e-News 9/22/17

A First-hand Look at Damage from Harvey and Irma
Maria’s Destruction
New Jersey Listening Tour Continues: Cornerstone New Jersey
“Iran Remembers the Murderous Summer of 1988.”
Salute: Boonton as its celebrates 150th Birthday!
Salute: Sparta’s Diane Taylor

A First-hand Look at Damage from Harvey and Irma

At the request of the Speaker of the House, I spent two-days this week on a fact finding trip to storm-ravaged areas of Florida and Texas. Traveling with Paul Ryan and bipartisan Congressional delegation, we visited Jacksonville and Miami and took an aerial tour of the Florida Keys before stopping in the Houston metropolitan area to assess Hurricane Irma and Harvey recovery efforts. The Speaker and I also assisted volunteers at a county-wide shelter in Houston and helped with house clean-up in the Friendswood neighborhood in Texas.

It was important that I be on the ground with federal, state and local officials and first responders and the people of Florida and Texas to listen and learn as we work to ensure that funding is readily available to meet the needs of the victims of these two disasters.

These were distinctly different storms but they both shattered the lives of many of our fellow Americans. Homes are destroyed. Businesses are heavily damaged. The power remains out in many areas. The Florida Keys are particularly devastated. The hundreds of thousands of victims of these destructive storms are still in the early stages of what will be a long and difficult recovery from Harvey and Irma, and now, Maria in Puerto Rico. We will work together to make sure that the necessary federal resources are in place for the rebuilding. We will be there every step of the way.

The delegation received multiple briefings in Florida and Houston from federal, state, and local officials including the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

My Appropriations Committee plays a central role in ensuring that the federal government provides the help the victims need. It was important for me reassure residents and local officials that that we will help them rebuild.

This month, the Congress quickly passed a bipartisan bill that I developed to replenish funds in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

I also appreciated the opportunity to thank personally the first responders and the military members who risked their own safety to rescue so many victims. These courageous and dedicated individuals continue to be vital to this recovery.

Maria’s Destruction

Hurricane Maria delivered another devastating blow this week to Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other Caribbean islands.

As the storm passes the Bahamas, some forecast models suggest it could find an escape route out to sea, remaining offshore from our East Coast, but it is still too early to sound the all-clear.

As residents of a coastal state, the people of New Jersey should put time and effort into being prepared for hurricanes and tropical storms. The safety and security of all New Jersey residents is of the highest importance to me, and please know that my office is always willing to lend a hand.

It is never too early to be prepared for major storms. Here are some things to keep in mind when planning for extreme weather.

Basic Preparedness Tips:

  • Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. Contact your local emergency management agency for more information.
  • Put together a go-bag: disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate
  • If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.
  • Make a family emergency communication plan.
  • Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”

For more information, visit here.

New Jersey Listening Tour Continues: Cornerstone New Jersey

I was honored to be invited to meet with the State Chamber of Commerce’s leadership this morning. This group of top business leaders and entrepreneurs includes many of the most prestigious companies in the state. Their goal – like mine – is a “business-friendly” New Jersey which translates to jobs for our residents.

I briefed them on the progress we’ve made in the House on the appropriations bills that will keep our government open for business and fund important New Jersey priorities. They were also eager to hear about the prospects for pro-growth tax reform, healthcare changes and some urgent overseas challenges like those from North Korea.

“Iran Remembers the Murderous Summer of 1988.”

The regime executed an estimated 30,000 people. Their ‘trials’ usually lasted minutes. Shabnam Madadzadeh’s compelling piece in the September 19 Wall Street Journal is worth a read:

Salute: Congratulations Boonton: “Small Town, Big Heart” as it kicks off its 150 birthday celebration this weekend.

Salute: Thank you to Diane Taylor, the founder and President of Sussex County’s “Pass It Along”, an organization that has helped more than 100,000 teenagers realize a greater purpose through leadership and volunteer opportunities. Diane started this valuable community service organization back in 2001!