After Hurricane Michael hit the sunshine state’s Panhandle, Florida lawmakers have rushed to assist in rebuilding and providing support for residents. Six people have been confirmed to have passed and many more have gone missing.
Over the weekend, Senator Marco Rubio was interviewed on Chuck Todd’s Meet the Press, and he commented on the effects that Hurricane Michael, the role state and local government plays and how the federal government assists in the process.
Noting that the eastern part of the Panhandle “is a total wipeout,” Senator Rubio was asked if it can be rebuilt to look like it did before the hurricane.
Rubio explained that “it’s hard to imagine it ever being able to recapture the exact identity it once had. It’ll be rebuilt. It’ll all be rebuilt at some point. But it’s going to take a long time. You know, in terms of electricity in Panama City, that whole grid has to be rebuilt. It’s not restoration. But I want to tell you what I’m really most concerned about. And I’m concerned about all of it. There are a lot of inland areas, some of these poor rural counties to the north of there. These counties took a devastating hit. And we are talking about poor people, many of them are older, miles from each other, isolated in many cases from roads, including some dirt roads that are cut off right now. We haven’t been able to reach those people in a number of days. And I know they’re doing the best they can to get to them.”
When asked if there was more the federal government could do to help, the Florida Senator acknowledged that “It is the state government who is in charge of the response. The federal government stands in support. The state government tells the federal government, “We need this, and we need that.” So far I have not heard of anything the state government has asked for that the federal government has not stepped forward to provide. Whether there needs to be more, that’s something that we’ll see in the days to come. But I know the federal government, including the Department of Defense, is standing ready to offer even more if the state says it needs it.”