Initial Rockaway News Conference also Featured Senate Leaders from Hard-Hit Districts
Queens, NY, December 11, 2012 – NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach), announced he’s serving on the newly formed Bipartisan Task Force on Superstorm Sandy in the State Senate. Addabbo’s district was hard-hit by the October 29 storm, and residents from the Broad Channel, Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach and most of the Rockaways are still digging out from the devastation. Addabbo estimates from 11,000-13,000 Rockaway residents are still without power provided by LIPA.
The Task Force includes members from all three Senate conferences, will tour damaged areas and hold hearings in the affected communities across the New York metropolitan region.
A news conference was held Monday in Rockaway at a peninsula warming center on Beach 94th Street was the first joint appearance of Senate Democrats and Republicans with the IDC and featured Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), Independent Democrat Conference Leader Senator Jeff Klein (D-the Bronx/Westchester), along with Senators Malcolm Smith (D-Queens), co-chair of the Task Force; Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island), co-chair of the Task Force; Lee Zeldin (R,C,I-Shirley), Jack Martins (R-Mineola), Diane Savino (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn), Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn), in addition to Addabbo, all of whose districts in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, Long Island and Rockland are still reeling from Sandy damage and its aftermath. Each of the 10-members on the Task Force 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. Task Force members who were not present at the Rockaway presser included Senator Charles Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick), Senator-elect James Sanders (D-Queens), and Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland).
Addabbo stated, “As a third of my district still deals with the destruction of Sandy, I expect that the Senate Task Force for Superstorm Sandy will play a pivotal role in identifying the needs of the affected communities and ensure that the federal funds and resources the state receives will address those needs. I look forward to working with all my colleagues on the Task Force as we collectively move forward down the road to recovery."
The new Bipartisan Senate Task Force is charged with undertaking some of the recovery’s biggest challenges. As federal and state aid begins to materialize, the Task Force will play a pivotal role in developing the short- and long-term plans that will help these communities get back on their feet. The three main goals of the Bipartisan Senate Task Force for Hurricane Sandy Recovery are:
· Identify areas most in need of recovery assistance;
· Review rebuilding and storm-planning policies to remove roadblocks and ensure better
· Develop legislative solutions that will implement the forthcoming recommendations made
by the NYS 2100 Commission, the NYS Respond Commission and the NYS Ready
Commission established by Governor Cuomo in November.
Addabbo noted that the first gathering of the Task Force members in Rockaway included touring the ravaged beachfront and destroyed boardwalk area. They also were given an update by Queens Library on the status of rebuilding the local libraries. Among the issues discussed during a roundtable conversation with community leaders were mold removal, the lack of electricity, the need to improve the City’s Rapid Repair Program, temporary housing, health issues, and financial assistance for homeowners, businesses, nonprofits and religious institutions. Also mentioned was the need to be better prepared for a future emergency situation with improved communication and services.
The Task Force expects to issue written reports as it progresses in assessing the areas affected by Sandy. During the legislative session in 2013, it will submit its recommendations to Governor Cuomo.
Addabbo stated that similar opportunities to gather input from the residents regarding the needs of the community will continue over the coming weeks, including Howard Beach and Hamilton Beach. The senator urges his constituents to forward their opinions to his main district office at 718-738-1111.