State lawmakers call out Gov. Cooper on Matthew recovery efforts

Updated: Aug. 29, 2018 at 5:48 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - It's been two years since Hurricane Matthew slammed into the Carolina coastline and many of the victims still are not back in their homes.

State lawmakers called out North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and his administration Wednesday for what they say has been a failure to distribute aid to North Carolinians.

"State law and regulations have not caused any delay. The same cannot be said however for the shocking incompetence on display from Governor Cooper's failing effort to deliver federal aid to our residents," said District 13 Senator Danny Britt, who represents Columbus County. "Hurricane Matthew and the resulting floods struck our communities 674 days ago today. Congress appropriated its first round of CBGDR funding 612 days ago. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development which oversees CGBDR funding informed the state of North Carolina about the rules it had to follow in dispersing the aid 573 days ago. Our question is simple. What has the governor been doing for 573 days?"

Senator Britt and District 13 Representative Brenden Jones requested the state senate hold an oversight hearing to look into "Governor Coopers failure to deliver aid to constituents."

At the meeting, state legislators voted to form a subcommittee to look into the appropriation of relief funds for Hurricane Matthew victims.

Before the vote, Jones discussed the hardships Columbus County residents are still facing today, two years after Matthew first hit.

"Folks, I still have a town without people. I still have vacant homes. I have broken families, and I have a broken town. All because of a lack of any interest in taking care of these folks," he said.

Senator Britt also addressed the lag North Carolinians have seen in recovery compared to some just miles across the border in South Carolina.

"I'd like to add the same requirements the Federal government has placed on North Carolina to get those monies have been placed on South Carolina," Britt said. "South Carolina has been moving farther ahead of North Carolina since day one and we continue to lag behind South Carolina in the re-building effort and that is because of how the money has been distributed in North Carolina verses South Carolina. There are no other excuses beyond that."

Wednesday night, Governor Cooper's press team called WECT with strong words about the hearing.

Ford Porter sent us a statement reading in part "This sham hearing was an embarrassing use of the legislature's time."

The Governor's office blames republican leaders, saying they prefer political theater over working with Emergency Management to help the victims.

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