Obama tours Sandy damage on Staten Island
President Obama, accompanied by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., hugs Debbie Ingenito on Cedar Grove Avenue, a street significantly impacted by superstorm Sandy, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, on Staten Island, in New York. / AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
There's "still a lot of cleanup to do" in areas affected by superstorm Sandy, President Obama said today after touring damage to Staten Island, N.Y. And though he promised to continue to visit "until rebuilding [is] complete," he announced Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan" - a native New Yorker - as the federal government's "point person" in Sandy recovery.
Obama appoints HUD secretary as "point person" on Sandy recovery
Donovan, formerly New York City Housing commissioner, "knows a little bit about New York and building," Mr. Obama said. "He's going to be working with the mayor, the governor, the borough president, the county officials to make sure that we come up with a strong, effective plan."
The president echoed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's belief that the government will be able to allocate the necessary resources for cleanup and emergency supplies. But, the president added, "it's gonna require everybody to focus on getting the job done."
"We're gonna have to put some of the turf battles aside, we're gonna have to make sure that everybody's focused on doing the job, as opposed to who's getting the credit or who's getting the contracts, or all that stuff that sometimes goes into the rebuilding process," Mr. Obama said. "During difficult times like this, we're reminded that we're bound together. And we have to look out for each other. And a lot of the things that seem important - the petty differences - melt away."
In the New Dorp Beach region, where the president made his remarks, businesses are open, but on the water, power is still out and homes have been demolished. The area is still partially flooded, and New Dorp High School is still running as a relief center.
Stopping by one of six local FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers earlier Thursday, the president hugged and offered consoling words for victims of the storm. He thanked FEMA Corps volunteers and observed of several out-of-state volunteers, "We got the whole country represented here...we're proud of you guys."
While at the recover center, Mr. Obama also met privately with Damien and Glenda Moore, whose two small children, Brandon and Connor, died after being swept away in the storm.
The president was joined on his tour by Donovan, Cuomo, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer.
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