Joint Hearing with Senate Environment Committee Looking at Progress of Recovery One Year after Superstorm
(TRENTON) — Several of the Democratic members of the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee — Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer (D-Essex), the panel’s chair; Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer), the panel’s vice-chair; and Assemblyman Ruben J. Ramos, Jr. (D-Hudson) — issued a multimedia package Friday, in which they discuss public testimony heard at a recent joint hearing in Jersey City on Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts in New Jersey.
The multimedia package consists of a video of the committee members discussing the problems voiced by the public concerning Sandy recovery efforts and audio and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of comment from the committee members is appended below:
Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer (D-Essex), Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee Chair:
“This is a hearing to hear from the community about how the monies allocated for Superstorm Sandy are working in our communities. What we expect to accomplish today is to receive testimony from individuals who have been devastated by the storm and those advocacy groups who are aware of the suffering that people may have suffered in their community.
“We hope to take information back to the departments and agencies that are responsible for overseeing the disbursement of money and we need to make sure that they’re doing their job and that they’re hearing from the people.”
Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer), Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee Vice-Chair:
“There are many anecdotes of individual homeowners that are just frustrated with their homeowner’s insurance versus FEMA versus flood insurance and it’s quite daunting for a lot of homeowners, and I think the governor really needs to step up to the plate to ensure that the homeowners get back into the homes in a timely manner and be able to settle their insurance claims.”
Assemblyman Ruben J. Ramos, Jr. (D-Hudson), Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee member:
“That part is extremely concerning, where people are still out of their homes. And I think someone being out of their home for a year now is a little unfathomable. The fact that they don’t know how much money they have to repair their homes is more concerning than the fact that they’re out of their homes.
“I think at this point we at least know what the funding would be in place. It seems like the lack of communication between FEMA and the insurance companies and the homeowners or the renters is where we need to try and close the gap, at this time. I think that’s what we need to focus on going forward.”
“We want to hear from the people and know exactly how they are living here. And right now, we’re in Hudson County and, most people don’t realize, not only was the Jersey shore devastated, but places in Hudson County, Bergen County and Essex County were devastated by the storm as well, and we need to hear from those people.”