Six months ago, Hurricane Sandy ravaged the northeast and Staten Island, which suffered some of the worst devastation. Residents are still struggling to recover from the storm.
One of the more powerful stories is that of Pat Dresch, whose husband and 13-year-old daughter were among 24 Staten Island residents to lose their lives in that storm. Pat talks with Christine on "Starting Point" this morning to share how she's recovering just six months after the devastating storm. She's joined by Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) to talk about where things stand in terms of recovery funding.
Read on for a transcript from the interview.
This morning on "Starting Point," Rep. Peter King (R-NY) weighs in on fmr. presidential candidate Mitt Romney's first post-election interview, the forced spending cuts and what he calls the 'ultimate hipocrisy' by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) through vetoing Hurricane Sandy aid.
ON ROMNEY'S POST-ELECTION INTERVIEW:
I think Governor Romney handled himself well. I think he showed some real feelings and real emotion there. He lost the election. He wishes he had won it. He wasn't making excuses, but he did admit that it hurts. That he's gone on with his life.
I think as far as his criticism of the president, I think it's very appropriate. The president is just not showing the type of leadership necessary in a crisis like this. It's almost like he has a perpetual campaign. He knew "The Sequester" was coming and he is going to ask for it originally.
But, again this should not be that hard to do, $85 billion, the entire budget. If it's done selectively and surgically can be done rather than the president saying that kids wouldn't get vaccinated, senior citizens going to die, and planes couldn't land or they couldn't take off.
ON FAILURE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN:
We weren't able to communicate to minority communities particularly Hispanic and African- American, why Republican principles would work for them. Why as far as - you know, long term economic growth, as far as being able to make it out of poverty that the Republican principles are the best. We sort of portray them as a way that's for more upper class people. But as far as showing that the dream of immigrants should be self reliance and that's best induced or encouraged by the Republican Party.
A lot of our people, a lot of Republicans seem to feel uncomfortable going into minorities areas. I'm not saying we need to change our policies, but we have to show why our policies relate to those in the minority community, those in the immigrant community and also to show that we as people feel very comfortable.
I have no problem. I grew up in immigrant community in New York. In those days, they were Irish, Italian and Jewish. But the fact is that, I think too many people in our party do have more of an aloof attitude. I think that's part of the problem we have to address.
ON SEN. RUBIO COMING TO NEW YORK FOR FUNDRAISER AFTER VETOING SANDY AID BILL:
I felt very strongly about this. This was the worst natural disaster to ever hit the northeast. The line went out and I would say that bill that was voted on and passed the House and then went back to the Senate, was drawn by the Republican leadership in the House of the Representatives.
We asked them. We asked the majority leader and House Appropriations chairman to not put anything in there that does not relate to Sandy. Governor Christie, Governor Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg submitted the most detailed itemization and yet today, we talk about pork.
There was nothing in there that was not related to Sandy. If it were, it was put in by other people not by us. I don't know what they are talking about. I went on the floor of the House on January 1st. I said if you can find one thing in the bill, which is not related to Sandy, tell us, and it will come out.
Nobody came forward. Senator Rubio and 80 percent of the Republicans, the House and the Senate, voted against this bill and now they are raising money for the presidential race to me is the ultimate hypocrisy.
It has been more than a month since Superstorm Sandy tore a path of devastation through the Eastern Seaboard. For many however it feels like the day after as they struggle to rebuild and pick up the pieces left by the devastation. Wednesday, dozens of celebrities and musicians held a concert to raise money for sandy victims. Also, the Senate Appropriations Committee just released the text of a bill giving more than 60 billion dollars in aid for the states that were hit. This morning, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development joins “Starting Point” for an exclusive interview on officially being put in charge of the Superstorm Sandy response.
Donovan who is also a native New Yorker and married to a New Jerseyan says, “we’ve reacted more quickly to this storm than any storm in history.” He adds, “in just a month we have 500,000 families that have already registered for aid, we have over a billion dollars that’s already gone to families to help them feed their kids, to find places to sleep while they’re out of their homes.”
On the topic of time, Donovan says, “this is along term process. The president asked me not to take over FEMA’s job – that’s the short term response.” He says his job is to create “a long-term recovery plan.” Donovan adds that every dollar spent during this recovery will result in saving four dollars on recovery from future natural disasters down the road.
