Gov. Pat McCrory thinks it is necessary to have a special session of the General Assembly to cope with Hurricane Matthew’s aftermath. Part of the coping, of course, is how to organize more help for the communities hardest hit by flooding. Some places just seemed to disappear, though waters have receded since the storm departed.
That’s one task. The other is managing the emergency resources that have come in and will continue to come in from the federal government and the state.
McCrory’s right, though he’ll be criticized by some for moving toward this session as he’s in a tight re-election campaign against Attorney General Roy Cooper. So be it. This storm demands more attention.
Lawmakers are going to have to step up here, with expenditures of funds they will have to release if people are going to be helped. Families are homeless. Some are hungry, though special food stamp provisions have been made. Many have lost everything.
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And how will the federal government, which is where states typically and rightly look for substantial help, respond? The Obama administration typically has done well in such situations, with the president personally taking an interest. But the state’s congressional delegation will have to be active as well in ensuring that federal agencies do right by North Carolina and its people.
While the session will likely not be a long one, there are other issues in the aftermath of this storm that must be addressed, issues about flood control, whether there should be efforts to move people away from harm’s way and other preventative measures. North Carolina always has counted itself lucky to be a coastal state and its beaches remain one of its most valued, and most spectacular resources. But the state’s lower-lying regions inland from the coast are laced by rivers and subject to flooding.Lawmakers need to do some comprehensive studying on protecting those places. And yes, that might include new regulations on development, which Republicans generally don’t like.
But coping with Matthew, and trying to minimize the damage that might come with other storms in the future, is a clearly bipartisan issue, and the governor should include in proposals and discussions leaders of both political parties.
McCrory has done well in past weather crises leading the way, keeping the public informed, marshaling the state’s emergency management teams, and these things raise his profile. His opponents may see the special session as a “stunt” or an effort to put him front and center in a heroic position. But any governor in a similar position likely would have to do exactly the same thing – the right thing.