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Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty

Representing the 5th District of Connecticut


Esty Demands Answers from Federal Officials on Hurricane Maria Response at Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Hearing

November 2, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Delivering remarks to a committee hearing on the fallout from 2017’s historic storm season, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Vice-Ranking Member Rep. Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) questioned federal officials’ response to the major humanitarian crisis still unfolding in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands following the devastation of Hurricane Maria. 

“We’re not here today only talking about how to get it right ‘next time.’ We’re also here talking about what we need to do right now, today, to help Americans citizens who live in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” Esty said. “I have 75,000 residents in my district [who are from Puerto Rico]. That’s one out of every ten in my district in Connecticut hails originally from Puerto Rico. They and their families want answers. They can’t even find some of their folks.

“We still have three-fourths of the island without power. 800,000 without water. We have hospitals with black mold. I had a meeting in my district at the beginning of this week, and family members inland want to stay. They don’t have roofs on their houses. We’re having real difficulty getting supplies around the island. So it’s tremendously difficult and we know that, and we want to thank the FEMA workers and Coast Guard and everyone. The Coast Guard from Connecticut were very appreciative of your efforts. But, we need to do better and we need answers. 

“So we ask again for your continued work with us, to do better to allow debris to be cleared, clear the roads to get these supplies in as quickly as possible. But we’re not there yet. We need to do better, we will be there with you and give you the resources you need. But we need to do better now. 

“Texas and Florida got immediate relief in ways that Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands did not. They deserve it. All Americans deserve the aid of the federal government wherever they live in this great country.”

To view Esty’s remarks, click the image above or click here

Earlier in the week, Esty held a roundtable with community leaders and families at La Casa Boricua in Meriden to discuss the challenges facing American citizens arriving in Connecticut in the wake of the humanitarian disaster after Hurricane Maria. 

Esty previously called on President Trump and Congress to provide additional aid to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and waive requirements limiting access to federal funding for recovery programs and work assistance until the islands’ economies recover.

Esty’s remarks can be viewed here.