Sunday, September 4, 2011

Irene Aftermath: Obama Visits New Jersey

President pledges aid: "The entire country is behind you.."
Today President Obama traveled to Wayne and Paterson, New Jersey to tour areas damaged by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene, which hit the Eastern Seaboard Aug. 26-28. While visiting the Temple Street Bridge in Paterson, which is above the swollen Passaic river, the President gave brief remarks, and reassured all those affected by the massive storm that the federal, state and local governments would be there to help them rebuild.

"The entire country is behind you and we are going to make sure that we provide all the resources that are necessary in order to help these communities rebuild," President Obama said.

The President was accompanied by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R), FEMA director Craig Fugate and other Administration officials as he took a walking tour through neighborhoods in Wayne and Paterson. (Above: Christie is to the President's left as he speaks with citizens of Wayne)

The President reassured citizens that threats of slow funding are false.

"I know that there's been some talk about whether there's going to be a slowdown in getting funding out here, emergency relief. As President of the United States, I want to make it very clear that we are going to meet our federal obligations," President Obama said. "The last thing that the residents here of Paterson or the residents of Vermont or the residents of upstate New York need is Washington politics getting in the way of us making sure that we are doing what we can to help communities that have been badly affected."

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack toured farms in upstate New York on Saturday and had the same message. Damage there is estimated at $45 million, with 140,000 acres of farmland destroyed.

"Even after the cameras are gone....we're doing the right thing," President Obama said. He declared parts of New Jersey a disaster area earlier this week.

The President left Camp David, where he was spending the Labor Day weekend for the trip to New Jersey, and returned there following his visit. He travels to Detroit, Michigan on Monday for a Labor Day picnic at GM headquarters. (Above, with Christie on the Temple Street bridge in Paterson)

*Top and third photo by Chuck Kennedy/White house; second photo by Pete Souza/White House

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