Congressman Pete Sessions visits District 17 following the winter storms
Half of the counties in District 17 are excluded from assistance approved Saturday by President Biden.
BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - District 17 Representative Pete Sessions spent Saturday traveling across the district to speak with residents, public officials, and law enforcement on challenges and damages faced from the winter storm.
The Congressman visited McClellan, Robertson, Brazos, Burleson, and Milam counties. Sessions said he wants to make sure he is personally hearing from each of the county leaders.
“I am taking stock of all this first-hand information,” said Pete Sessions, (R) U.S. District 17 Congressman. “We see considerable damage, and without power and water in many of the counties east of I-35, including Falls County, Milam County, Freestone, Limestone county, and in Leon county also.”
During his travels, he has found counties and communities are having to improvise during this time. Many are still without water and electricity.
Sessions warn what lies ahead will be most important as the district thaws out.
“We are not out of the woods yet.”
The Congressman had lunch with Brazos County Judge Duane Peters and Brazos County Precinct 2 Commissioner Russ Ford. They discussed damages and moving forward.
Additionally, the Peters and Sessions agreed to meet once a month to stay on top of the needs of Brazos County.
“I appreciate the Congressman reaching out to us and trying to see what is going on here,” said Judge Duane Peters. “It’s going to be hard to assess until we have things really thaw out well to know what the damage is.”
Already, Peter says Brazos County knows of damage in some buildings and on roads.
Sessions visit also comes on the same day as Governor Abbott’s announcement that that President Biden partially approved Texas’ request for a Major Disaster Declaration.
The Governor requested the Major Disaster Declaration on Thursday for Individual Assistance and Public Assistance in all 254 counties. The Biden administration approved the request for Individual Assistance in 77 counties including Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Madison, Walker, and Waller Counties.
Half of the counties in District 17 are excluded from the assistance.
Those counties are Freestone, Lee, Leon, Limestone, Milam, and Robertson.
“Obviously, this is a blow to many counties that we’re counting on. Not just federal assistance from FEMA, but also certainly guard and other help I’ve got to make sure does follow through, even though that federal designation may not come with it,” said Sessions. “We’re hard at work to discover that right now, and right now it’s a mystery.”
“The people that live in the Brazos Valley are tough. They recognize that the entire state was impacted, but I intend to make sure that they get the help that would be on par with what others that have same or similar will be experiencing.”
Sessions plans to return to Washington Sunday night to begin working to get aid to these counties.
“I intend to get right in the middle of this fight and see what we can do to change the paradigm with the federal aid,” said Sessions.
Looking to the future, Sessions believes it’s important to not focus on the blame, but instead on how the district can be more prepared.
“We need to understand what the failures are, what the decision making was that may have led to some of the frailties, but most of all an answer to what do we do next time.” said Sessions.
Sessions hopes by May or June that he can come back to each of these counties and have a discussion about what they learned and how they are better prepared moving forward.
“It’s important for elected officials to dig deep and match the resiliency of wherever they are from, but to focus on things which are priorities,” said Sessions.
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