MSNBC "The Rachel Maddow Show" - Transcript

Interview

By:  Gregory Meeks
Date: Nov. 25, 2012
Location: Unknown

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GREGORY: Let me-- I want to shift gears just slightly as we-- we-- we reflect on our-- all the things that make us thankful on this Thanksgiving weekend. And I wanted to take us a couple of minutes to go to New York with Congressman Gregory Meeks. He joins us. His district, of course, includes Far Rockaway in Queens which was hit so hard during Hurricane Sandy. And congressman, it's good to have here and I-- I wanted to make sure we were checking in to see how folks in the hurricane zone were fairing this Thanksgiving and this Thanksgiving weekend. Tell me about the-- the week you've had with folks up there as we look at some of the images.

REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D-NY, Represents Far Rockaway, Queens New York): Well, let me tell you, first, every individual on that peninsula, whether you go to the east or to the west, was affected. There's not a single individual that was not affected by the storm. That being said, just listening to what your panel has been talking about, on Thanksgiving it was really spiritual, it was inspirational to see individuals come from around the city-- indeed from around the nation to try to make sure that people were eating. I saw neighbors cooking as if it was the summertime on their grills and sharing their food with-- with other neighbors. And people coming together saying that we're in, we still have got long ways to go, but we're going to be thankful that we have life. We're going to be thankful that we're still here and we're going to rebuild. You know, it-- it-- it was an inspirational day, Thanksgiving, walking around. The governor of the State of New York who has come to the area a number of times trying to make sure that people were being fed and looking to see what was going on, that was positive. And then when I look at what the mayor has done recently, because we were devastated, especially our small businesses, in regards to making sure there's grants for some of these small businesses so that they can get back on-- on their feet so that we can create jobs again, that is also inspirational and we are thankful for that. For sure, people are still hurting, some still don't have gas so they can't cook in their apartment, some still do not have heat, we don't want them to be in their apartments or homes as it gets cold. But we are coming together and working together to try to make sure that we get people back to normal as quickly as we possibly can.

GREGORY: What are the ling-- what are the lingering effects, I mean, as a member of Congress you're going to have to be looking at the ability of the government to pay to help some of these folks who have lost their homes and to be insured, to actually make insurance payments for people who have lost homes.

REP. MEEKS: That is exactly right. Well, we've got to do certain things. I mean, Michael Grimm for example and myself, Michael represents Staten Island and I represent the Rockaway Peninsula. Peter King, who was here, we were talking while we were in the greenroom. You know, Democrat, Republican, Steve Israel, further out, we've got to work together. Governor Comeau, Governor Christie, this is not a Democrat or Republican issue, this is an American issue. And we come together to protect and to make sure that our individuals, our citizens survive. And so I think that you'll see us going with a unified voice trying to say that we have to have the funds appropriated that are necessary to help people to get back on their feet. The govern-- Governor Comeau is having a meeting tomorrow, for example, with all of those who are affected in New York, all of the elected so that we can try to come together and speak with one voice. I think that is important and I think that we can do that in a bipartisan manner because all of us have been affected.

GREGORY: Yeah. All right. Congressman Meeks, good to see you. Thanks for sharing your photos and the experiences and of course our best to everybody in your district as we continue to check in on them. Thank you very much. We will take a break here and come back in just a moment.

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