NEWBURGH – Shortly after surveying the damage in Puerto Rico, US Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) convened a task force of local organizations to consolidate relief efforts and draft policy recommendations for federal aid efforts.
The event, held on Friday, at Rep. Maloney’s Newburgh office, played host to about a dozen people.
“We’ve got a ton of different groups stepping up to help our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico, and bringing those folks to the table to work together is always the right move,” said Rep. Maloney.
“Speaking directly with the people on the ground in the Hudson Valley who are collecting supplies and raising funds is the best way for me to better understand local relief efforts and help us determine what else we can be doing in Washington to help the folks in Puerto Rico get back on their feet.”
Various local officials, nonprofit organizations, and businesses have all worked to collect supplies in communities throughout the Hudson Valley. Rep. Maloney hopes that unifying these efforts will help the various entities to collaborate moving forward.
Two weeks ago, Rep. Maloney visited the island on a Congressional Delegation trip to survey relief efforts and supported an emergency aid package the following week. Approximately 6% of Rep. Maloney’s district is of Puerto Rican ancestry. His office has assisted nearly a dozen constituents who were initially unable to locate family on the island in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
“The biggest problem in Puerto Rico right now is the power grid is still down and we don’t have an affective plan at the federal level , nor the resources to get the power back up in the time frame we need to do it,” Maloney said.
While there seems to be many natural disasters in the United States currently, Maloney is confident that the US can “walk and chew gum at the same time. “
“We can deliver help to the people in Texas, and in Florida, we can fight the wild fires out west and we can treat Puerto Rico with the seriousness it deserves,” he said.
These are millions of Americans who have been living now for weeks without power. Nearly 75% of the power grid is still down on Puerto Rico. About 1/3 of the families don’t have running water. Maloney asked, “Tell me there is an American state where we would be okay with a month going by without power. I think its clear Puerto Rico is not getting the attention it deserves and it has to start at the top of the American government. “