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Photos: Rubio Visits Victims of Hurricane Hermine, Meets with Tallahassee Community Leaders About Recovery

Sep 3, 2016 | Press Releases

Tallahassee, FL – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) visited a Tallahassee neighborhood this morning to speak with victims of Hurricane Hermine and see firsthand several homes damaged by the storm. Then, at the Leon County Public Safety Complex, he met with community leaders and officials about the ongoing recovery efforts and power outages.
Below is a partial transcript of Rubio’s remarks in front of the Cortese family residence at 394 Terrace St. in Tallahassee:
“The smaller counties that have been impacted, for them even $2 million, $3 million of impact is devastating, so we’re going to have to look at how that [recovery funding] formula works. The FEMA designation is done on a statewide basis. For a small, rural county, any damage can be very significant for them. … I know the assessment is being done and FEMA is monitoring all this.
“Right now the main priority is to get power restored. There’s all sorts of things that happen when power is not restored. Being a veteran of these storms, living in South Florida, the one you worry about almost immediately is when the power is turned on, if people haven’t turned off their breaker box and then you could have power come on and hit exposed water, exposed lines in the home. And then the bigger problem is mold, which over time that water damage just sits there you could have mold. So we worry about that. So hopefully they can get power restored and anything we could do to be helpful to the municipality trying to get the crews in here is something we want to be helpful with. Ultimately we’re going to keep monitoring it from the federal FEMA perspective so that if they get close to that number we can ensure that [disaster] declaration happens quickly.
“The main message we want to know is, obviously what kind of assistance we can provide at the federal level if they hit that FEMA designation. That’s the thing we’re going to keep an eye on. Because if in fact they get close to that number, we want to be able to quickly move on it and get action from the executive branch so those FEMA resources become available. …
“We want to be helpful in terms of helping the restoration crews come in and provide the backup help they need to get power back online, especially hopefully before Monday night when you have a game in this area people want to watch. …
“Our goal is to just cut through the paperwork. If in fact they get close to that number for the disaster designation, we want to see that [paperwork] happen as quickly as possible and we want to help the local governments processing those claims. We are still helping northwest Florida counties deal with FEMA claims from 10 or 12 years ago, some of which are tied up in bureaucratic wrangling and the appeals process. So we want to make sure that those impediments don’t happen and that if there are claims that in fact, we can, if we do reach the number, those claims are properly processed so you don’t run into that issue that we’re running into from storms that happened back in ‘04 and ‘05.”

Tallahassee resident Tony Cortese (left) shows Senator Marco Rubio the damage to his neighbor’s home following Hurricane Hermine.

Senator Marco Rubio (far right) meets with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (left), State Senator Bill Montford (center), Leon County Commissioner Bryan Desloge (right), and other officials at the Leon County Public Safety Complex Saturday morning.

Senator Marco Rubio talks with Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood (left) at the Leon County Public Safety Complex Saturday morning.