Steny Hoyer Surveys Damage In Rockaways
While Metropolitan Transit Authority head Joe Lhota went down to Washington, as many other local officials have, to plead the city’s case for aid, a top Congressional leader came to New York Thursday to see the damage for himself. NY1's Bobby Cuza has the story.
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Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) was born and spent much of his childhood in New York City. But he’d never been to the Rockaways until Thursday, when he came to see the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy with his own eyes.
“I like to see things first-hand," Hoyer said. "Pictures, while they may be worth a thousand words, are not like being there.”
Hoyer is one of the most powerful members of Congress. As House Minority Whip, he is the second highest-ranking Democrat in the House after Nancy Pelosi.
As New York argues for tens of billions of dollars in federal relief, it’s people like him, according to Queens Congressman Greg Meeks, who need to come visit.
"Some folks just think that you’re asking for money, and they don’t know why," Meeks said. "The challenge is to get them to come out to see. Once they see, I believe they believe. And I think that getting individuals like Steny Hoyer out here, he can talk to others, he has influence.”
Hoyer also surveyed the damage to the boardwalk in the Rockaways and heard directly from community leaders.
After the two and a half hour tour, which also included briefings from the Army Corps of Engineers, Hoyer flew back to D.C. Before he left, Hoyer said that based in part on his conversations with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, he believes Republicans won’t stand in the way of federal aid.
“It’s a time for us to come together, not be partisan," Hoyer said. "My expectation is it’ll be a bipartisan response. And I think Mr. cantor and the Speaker [John] Boehner will be supportive and helpful.”
Local activist John Cori said having powerful allies in Washington never hurts.
“Even just another voice in Congress," Cori said. "Especially not just congressmen from Staten Island and Brooklyn, but we have a congressman now from outside the area that can get it.”