RALEIGH – Former Republican governor Pat McCrory blasted Cooper in an interview recently over delays in disaster relief, saying it’s evidence of a leadership void. McCrory also offered his help, and suggested perhaps Cooper should employ the help of other former governors with disaster relief experience.
A recent report revealed that of the $236+ million in HUD money granted to the executive for the express purposes of disaster relief, not a dime has been spent to date. The disaster, Hurricane Matthew, happened a year and a half ago.
How did Cooper respond to the criticism and offer of help? His spokesman belittled McCrory and deflected.
.@NC_Governor admin’s response to McCrory? “Disaster recovery is often a long-term process … which the former governor may not fully appreciate in his current role as a regional conservative talk-radio host”https://t.co/T2Yrqs7G3c #ncpol
— Colin Campbell (@RaleighReporter) April 24, 2018
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So instead of assuring the people of eastern North Carolina that they are taking the situation seriously, Cooper elects to insult a one-term governor that he BARELY beat. Mind you, Cooper has been in office less than two years, so how exactly does he appreciate the ‘long-term process’? Perhaps his counting the eight years he was campaigning for governor instead of defending the state as his attorney general post required?
That ‘long-term process’ has also, curiously, been a much shorter journey for Virginia and South Carolina, the latter of which cited leadership provided by their governor as a key to their expedited response in delivering much needed disaster relief funds.
That point is not lost on Republicans in the General Assembly as they hold hearings to get to the bottom of why North Carolina is lagging behind with the distribution of this money, and they’re tired of excuses.
“I’m actually tired of hearing excuses and it’s time for leadership and results.” – NC House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne)
“First of all, it has become abundantly clear that the Cooper administration has left these folks hanging. Period,” said N.C. House Majority Leader Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne), whose district was especially hard hit by the disaster. “That’s been proven, that’s factual. You look at the latest report that came out with the CDBG DR funding that shows $236+ million and ZERO dollars have been spent. North Carolina is a slow spender. That is factual, and the Cooper administration has yet to respond, has only given excuses, has only pushed blame off on other people.”
“The reality is there’s people in my district today that have been left with dilapidated houses, condemned houses, that have been approved for buy outs but have not heard anything, that have been approved for elevation lifts, but have not heard anything. These people need help now. I want results for these people and that’s where my focus is and that’s what I’m going to continue to fight for.”
Lawmakers will hold another hearing on the issue on April 30, after Bell’s and others’ demands for answers at the first meeting were met with bureaucratic excuses. You can watch Bell grill those bureaucrats here.
The House Majority Leader said he is going to ask Director of Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry next week for a six month timeline on getting this issue resolved, adding that he is willing to pass legislation if necessary to make it right.
While Cooper is taking shots at a former political opponent for offering a justified critique, people in down east are still living in FEMA trailers and wondering when they’ll be kicked out of those. If the Rocky Mount Democrat had committed half as much energy to administering disaster relief as he has to taking legislative leadership to court, maybe people on the coast wouldn’t be feeling so neglected.