Washington lawmakers tour Hurricane Irma damage

Congressional delegation sees flood damage, talks to Jacksonville media

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Just over a week since the winds and surge of Hurricane Irma impacted Jacksonville and much of the rest of state, top lawmakers from Washington, who will be asked to help fund recovery efforts, toured the state Wednesday and appeared before news cameras in Jacksonville and in South Florida.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, Sen. Macro Rubio and a congressional delegation that included Reps. John Rutherford, R-Jacksonville, Al Lawson, (D-Tallahassee), Ron DeSantis (R-Palm Coast) and Ted Yoho (R-Gainesville) toured the devastation caused when the St. Johns River spilled into Riverside and San Marco.

Rutherford and others hope the tour will lead to more money flowing back into the city and recommendations on how to hold floodwaters back.

"They need to see firsthand exactly what the needs are in Northeast Florida," Rutherford said.

RELATED: Ryan, lawmakers tour Irma-damaged Keys, pledge funding

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry wasn't with the lawmakers. He was in Lakewood Wednesday morning to show citizens what the city is busy doing now to help with recovery.

Curry helped crews pickup yard waste in a Lakewood neighborhood. Major debris pick up is not going to start until next Monday, so the city recommends putting out as much vegetative waste as possible in containers and bags as you would with normal yard trash so that much can be picked up on the regular schedule.

Curry want people to know it will take six week to get all the debris picked up.

Bonnie Arnold, whose house and floral business were flooded to the point where she can't go inside without a respirator, isn't waiting for the city to start moving ahead.

"I just think the way I’m choosing to see it all is, I can either get caught up in the, 'Oh, woe is me. All the hardships,' or I could put my energy into, 'Well, it’s an opportunity for a new beginning,'" Arnold said.

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