Seven months after visiting New Jersey to witness the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, President Barack Obama returned to the Garden State on a rainy Tuesday to declare that the Jersey Shore is back open for business after tireless rebuilding efforts.
"You are stronger than the storm after all you've dealt with, after all you've been through," Obama told a crowd of damp spectators gathered in Asbury Park. "The Jersey Shore is back and it is open for business."
His speech comes days after the Jersey Shore's summer tourism season, which brings billions of dollars in revenue to the coastal state, kicked off over Memorial Day weekend. While the President recognized there was still a lot of work to be done, he assured residents that the Federal Government's committment to repairing the $38 billion of damage to the region was as strong as ever.
"Seven months ago I promised you that your country would have your back. I told you, 'We would not quit until the job was done' and I meant it," he said.
In the immediate aftermath of the storm last October that claimed 37 lives and entire boardwalks — like the popular Seaside Heights tourist attraction where MTV's "Jersey Shore" was set — were decimated. Gov. Chris Christie's office estimated in January that 346,000 housing units were damaged or destroyed.
Despite the costly damage, Obama was optimistic for the Jersey Shore's future and quoted Jersey-born rock star Bruce Springsteen, adding: "I think a friend of mine from here once put it pretty well: 'Down at the shore, everything's all right."