FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12/21/2007
Jefferson County Delegation Still Fighting for Rita Relief
~ Deshotel calls meeting with TDHCA Executive Director ~
Austin — State Representative Joe Deshotel (Beaumont) rallied state elected officials to meet with Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs Executive Director Michael Gerber late Wednesday afternoon. Deshotel called the meeting to protect Southeast Texas’ stake in distributing Round II Hurricane Recovery Funds. Previously, the federal government authorized an additional $428 million to Texas to address the devastation that the 2005 hurricane season brought on the Gulf Coast region and that the state began distributing funds in November.
“The second round of funding means resources to devastated parts to all of Southeast Texas,” said Deshotel “We want to be proactive and make sure that we take issues to and gain commitments straight from the people that influence and policy.”
“Most importantly,” said Deshotel, “We got a commitment that if excess funds exist, we can use that money to enhance the Sabine Pass infrastructure. So that money will remain in the community and used for our economic development.”
“We are fortunate to have a delegation that works together to serve the interests of Southeast Texas,” Representative Deshotel, who also Chairs the House Committee on Economic Development stated. Representative Allan Ritter (Nederland), representatives from Rep. Mike Hamilton (Mauriceville), and Senators. Kyle Janek (La Porte) and Tommy Williams (The Woodlands) were actively involved in the discussions, asked questions and gained commitments from Gerber.
Also as a result of the meeting, Mr. Gerber assured the delegation that people who had applied for previous funds will not have to reapply for this round and the ‘first-come, first-serve’ process will continue. Further, it seems that households will be eligible for an increase from $40,000 to $60,000.
"It is great that we can count on our representatives to communicate with Mr. Gerber that we, as a region, want to ensure the efficient and expeditious use of these funds." said Shaun Davis, Executive Director of the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission, which is charged with distributing the funds locally.
“I am proud of what we were able to gain money for our region and thank Mr. Gerber for his willingness to meet and hear our needs.” Deshotel stated.
Contact: Jim Navarro