Thursday, September 8, 2016

Graham Asks President Obama to Approve Federal Disaster Assistance

U.S. Representative Gwen Graham Florida's 2nd District
Photo credit Graham's Twitter Page

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As North Florida recovers from Hurricane Hermine, Representative Gwen Graham has sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to quickly approve any request from the state for federal disaster assistance.

"Hurricane Hermine and subsequent flooding have caused more damage than North Florida has seen in a generation," Representative Graham said. "We need all hands on deck to help Florida families recover. I hope the president will quickly approve any request by the governor for federal assistance."

Representative Graham sent the letter in advance of the state's likely request for federal assistance to bolster their effort with bipartisan support. State and federal officials are in the process of assessing damages from the category one storm.

Representative Graham has been in communication with state and federal officials since the storm was predicted to hit Tallahassee. Throughout the storm and in the recovery effort, she has been updating constituents on social media, supporting local response efforts and volunteering with the Red Cross and Salvation Army. 

A full copy of Representative Graham's letter is attached and the text is copied, below:

Dear Mr. President:

Hurricane Hermine wreaked substantial damage to private property and public infrastructure in and around my North Florida Congressional district.

As of this morning, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is working with the State of Florida on damage assessments to determine whether federal assistance is warranted. After spending the last several days visiting with people affected by the storm and being briefed by emergency response officials, I strongly believe that federal assistance is necessary.

If Governor Rick Scott makes a request for assistance, I urge you to expeditiously approve that request and focus all appropriate federal resources to help local and state officials with the recovery. Your timely response will help affected citizens and communities get back on their feet as quickly as possible.

The parts of North Florida which received the brunt of this hurricane are unique to our state and nation. The path of the storm significantly impacted the Florida state capital of Tallahassee and the surrounding "Big Bend" region, an area which had not experienced tropical weather of this magnitude in more than three decades. Communities to the west and southeast of Tallahassee were also affected by Hurricane Hermine. This includes the Forgotten and Nature Coasts -- a series of coastal communities on the Gulf of Mexico known for their unspoiled shoreline, pristine natural estuaries, and traditional fishing communities which were fighting for economic survival even before the storm hit. 

We have citizens throughout North Florida who have lost their homes and livelihoods and are still without essential services. They need our help, and they need it now. 

Although the storm has passed, we must not lose the urgency to help families and communities recover from Hurricane Hermine. Thank you in advance for expediting federal assistance once requested. 

Sincerely,

Gwen Graham
Member of Congress