Cooper still dragging on Matthew relief

It has been over 640 days since Hurricane Matthew wreaked havoc on Eastern North Carolina. Yet, flood victims are still waiting for the help they were promised by Gov. Roy Cooper because he has failed to distribute millions of dollars in federal disaster relief.

Just last weekend, Gov. Cooper visited Robeson County and had the audacity to promise folks that he would continue doing all that he can to help in the Hurricane Matthew recovery.

However, just two days later, it was reported that the Cooper Administration missed yet another self-imposed deadline to distribute these federal funds to flood victims.

Over $400 million that was awarded to North Carolina for disaster recovery remains unused. In contrast, South Carolina — who received the federal aid at the same time — have already used these resources to put hundreds of folks back in their homes.

Furthermore, these delays have caused North Carolina to be labeled a “slow spender” by the federal government — costing our state millions of dollars in potential disaster funding.

Such incompetence and inaction is absolutely unacceptable and a slap in the face to the victims of Hurricane Matthew.

For months, Gov. Cooper and his administration have refused to answer basic questions from lawmakers and media outlets as to why these federal dollars have gone unspent.

For me and the hundreds of victims still waiting for help, we are sick and tired of the governor’s empty promises. It’s time for the governor and his team to step up to the plate and do their job.

That’s why I have requested to the Speaker and the House Majority Leader that the House Select Committee on Disaster Relief reconvene so that we may provide more oversight and discuss appropriate measures to ensure flood victims get the resources they need moving forward.

In the General Assembly, we have been actively working to assist communities in the recovery effort. In this year’s budget, we provided an additional $60 million in state resources — bringing the state’s total to over $360 million in disaster relief.

As the co-chair of the House Select Committee on Disaster Relief, I am proud of the work we have done to keep the focus and attention on the victims of Hurricane Matthew and their recovery.

After nearly two years of delays, inaction and excuses, it’s time for the governor to do his part. Every day I see the devastation that remains and I grow increasingly frustrated. Empty words by the governor won’t get these folks back in their homes. We need leadership.

The people of North Carolina stand to lose millions of federal dollars because of the governor’s failed and tepid response. We must continue to do everything in our power to hold this administration accountable and to get our citizens the help that they deserve.

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Brenden Jones, a Republican from Tabor City, represents District 46 in the N.C. House, which includes part of Robeson County.

Brenden Jones, a Republican from Tabor City, represents District 46 in the N.C. House, which includes part of Robeson County.