As New York State begins large-scale rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, members of the New York State Senate today announced the formation of a bipartisan Senate task force charged with undertaking some of the recovery’s biggest challenges. As federal and state aid begins to materialize, task force members will play a pivotal role in developing the short and long-term plans that will help these communities get back on their feet. Each task force member represents one of New York State’s hardest hit areas and is thus uniquely qualified to pinpoint those neighborhoods and businesses that are most in need.
Senator Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) and Senator Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) will co-chair the bipartisan task force. Task force members will include Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn), Senator Charles J. Fuschillo Jr. (R-Merrick), Senator-Elect James Sanders, Jr. (D-Queens), Senator Jack Martins (R-Mineola), Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland), Senator Martin J. Golden (R-Brooklyn), Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Queens) and Senator Lee Zeldin (R,C,I–Shirley).
The task force, which includes members from all three Senate conferences, will tour and hold hearings in hard hit communities across the New York metropolitan region.
The Bipartisan Senate Task Force for Hurricane Sandy Recovery has three major goals:
Ø Identify areas most in need of recovery assistance.
Ø Review rebuilding and storm planning policies to remove roadblocks and ensure better storm-preparedness.
Ø Develop legislative solutions that will implement the forthcoming recommendations made by the NYS 2100 Commission, the NYS Respond Commission and the NYS Ready Commission – all established by Governor Cuomo in November.
Senator Andrew Lanza, co-chair of the Task Force, said, "Nearly two months after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on Staten Island, thousands of my constituents and fellow New Yorkers are still sifting through debris, struggling to repair extensive damages and fighting for resources to rebuild their homes and lives. As we determine the needs of these victims and rebuild our communities we must learn from our experiences to prepare for the future. I look forward to Co-Chairing this task force and improving New York State's emergency preparedness and response capabilities by crafting legislation that will ensure our critical systems and services are better prepared for natural disasters and other emergencies in the future."
Senator Dean G. Skelos said, “The devastation from Hurricane Sandy has resulted in unprecedented challenges for communities throughout the New York City metropolitan region and Long Island. In my district, neighborhoods from Inwood to Baldwin sustained massive damage similar to what we are seeing here in the Rockaways, and six weeks after the storm residents are still trying to get their lives back together. The bipartisan Senate Task Force we are announcing today brings together Senators from both sides of the aisle who represent the hardest hit areas of New York to provide critical input to recovery efforts and to develop short and long term solutions to rebuild these communities.”
Senator Malcolm Smith, co-chair of the Task Force, said, “All of us here today have lay witness to the terrible devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. This deadly storm didn’t make landfall in some far away place. It hit us right here, in our own backyards. As we’ve all seen today, there are families still without heat or hot water; we have children and elderly who are struggling to find a warm meal each night. These problems go beyond any political affiliation. They go beyond any single senate district. And yes, these problems are color blind. I am proud to stand here today with senate colleagues. We all recognize that in order to rebuild, we need to ensure that resources from Washington are directed to the hardest hit communities and that we are prepared for future challenging weather occurrences.”
Senator Diane Savino said, "I would like to thank Senators Klein and Skleos for their leadership in creating the State Senate Taskforce on Hurricane Sandy. I look forward to working with my fellow committee members to ensure that the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn can recover from this storm as quickly as possible."