Hurricane Sandy left a path of devastation across our area, and a federal disaster declaration has been issued for parts of New York State including Suffolk County. It is clear that federal assistance will be necessary for our area to recover from the storm, and I have already begun a comprehensive effort to make sure the response is coordinated among all levels of government.
I led my colleagues in the bipartisan Long Island Delegation in a letter to the Democratic and Republican Leadership in the House of Representatives. Our message was clear and straightforward: an emergency hurricane relief funding package must be the "first order of business" when Congress reconvenes on November 13. You can read coverage of my efforts on the Wall Street Journal website.
On Tuesday, I began my day by touring Patchogue Village with Mayor Paul Pontieri who said the flooding was the worst he had seen in his lifetime as a Patchogue resident. I also took an overflight tour of the South Shore, Peconic Bay and North Shore coastlines where I saw extensive erosion from the storm, especially on the North Shore and 10 to 12 major overwashes and breaches of the barrier beaches on the South Shore.
Also on Tuesday, I hosted approximately 20 local elected officials from across the district to hear from Suffolk County Fire Rescue and Emergency Services, New York State Office of Emergency Management, and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to discuss the next steps they need to take to apply for partial federal reimbursements for recovery work, as well as a chance for them to ask questions. You can listen in on this informative call by visiting my website.
Power is back on at my Patchogue District Office but my Southampton Office (as well as my home) remains without power. The Patchogue Office will be open tomorrow to assist you with your concerns and needs in the aftermath of the storm, including issues with the restoration of LIPA service. Please call us at 631-289-6500. If you left a message at the office, please be assured that we will return it as soon as possible.
Tomorrow I will tour hard-hit areas of Riverhead and the North Shore to see the damage first hand. As always, we owe our first responders and municipal employees thanks for their hard work and bravery to keep our communities safe. As we recover from this devastating storm, I will work to ensure that the federal government steps up to deliver the support we need.
Congressman Tim Bishop
First District of New York