Column as submitted by Congressman Jon Runyan of New Jersey's 3rd Legislative District:
It has been just over a month since Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey and caused billions of dollars of damage to our state and communities. I wanted to take the time to keep you up to date on all the work that has been done behind the scenes by myself and the entire New Jersey Delegation. Below is a letter I sent to every elected official in New Jersey's 3rd Congressional District. It details much of the work that has been done to aid those individuals and families that have been affected by the storm. There is still a lot of work to do and I remain committed to doing all that I can to help New Jersey rebuild.
Dear Elected Official,
I write to provide you with a brief update on my efforts to help New Jersey recover after the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.
In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy I was pleased to see that Ocean County was declared a disaster area and eligible for immediate federal assistance. However, Burlington County was left out of the initial disaster declaration by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In order to ensure that Burlington County received the assistance it required, I wrote FEMA asking them to include Burlington County in the disaster declaration, subsequently Burlington County was declared a disaster zone along with the rest of New Jersey's counties.
The commercial and recreational fishing industries are vital entities in our coastal communities and must have the resources necessary to rebuild. That is why I led a delegation letter to the Acting Secretary of Commerce asking her to approve Governor Christie's request for a fisheries resource disaster declaration, so that New Jersey fishermen can begin to rebuild. This will be critical in rebuilding local recreational marinas, and commercial fishing ports, in addition it will provide compensation to small businesses like bait and tackle shops located on the water that were severely damaged.
I also realize that fully funding and completing beach replenishment projects must be a priority going forward. That is why I lead a delegation letter to President Obama requesting that he fully fund and immediately complete all previously authorized Army Corps of Engineers beach and flood control projects. This would include projects like the Long Beach Island shore protection, and the Manasquan Inlet to Barnegat Inlet shore protection project. The Manasquan to Barnegat project would help to safeguard our hardest hit areas between Point Pleasant and Island Beach State Park. As many of you are aware areas of LBI with completed shore protection projects held up considerably better than those areas where the projects have not yet been completed, I will fight to ensure that we get the funding we need to finally get these projects done.
It will take all of us working together to rebuild from this storm. That is why the New Jersey delegation is working on a bi-partisan basis to support Governor Christie and to help our state. I recently took the lead on a delegation letter along with Congressman Pascrell to President Obama requesting that he meet face to face with the entire delegation to talk about our needs. In addition, I have been working behind the scenes to ensure that we expedite a robust Hurricane Sandy recovery bill. FEMA currently has the funding on hand to cover immediate compensation but it won't last long. I am fighting to make sure that we get a recovery bill passed soon so that there is no lag in federal funding flowing in to New Jersey to aid in the clean up.
I thank you for all that you have done on a local level to help rebuild our state. This will be a long process but I look forward to working with you to make certain that we rebuild stronger than ever. If you have any specific questions please feel free to contact Jeff Brabant of my staff at 202-225-4765.
Member of Congress