Donovan says his priority is “focusing on the response.” He says in the case of a major national disaster like hurricane Katrina there were problems with short-term and long-term recovery. Donovan says, “that’s why in his first year in office the president asked me and secretary Napolitano to put together a framework” that would help the administration respond better to “big disasters that are going to have long-term implications.”
CNN's Poppy Harlow speaks with 13-year-old Ryan Panetta who leapt into the rising waters of Hurricane Sandy to save his family, but he couldn’t save his home or school. Now he is one of hundreds of NY kids attending a temporary school and living in a temporary apartment.
Panetta, an honor student is one of 76,000 New York students whose displacement has wreaked havoc on their school and home life, separating them from communities and familiar faces.
For more information about how you can help those affected by Sandy, check out CNN.com/IMPACT.
More than three weeks since Superstorm Sandy hit the North East, many neighborhoods are still facing a long path to recovery. The struggle to clean up continues in storm ravaged communities, an especially difficult task for families during the holidays—many now homeless.
New York City announced plans to demolish 200 homes that sustained the worst storm damage, including some on Staten Island. Republican Congressman Michael Grimm is focused on rebuilding his district, which covers Staten Island. Congressman Grimm comes to “Starting Point” with the struggle for recovery after Hurricane Sandy.
Deb Feyerick on volunteer efforts in Staten Island, NY to bring Thanksgiving meals to those hardest hit after Sandy.
Ashley Murray never expected to follow five generations of men into the family business, selling industrial gasses and welding supplies. Then her father passed away and Murray, the youngest of his four children, stepped up. She became the first female president of Liberty Industrial Gases and Welding Supplies Inc. in Brooklyn.
But now the family history Murray was charged with preserving is at risk of ending. Liberty is in Red Hook, Brooklyn, an industrial park along a canal that connects to New York Harbor. When the waters of Superstorm Sandy surged, they engulfed 80% of her inventory in 4 feet of water. She is still without any government help.
"It's devastating. It's just been a devastating process," said Murray with tears in her eyes. "We're just kind of this lost block at the end of Smith Street in Red Hook (Brooklyn). I know all the businesses and all of the residents have been affected, but it seems like there has to be more help."
This morning on "Starting Point," CNN's Poppy Harlow reports on Murray's fight to keep her family business afloat.
Building on the growing criticism of the post-Sandy recovery efforts, Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, who headed up the Joint Task Force following Katrina, writes in CNN op-ed today that New York and New Jersey are ignoring big lessons from New Orleans.
Lt. Gen. Honore joins Soledad on Starting Point this morning to share advice he'd give to the authorities currently working on Sandy relief.
While Gen. Honore gives search and rescue efforts during Sandy an "A" grade, he isn't as satisfied with the recovery effort, saying, “What we learned in those two big storms, Katrina and Rita, is that when you go in with ground troops- the national guard and the army, you have to stay in those communities to focus on the vulnerable populations: the elderly, the disabled, and the poor.”
Honore says that regardless of how prepared citizens are, those groups that are most vulnerable need to be occupied and relationships need to be created so they know what someone is there when there is trouble.
Briefly commenting on the General Petraeus scandal, the Lieutenant General describes the former CIA director as an “outstanding general, and outstanding warrior who made a grave mistake."
Lieutenant General Russel Honore's op-ed piece, "Sandy Recovery is Stumbling" can be found here.
New York Rep. Steve Israel held a press conference with Rep. Nancy Pelosi yesterday to welcome new House Democrats, and on Starting Point today the Congressman weighs in on the Minority Leader's political future.
"I hope she decides to stay," Israel says. Discussing the recent election, Israel says that "more than anything, [Pelosi] has helped elect a class of problem solvers."
Regarding the impending fiscal cliff, Israel stresses, "Solutions have a mandate. Compromise has a mandate... In this election, most of the Tea Party generals, the icons of the Tea Party, they ended up getting defeated in this election, so that's the mandate we have."
Rep. Israel also addresses the ongoing power outages in Long Island caused by Hurricane Sandy, calling the situation "outrageous and unacceptable."
"This was a management disaster trying to manage a disaster," Israel says. "LIPA needs a top to bottom reform in accountability."
Jonathan Pecarsky describes the National Guard rescue of his family after superstorm Sandy flooded Hoboken, NJ.