Aerial Tour, Local Briefings Part of Bush-Clinton Effort to Raise Funds, Awareness
CAMERON, La., April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- President George Bush 41 toured Cameron, Louisiana today and declared that the Bush-Clinton Coastal Recovery Fund he oversees with former President Bill Clinton would not give up on helping coastal towns and communities in Texas and Louisiana still struggling to recover in the wake of the 2008 hurricane season.
The former president was accompanied by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, former Secretary of State Jim Baker, III and local officials during a two-hour visit that included an aerial tour of the region by helicopter, a briefing with parish officials, a meeting with the Louisiana members of the Bush-Clinton fund, and a press conference with the news media.
"The purpose of this trip is simply to ask our fellow citizens across the country and our friends around the world not only to keep communities like Cameron in their thoughts and prayers - but to reach out and offer them a hand up," President Bush said. "This area of our country is absolutely vital to our energy industry and our economy, and we cannot turn our backs on these decent, hard-working Americans."
Already leveled by Hurricane Rita in 2005, Cameron Parish in southwest Louisiana received catastrophic damage from both Hurricanes Gustav and Ike this year. Today, most of Cameron's government and civic entities today are operating out of temporary offices: the Parish Administration; Sheriff's Department; Office of Emergency Preparedness; Registrar of Voters; Johnson Bayou School; South Cameron High temporary facilities (Consolidated Cameron, Creole, Grand Chenier and surrounding area East of Calcasieu ship channel).
Hurricane Ike alone cast 75,000 cubic yards of debris throughout the community, causing damage to natural gas facilities and the area's ship channel and waterways.
"It's an honor to have President Bush and Secretary Baker in the state and an important opportunity to continue to highlight the needs in Southwest Louisiana," Governor Jindal said. "We're committed to rebuilding these devastated areas, but we know it will take a combination of public and private partnerships to get our communities back on their feet again. The Bush-Clinton recovery fund will provide vital financing for many infrastructure projects, and hopefully help some projects get a faster start - speeding up the recovery process where it is possible."
The Bush-Clinton Coastal Recovery Fund is a 501c3 enterprise established in September, and has raised nearly $3 million in donations and pledges received in person and through its website, www.bushclintoncoastalfund.org. The fund, which is chaired by Secretary Baker, will not be making grants to individuals or families; but rather it will coordinate closely with the hardest hit cities, towns and municipalities along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast to identify and fund those infrastructure projects that make the biggest difference in the lives of local citizens (such as rebuilding schools, libraries, hospitals, etc)
The first disbursement of funds is expected to be announced over the next few weeks.
SOURCE Bush-Clinton Coastal Recovery Fund