New Jersey's 8th District is home to what is considered to be the most dangerous two-mile stretch in the country. With one of the largest ports in the country, chemical plants, the Newark Airport, and critical transportation infrastructure, securing this region is of great importance to the communities I represent and to the nation. During my time in Congress, I have been working with my colleagues to prepare and protect the 13th District from all threats.
In January 2012, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Peter King (R-NY), visited the District to tour the security operations of the Holland Tunnel, the PATH system, the Port of Newark/Elizabeth, and the Lincoln Tunnel. The tour emphasized the current and future security needs of these New Jersey facilities. In 2008, the former Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Bennie Thompson (D-MS), also visited the 13th District to better understand the security issues we face in our community. Chairman Thompson saw firsthand that the port and transportation infrastructure located within our district are absolutely critical to our national security. During my time in Congress, I have been, and will continue to be, a strong advocate of adequate funding to secure our ports, chemical security plants, and other significant infrastructure.
Last Congress, I supported legislation that would direct that Transportation Security Administration to implement several programs to better protect airline passengers. In addition, I have voted for legislation that would improve safety measures at chemical facilities to limit their risk to neighboring communities. I have always been a strong supporter of our local fire fighters and police officers that protect our communities every day. I will continue to support sufficient funding for local fire departments to ensure that they have the staff and equipment needed to respond quickly and save lives.
The destructive storms that pummeled the state of New Jersey in 2010 and 2011 are important reminders of the need to constantly review and advance our preparedness measures and our emergency response capabilities. With the proper tools, we can mitigate the risk and improve recovery from natural disasters as well as other threats.