December 10th News Conference in Rockaway Also Featured Senate Leaders from Hard-Hit Districts
Queens, NY – New York State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach), announced he is 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 recovering from the devastation.
Addabbo estimates between 11,000 and 13,000 Rockaway residents are still without power, which is provided by LIPA.
The Task Force includes members from all three Senate conferences, who will tour damaged areas and hold hearings in the affected communities across the New York metropolitan region.
The December 10th news conference held in Rockaway on Beach 94th Street was the first joint appearance of Senate Democrats and Republicans with the Independent Democrat Conference (IDC).
The conference featured Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), IDC 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), and Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn).
All of the leaders noted that their districts are still reeling in Sandy’s aftermath. The 10 task force members represent New York State’s hardest-hit areas, making them uniquely qualified to pinpoint those neighborhoods and businesses that need the most help.
Task force members who were not present at the Rockaway conference 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 group 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 storm preparedness; and develop legislative solutions that will implement the forthcoming recommendations made by the New York State 2100 Commission, the New York State Respond Commission, and the New York State Ready Commission that was 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 the Queens Library on the status of rebuilding the local libraries.
During a round-table with community leaders, 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 were discussed, as well as the need to be better prepared for a future emergency situation with improved communication and services.
The task force expects to submit written progress reports and assessments on 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.