2013 at 08:17 PM
@MisterMike, Corzine didn't really steal the money, he gave it away to gain union votes in his quest to be re-elected. Fortunately for New Jerseyans, it was just another one of his failures. Not so fortunate for those doing business with or employed by MF Global.
John J. Harris January 10, 2013 at 09:44 PM
libel? thanks mister mike esq. How about the millions corzine stole from MF Global? http://money.cnn.com/2012/11/14/news/companies/corzine-mf-global/index.html
Jerry January 11, 2013 at 07:38 PM
The people of NJ say give me money, I don't care how much pork is in the bill. I WANT MINE NOW! And Christie is a fraud. He talked a good talk before the election, NOW, he does't care that 40% of the full appropriation bill is pork to other states.
Porterincollingswood January 11, 2013 at 07:51 PM
Look at the tax revenue by state. And then look at the federal money that comes back. Now tell me NJ, CT, NY, CA aren't bankrolling much of this country (inclusive of a big one that balances its state budget with federal money). So if we need the money, truly need it, we should get it. We're bucking up for everyone else 24/7.
Jerry January 11, 2013 at 09:29 PM
The people in government are people like you and me, but once they get elected, the lose their minds and change because of what they perceive as neccessity. Power, Money, Greed. But are they just reflecting who we are? Yes! But not all of us. We the few seek truth and responsibility from those we elect. But then again, as Pilate said to Jesus, "What is truth?".
Jerry January 11, 2013 at 09:40 PM
When I asked my father why didn't the people fight back when Hitler and Stalin were killing and murdering all the various people, He said "With what, pitchforks?"
TheGreatHoax January 15, 2013 at 11:53 AM
http://www.redstate.com/ - 82k - Cached - Profiting on Disaster: NJ Senate Votes To Exclude Non-Union Construction Workers from Sandy recovery work. The dirty politicians are at it again. Big payoff to UNIONS!!! If you're NON-UNION - NO WORK FOR YOU!!! Call Christie and tell him to veto this disgraceful bill.
Jim March 19, 2013 at 03:24 PM
So which is it? Bitter teacher? Angry DPW worker?
Jim March 19, 2013 at 03:29 PM
For starters, he put his foot down with the scumbag public unions, they have plagued the state long enough. Time for the state to regain a little bit of control...
Jim March 19, 2013 at 03:33 PM
Rick Ricky, Hopefully everyone will remember him for his resistance to the union thugs that use it's members as leverage for their own agendas. How much do the NJEA execs make every year? Yeah.... Exactly.
Jim March 19, 2013 at 03:38 PM
Well said.
Spooner March 19, 2013 at 04:19 PM
...that link doesn't work. No such byline there!
Joe Taxpayer March 19, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Did everyone see camden approved their budget of $151 million? Thanks to the rest of us, the residents only have to pay $24M of it. http://www.courierpostonline.com/article/20130319/NEWS01/303190023 So when your local taxes go up, be sure to thank Christie for funding Camden's services instead of yours
Dame Bridgid March 21, 2013 at 12:02 PM
What have YOU actually done, A Resident? Christie tried hard to reduce loss of life with some very straight talk asking people to evacuate early & . Christie was out doing his job as the sun rose that morning despite being ill. Christie set aside partisan politics to get help for New Jersey. Christie understood the value of the people in Belmar taking charge of their own recovery & serving as a symbol of the resiliency of the Jersey Shore. He was there as the first piling was driven, showing his support, & he will be there when it officially opens on Memorial Day to commemorate Belmar's rise from the flood waters. I have loaded box trailers, as volunteers like me salvaged school things. I kept other warm & fed. I hauled firewood to the elderly. I continue to volunteer. I would much rather see a "do'er" like Christie, rather than a whiner.
Dixie March 21, 2013 at 12:16 PM
We're all doomed.
Dame Bridgid March 21, 2013 at 12:30 PM
The autistic have double the rate of violent schizophrenia than other groups. This information is easy to access on mental health websites, Karen. Autism is characterized by a lack of ability to properly form connections to the world & most importantly to other people. That commonly manifests as lack of empathy. Empathy is one of the traits that keeps us from being sociopaths. By allowing families to cling to illusions of normalcy by attempting to get them to function in the public schools chaos (mainstreaming) we may be wounding them in ways they cannot verbalize, thus setting the scene for their mental breakdowns. There needs to be more compassion in diagnosis & placement. It is plain we took a wrong turn & Newtown was the price we paid.

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