State Politics

Finding storm recovery money brings Cooper, NC delegation together

Aerial photo shows the extent of flooding in the wake of Hurricane Matthew at the N.C. Forest Service Claridge Nursery in Goldsboro last year. The facility was given about $1.5 million in disaster relief by the N.C. Legislature during its special session in December.
Aerial photo shows the extent of flooding in the wake of Hurricane Matthew at the N.C. Forest Service Claridge Nursery in Goldsboro last year. The facility was given about $1.5 million in disaster relief by the N.C. Legislature during its special session in December. Photo courtesy N.C. Forest Service

Gov. Roy Cooper met with North Carolina’s congressional delegation Tuesday evening to pursue additional Hurricane Matthew recovery funding from Congress and the Trump administration. So far, funding has fallen far short of what the state needs.

Cooper spoke with the state’s two senators and then most of its representatives in two separate meetings on Capitol Hill after speaking at a conference in Washington Tuesday morning. In a brief phone interview on his way to the airport to return home, Cooper said the meetings were very productive.

“I think we all share disappointment that the disaster relief hasn’t been greater thus far, but we all share determination to make sure North Carolina gets additional significant help,” he said. “I think the local delegation has worked hard on this, but the House and Senate leadership as well as the president haven’t done what they need to do.”

The governor said he hopes additional appropriations will be sent to North Carolina’s disaster relief efforts in September.

Cooper described the meetings as strategic, identifying which members of Congress and who in the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development need to be reached.

Last week, Cooper wrote to the administration expressing his “shock and disappointment” in the small amount of federal disaster money authorized in the latest round of funding for Hurricane Matthew recovery. It was less than 1 percent of what the state requested.

Cooper had asked for $900 million, but learned that just $6.1 million had been approved.

To date, $1.4 billion in state and federal funds have been allocated to the state, according to Cooper’s office. The storm caused an estimated $4.8 billion in damage.

Craig Jarvis: 919-829-4576, @CraigJ_NandO

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