Fitzpatrick travels to Puerto Rico one year after hurricane

Fitzpatrick intended to spend Thanksgiving with Puerto Rican residents and Salvation Army personnel

The Times

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick traveled to Puerto Rico last week to inspect humanitarian and reconstruction efforts one year after Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The devastation caused by Hurricane Maria prompted one of the largest federal responses to a domestic disaster in the history of the United States.

“After Hurricane Maria effectively destroyed Puerto Rico’s electrical, water, telecommunication and transportation infrastructure, many families in our community are rightly concerned about the restoration of vital services in Puerto Rico,” Fitzpatrick said before departing. “As American citizens, the people of Puerto Rico deserve the full backing of the federal government and its representatives. I look forward to returning to the island to meet with residents, first responders and government officials to inspect and assist with ongoing recovery efforts.”

Fitzpatrick, a member of the Homeland Security Committee, which has congressional oversight over the Federal Emergency Management Agency, planned to meet with FEMA officials to discuss ongoing reconstruction efforts.

Fitzpatrick intended to spend Thanksgiving with Puerto Rican residents and Salvation Army personnel.

The Salvation Army continues to serve people in need by providing utility and rental assistance, appliances, furniture, household goods and solar generators as part of the Houses to Homes program.

Salvation Army recovery centers are being established in rural parts of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to serve individuals and families in these hard-to-reach areas.

Fitzpatrick spent Thanksgiving last year in Puerto Rico, where he inspected hurricane recovery efforts and met directly with Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón and local residents.

Last month, Fitzpatrick hosted González-Colón for a roundtable discussion in Bristol with the Puerto Rican Cultural Association of Bucks County to discuss the progress being made in Puerto Rico.

Earlier this month, Fitzpatrick, González-Colón and New York Republican Rep. Peter King called on Congress to address the health care crisis in Puerto Rico.

All three emphasized the critical role they believe the federal government must play in incentivizing skilled medical professionals to remain on the island. ••