Gov. Perry tours Galveston devastation

March 26, 2009 3:16:07 PM PDT
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was supposed to be in Texas Thursday afternoon to see the damage with Governor Perry. She didn't make it, but the governor still took the aerial tour and Eyewitness News reporter Ted Oberg was the only reporter on board with him. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

There is still considerable damage here, more than six months after the storm. Homes haven't been touched since Hurricane Ike through and left 14 feet of water in Sabine Pass. People are living in temporary trailers. He wanted the DHS Secretary to come here so badly to make sure she isn't forgetting about Texas.

Governor Perry has seen this before as Hurricane Ike damage is nothing new to him. However, he emphasized that in seeing Galveston and Bolivar from the air, some spots don't look all that different so long after the storm.

"It's devastated. I mean, other than cleaning up the debris, it looks exactly like it did six months ago," said Gov. Perry.

This was supposed to be a tour for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Bad weather kept her in Washington, but Perry and the secretary did talk by phone. He tells us she will come to Texas soon, and as we landed, he told us his priority is to make sure she hasn't forgotten that Texas is still hurting.

"This is a storm that I'm afraid that every month that goes by it gets farther and farther away from people's memories. There are people still suffering in southeast Texas," said Gov. Perry.

In Port Arthur, Gov. Perry heard that again from his Ike Commission headed by former Harris County Judge Robert Eckles. The commission is trying to come up with a long term plan to help Texas recover.

There are plenty of good ideas, but not a lot of ways to pay for long term planning without federal help. Texas still does not have the level of funding Louisiana and Mississippi received after Katrina, nor the attention. That's something the governor and the gulf coast leaders with him want Secretary Napolitano to correct.

"No one is as frustrated as I am with the slowness of federal government. The fact of the matter is she hasn't been in office for 30 days, so I'm willing to give her a little bit of slack. Not a lot of slack, but a little bit of slack," said Gov. Perry.

The governor has some very specific things he has for Napolitano to do for Texas including reimbursing Texas communities 100% for removing all of their debris from the storm.

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