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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Craddick Appoints Bonnen to Select Committee to Review Hurricane Ike Damage and Response

Insider's Report Vol. 6, No. 36

As our state and our communities recover from Hurricane Ike, the effects of the storm continue to touch our lives everyday.  Despite the incredible damages that were caused, again and again we have seen how ordinary Texans come together to help their neighbors in extraordinary times.

In this spirit, I reached out to two of the most powerful members of the Texas House of Representatives, Speaker Tom Craddick and Appropriations Chairman Warren Chisum, and had them join me in an emergency response briefing at Brazosport College followed by a tour of the devastation left in the wake of the storm.  Both men hail from areas far from the Texas coast, so I wanted them to hear from local officials directly about the preparation and response to the hurricane.

Clearly the visions of destruction had a great impact on Speaker Craddick and he quickly responded by announcing the creation of the House Select Committee on Hurricane Ike Storm Devastation to the Texas Gulf Coast.  I am honored to be one of the thirteen appointed members to this committee charged with reviewing the state and local government response to the hurricane and identifying issues for the legislature to address to prepare for future natural disasters and their aftermath.

I was on the ground working hand and hand with our emergency response teams shortly after the storm, so I have a clear understanding of the areas where we need to improve.  My role on this select committee provides Brazoria County with a direct seat at the table where response and recovery decisions will be made.  It also provides me with an opportunity to present the innovative ways in which Brazoria County officials and citizens joined forces to overcome a disaster of this magnitude.

The Select Committee, chaired by Representative Sylvester Turner of Houston with Representative John Davis serving as vice-chair, will be looking at a wide range of issues, including ways to reduce and better plan for widespread power outages, address beach erosion and its impact on property owners, identify law enforcement concerns, streamline financial assistance procedures for displaced citizens, and offer relief to school districts.

I will keep you apprised of the findings of the committee as we listen to testimony and develop recommendations that will ensure Texas has in a place a strong and effective response plan for future emergency situations.