CAPE MAY — On Aug. 28, hundreds of people showed up at Cape May’s Washington Street Mall to hear Gov. Chris Christie speak. Whether the majority of the public knew the governor would be making an appearance or whether the crowd was comprised of people who were just in the right place at the right time could be up for debate.
When he arrived, Christie was greeted with loud music and applause. Cape May’s Mayor Edward Mahaney introduced the governor as a man who possesses “responsibility, productivity, and has the ability to get things done.”
Christie greeted the crowd smiling, saying how wonderful it was “to be here in Cape May, one of the most beautiful places in the world.” To his left, U.S. Sen. Jeffrey Chiesa joined the crowd’s enthusiastic response with his own applause.
The primary purpose of Christie’s visit to Cape May was to “gain a personal, first-hand status report of the actual outcomes of New Jersey’s comprehensive and integrated programs focusing on the recovery efforts from last October’s Hurricane Sandy devastation.” The governor admitted that, in the days, weeks, and months following Sandy, he wondered, “if this summer would be one of the worst ever [for the Jersey shore]. Would the N.J. shore even be able to have a summer?” Christie went on to say that Cape May was not hit as hard as other shore towns, “but I want to say thank you to anyone and everyone who [helped out].”
Christie admitted that there is “still a lot of work to do. 365,000 homes were substantially damaged during Sandy.” He made a point to say that many homes have been rebuilt but many families are still in need of help.
Businesses have also suffered because of Hurricane Sandy. Christie highlighted the fact that “any business that has suffered a significant loss of $800,000 or more because of the storm is eligible for a grant (not a loan) of up to $5 million.” To ask questions or to have someone help you fill out the necessary forms, call 1-855-SANDYBZ. “Call that number and they’ll have someone physically come down here to Cape May to help you fill out the forms,” Christie said. “Call them today, leave the audience, go now!”
“When you look at what we’ve been able to do,” Christie said about the Sandy relief efforts to date. “It’s really only because of the great people that have been involved. On October 29, my role turned from a job to a mission,” Christie said. “I will not rest until every Sandy affected resident is back on their feet.”
With Labor Day approaching, Christie reflected that “now we’re at the end of summer. We want this last week to be as strong as possible for local businesses like restaurants and hotels.”
During the question and answer period, Christie was asked about his position on Syria. Christie responded, “This is the responsibility of the President of the United States. I didn’t vote for him either time, but it’s his call.”
The last question Christie fielded was related to the fact that the day marked the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream Speech” and how education in New Jersey is still widely diverse. Christie said that, “the great equalizer is that there is no segregation anymore. But here in New Jersey, there is a bigger gap between high achieving students and low achieving students. And parents of high achieving students should be concerned for the low achieving students too.”
At the end of the governor’s speech, he left the podium to the sound of applause minimized only by the sounds of Bruce Springsteen’s song, “We Take Care of Our Own” blasting down from high speakers.
To watch part of Christie’s talk on education, watch the video below.