In his annual state of the state message, Christie said the storm disrupted New Jersey's economy and, noting it had been 72 days since the storm hit, called for "quick congressional action on a full, clean Sandy aid bill -- now, next week."
He said the storm damaged or destroyed 346,000 homes, disrupted electrical power for almost 7 million people and 1,000 schools, and drove 116,000 people from their homes, with 41,000 families still displaced -- but he said the people of his state "have come together as never before."
"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," Christie said.
"Sandy may have damaged our homes and our infrastructure, but it did not destroy our spirit."
Christie thanked first responders, National Guard and emergency management workers, as well as state lawmakers and various religious and other charitable groups. He also cited the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, the Chamber of Commerce and other business interests for taking steps to help the state assist business recovery.
The governor's thank-you list also included utility workers from other states and private citizens who "opened their homes, assisted senior citizens, fed their neighbors, counseled the grief-stricken, or pitched in to clear debris, remove sand, or get a school back opened."
"You have helped define New Jersey as a community, one which -- when faced with adversity -- rolls up its sleeves, gets back to work, and in word and deed shows that it will never, ever give up," Christie said.
"And make no mistake. We will be back, stronger than ever."
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