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Gov. Christie and Sec. Donovan: Making New Jersey Stronger, Smarter, Better

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Location: Unknown

Secretary Donovan: As a native of this region, born in New York, but as Senator Menendez likes to remind me, I married up. I married a Jersey girl. And I will say when President Obama asked to lead the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, I immediately said yes because this recovery is personal to me. From the beginning our goals have been to help families back in their homes and to rebuild the region stronger and more prepared for future storms. Rising sea levels are presenting unprecedented threats to our cities, their regional ecosystems and communities across the region. We are here in Little Ferry because this area was hit by an 8 foot surge of water during Hurricane Sandy, that flooded hundreds of homes and businesses. We created the Rebuild by Design competition because we have an obligation to make sure this doesn't happen again. The bottom line is we have been able to work as partners to make sure that we do everything we can to bring the great state of New Jersey back to a wonderful place to live, a wonderful place to do business and actually to make it stronger, smarter, better than it was before the storm and I know you've shared that commitment from day one. It's been a pleasure to work with you and your entire team throughout this effort so thank you for your leadership.

Governor Christie: When Secretary Donovan came here for the first time I didn't have to tell him the difference between the Jersey Shore and Little Ferry. I didn't have to get a map out for him to show him why these different regions needed different types of attention and how each was impacted by the storm surge and the other problems that we had related to Sandy. Lastly, I've been impressed by what a practical leader he is as well. The fact of the matter is that there's no playbook on how to do this. There's no playbook on how to react to a storm of this size and scope with the damage that was done to our state. And so you need to have someone on the other side who is practical and understands that you need to bring common sense to these problems. There have been many conversations that the Secretary and I have had where we're really trying to craft solutions to problems that folks have never had to face before. We're in truly uncharted territory. I'm glad that I had someone who was not someone who was just looking at the nuts and bolts of things but wanted to look at how you could deal with something in a way that was going to affect human beings in a direct way and in a positive way.

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