When the going got tough . . .
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When the storm subsided, the governor appeared to clone himself, showing up in every community hurt by the storm within minutes of one another. One morning he was spotted in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island almost at the same moment, rushing from place to place with reassuring words and promises of help.
More significant than his travels were his prompt actions to try to get the region back to normal living. He pushed hard for mass transit to operate again, for emergency supplies to reach people who were hurting and to get the message out that the state cared about its people.
Luckily for Long Island, its two county executives rose to the occasion in the storm’s aftermath. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano worked closely with federal and state officials and was highly visible day after day, providing information and advice to the public. There were a series of Mangano calls to my office and countless others, warning about water quality and offering tips on FEMA help. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone went sleepless for days to help his residents, and saved many lives with his dedication.
One official who wasn’t on everyone’s radar offered a very potent model for how people in power should respond to crises. Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman, whose city was all but destroyed by the storm, slept in his office for days on end, using every tool he had to find ways to keep the city functioning.
There are many heroes who have emerged from the trauma of Hurricane Sandy. Luckily for us, the elected and non-elected officials in this region rose to the occasion. They all deserve a special vote of thanks.
Jerry Kremer was a state assemblyman for 23 years, and chaired the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now heads Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm. Comments about this column? JKremer@liherald.com.
KeywordsJerry Kremer, storms, government, elected officials, Hurricane Sandy, President Obama, Hurricane Katrina, George W. Bush, President Bush, FEMA, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, mass transit, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman