We could use more Bastrop community spirit, in which local leaders of both parties work together constructively to overcome tragedy. Instead, Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst blamed President Barack Obama for what they themselves failed to do.
Though Bastrop immediately sought a major disaster declaration for federal assistance to fire-displaced individuals, the governor implied that Texas could solve its own problems, and both he and Dewhurst complained about Washington. With the homeless remaining unassisted for five days, the state finally submitted a Bastrop-specific application, which received near immediate federal approval.
Though such wildfires have been long-predicted, the governor approved a 75 percent cut in state support for vital volunteer fire departments. (Fortunately, Bastrop received prompt federal firefighting resources.)
Meanwhile, his congressional allies refuse to replenish the FEMA emergency account from which assistance for Bastrop is coming, without cutting other services. Perry’s promise to make Washington “inconsequential in your lives” doesn’t help victims, nor does this blame game.
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett