Monday, February 19, 2007

More on Congress and New Orleans

Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH) is the new Congressman for NH-02, the district I vote in. He held a town hall meeting tonight at Dartmouth, then held a private meet and greet with the Dartmouth College Democrats. He is not running for President, but Congress still matters, so here’s his take on the Gulf Coast.

At the meet and greet, I asked Rep. Hodes about New Orleans. He didn’t know about the Road Home program, so I told him a little bit about that. I asked if he knew what Congress was planning to do to help New Orleans beyond waiving Stafford Act matching fund requirements. His answer was not a solid one, but it was encouraging. He said he did not know what specific moves Congress is considering, but that action will be taken. He said a lot of people were upset that Katrina was not included in the Speaker Pelosi’s top priority “100 Hours” agenda, and that it has gotten lost, perhaps forgotten, amid higher profile issues like Iraq, but that the House will move on the issue as soon as possible.

I can’t blame Rep. Hodes for not knowing more about the issue, or knowing what committees are doing what. He’s only been in Congress for six weeks, so he’s still learning about the system, and doesn’t have much of a voice as a freshman. What encouraged me about his answer was this: while taking the next question, he looked to his assistant, pointed at me, pointed at his brain, made a pen-writing-on-paper motion, and mouthed the words “Road Home.” After the meeting, the aid came over to get my contact information and said they’d be in touch with information.

Katrina might not be high on Rep. Hodes’ list, but I was encouraged by his desire to get more information and get back to me on it. I don’t think I saw him do that on any other issue. I like Rep. Hodes – I voted for him – and this is one more reason to smile.

1 comment:

lilorphant said...

Thanks for keeping us in the spotlight, it's people like you that help so many keep going.