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Friday, May 12, 2006

Hopeful in New Orleans

Today, eight months after Senator John Kerry's first look at the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina, he took to the Senate floor to describe the current scene.
In a heartbreaking account of his recent visit to meet with local small business leaders, the Senator seemed as incredulous as he was angry, and as stunned as he was saddened by what he saw and reported to the Senate.
Senator Kerry (D-MA), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, joined Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) on a tour of the streets in the lower ninth ward, and described trash still piled high and vehicles still bearing the instruction "tow", for the truck that has yet to arrive.
"Somehow," Senator Kerry appealed to his senate colleagues, "we will have to find a way to break through."
Even more stunning were the Senator's stories of the survivors left behind, still valiantly attempting to hold onto hope and rescue their business, with the threat of a new storm season just two weeks away. Stories of anger and despair about the lack of leadership, about disillusioned business owners fighting for SBA loans, even though only $1 billion of the $9 billion earmarked for Katrina small business loans has been distributed eight months later. Stories about harassment and denial to loan applicants. Stories about local contractors turned aside for a debris removal job while so much is yet to be done.
And incredibly, of legislation aimed at rebuilding the Gulf Coast that has yet to be acted on by the Republican controlled United States Senate.

"My hope and prayer is that we can deliver on the promises to New Orleans"

Amen, Senator. Amen.

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