Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran today announced that former Congressman Steve Israel will lead a bi-county working group to help coordinate a regional response to the recurring federal government shutdowns and their impact on Long Island.
PHOTOS from the event can be found HERE.
VIDEO from the event can be found HERE.
A rush transcript of the County Executive remarks is available below:
It’s great to be with you here today. Great to be with our former Congressman Steve Israel on what is a grim day for our community and communities across our country today. It is now the longest shutdown of the federal government in U.S. history. We have seen a number of these shutdowns over the years. You know, we often get together, the County Executive and I, to deal with emergency management issues. Unfortunately here on Long Island we have had to deal with our share of extreme weather events culminating certainly in Superstorm Sandy, but extreme snow events and other types of extreme weather events and natural disasters.
This government shutdown is a manmade disaster that is hurting thousands of residents and hurting our entire economy, our regional economy. We have residents across this county today who are struggling to pay their bills, to pay their rent, their mortgage, to put food on their tables. It is a disgrace and, as I said as were accustomed to dealing with natural disasters, we now must confront the reality that we must coordinate and prepare for these manmade disasters, these government shutdowns that have occurred now on a more basis and now culminating in the longest in our nations history. And I think Laura has seen the same thing, you know, one shinning light in this whole thing is to see people come out and support their friends and their neighbors who want to give.
We were at MacArthur Airport yesterday with TSA agents and heard stories of people coming their and giving donations, thanking them and dropping off gift cards. And we’ve seen stories like that across Long Island, and I think it’s happening across the country where people are stepping up and what we’re saying today is we can no longer just simply sit back and rely on the federal government to do what they’re supposed to do on a daily basis. We have to take action on a local level now to deal with the effects of this shutdown but also to prepare and coordinate for future shutdowns because unfortunately what we are seeing from Washington, and the indications are that we’re going to see this again in the future and we need to be prepared, we need to be coordinated.
I can tell you in Suffolk County we’ve had calls over the last several days from employees who are now being required to go back to work at the IRS. This is tax season of course, who take transit and are concerned on how they’re going to be able to afford to get to work without a paycheck. We have somebody who reached out to us who takes our accessible transportation system and relies on a federal transit subsidy in order to get to work, that subsidy’s not available to them anymore. There are countless stories across the region, across the country like this. This shutdown needs to end but we’re not going to wait to the federal government, for Washington, to do what they’re supposed to do, to do the right thing, we’re taking action here on Long Island and very proud to be with County Executive Curran and grateful to our former Congressman Steve Israel, who’s been a great leader for us in this region and across this country to take up the task of coordinating response to not only this shutdown, but how we can coordinate all those individuals and organizations who want to give, who want to contribute and want to make sure we’re supporting our friends and neighbors through this incredible hardship brought on by Washington.