Gov. Pat McCrory said Monday that he is very proud of the cooperation between local, state and federal officials on recovery efforts following Hurricane Matthew.
McCrory spoke following a meeting with members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation, state legislature and FEMA about what still needs to be done. He said local, state and federal officials will focus on issues that include securing housing for those affected by flooding, assessing the agricultural impact, rebuilding infrastructure and examining the overall economic impact of the hurricane on the state.
“We do not really know yet the full financial impact on the state,” McCrory said. “Not only are we talking about the revenue that we’re going to have to spend to help recover from this, but also the potential revenue losses that we have due to people being out of work, lack of sales, businesses being closed down.”
He added that the state might not feel the economic impact “for months.”
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Public and individual federal assistance has been approved for 31 counties, including Wake as of Monday, and McCrory said that more than $41 million in federal assistance has been approved for individuals affected by the hurricane.
Following his tour of the town of Princeville in Edgecombe County earlier Monday, McCrory said that two immediate priorities are securing disaster food assistance and moving residents out of shelters into more stable housing. Edgecombe is one of 20 counties that have been declared eligible for disaster unemployment assistance for those who lost their jobs because of the hurricane.
McCrory noted that FEMA leaders will meet Tuesday with representatives from the mobile home industry to see if they might provide assistance to residents coming out of shelters.
During his visit to Princeville, McCrory said he learned that some residents were not receiving food stamps because they do not meet federal guidelines. He promised that he will work with lawmakers “to get that reversed as soon as possible.”
Despite the challenges ahead, McCrory expressed confidence in the “resilient” people of North Carolina.
“We’re strong,” he said. “The people are fantastic.”
He noted that his prayers remain with the 27 families of those whose lives were claimed during the storm.
“We’re just glad there weren’t any more,” he said. “And we’re proud of the heroes that saved so many lives – over 1,000 rescues in North Carolina.”
Republican U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis spoke following McCrory. U.S. Reps. Renee Ellmers, David Price, David Rouzer and Richard Hudson also spoke. McCrory said Rep. Alma Adams also joined the meeting via conference call.
The most recent survey from Public Policy Polling showed that McCrory’s handling of the hurricane’s aftermath has benefited his approval ratings.
The poll, released Monday, found McCrory had a negative approval rating every month since July 2013 until now, when 45 percent of voters give him good marks compared to 43 percent who disapprove of his performance. McCrory still trails Attorney General Roy Cooper, his democratic challenger, 46 percent to 44 percent in the race for reelection, the poll shows.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott saw a similar bump in his approval ratings in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, the polling organization found.
Rachel Chason: 919-829-4629