Political Storm Over Sandy Recovery

State Sen. Barbara Buono

Gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono criticized Gov. Chris Christie for “mismanagement and bungling” of New Jersey’s Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts last week.

STATE — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono says her Republican opponent is taking advantage of Superstorm Sandy for political benefit while residents remain troubled by damage caused by the massive hurricane.

While Gov. Chris Christie starred in the “Stronger Than The Storm” campaign and appeared at numerous photo-ops at the Jersey shore this summer, some homeowners are still waiting for help and running out of patience.

Standing outside the storm-damaged Keansburg home of Elena Pagonis and Joe McLaughlin on Friday, Buono said “There’s a whole other Jersey that needs to be rebuilt.”

The couple turned to Buono after not getting a response from the state Department of Community Affairs on the status of their grant application, they said.

“They want to know at least when they’ll hear back from somebody, anybody, with a definitive answer on where they stand with respect to recovery funds,” Buono said. “If the governor had enough time to travel out to Texas to see the (Dallas) Cowboys, I see no reasonable explanation why he can’t come here and speak to these people and give them an answer.”

Christie’s campaign criticized Buono for her “callous politicization” of the hurricane recovery.

“Gov. Christie has undeniably been a responsive, strong leader for storm survivors up and down the state and here in Keansburg, securing federal relief and delivering it in a quick and transparent manner and continuing to help those who are still in need,” said a statement from Keansburg Mayor Arthur Boden, a Republican.

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