Now that lawmakers have passed and the president has signed a measure to offer billions of dollars in relief aid to areas affected by Hurricane Sandy, officials are looking for ways to ensure the money is used efficiently and effectively. Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R-13) will be introducing legislation to double the fines levied on fraud cases related to the hurricane. She told NJ Today Senior Correspondent Desirée Taylor that Gov. Chris Christie has done a great job in the aftermath of Sandy and over his whole tenure as governor and she’s optimistic about the future of the Republican Party in the state.
According to Handlin, whenever a region gets an influx of funds after a natural disaster, cases of fraud increase as people try to take advantage of the situation.
“New Jersey has learned from the experiences in [other] states and a lot of systems and various programs are going to be put in place to monitor how this money is spent and in particular … my piece of the puzzle is to double the fines on anyone who dares to commit a fraud which is related to Hurricane Sandy,” she said. Handlin plans to introduce legislation next week that would up the fines to discourage fraud.
Christie has recently gotten endorsements from the Laborers International Union, the Port Authority PBA and Democratic Mayor Raymond McDonough. All three are unusual for a Republican governor. Handlin said the endorsements show Christie is doing a fantastic job.
“He’s focused on all the right things, all the things that matter to citizens regardless of their political party. And going forward, I think we’re going to see more and more endorsements of the governor from both sides of the aisle,” Handlin said. “And it’s not a surprise given that we’ve been able to do so many things under his leadership that were un-doable before.”
Handlin said since February 2010, more than 103,000 private sector jobs have been created in New Jersey, historic pension reform that will save billions of dollars was passed and property taxes were capped at 2 percent. “We finally tamed the beast. And we’re going to continue doing that. And the governor rightly is getting the credit for leading the charge,” she said.
When asked if she believes Republicans will be able to make gains in the Assembly and Senate, Handlin said there is no question that will happen.
“I think the public is aware that we’ve been right by his side casting the votes that have mattered, some of which have been controversial but all of which were very necessary in order to get things back under control, reverse the pattern of more and more and more tax increases, less and less and less confidence in our business community and in our state’s ability to do things right,” she said.