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WATCH: Sen. Ossoff Asks FEMA Nominee to Visit Georgia, Meet with Farmers Impacted by Slow Federal Response to Hurricane Michael

Sen. Ossoff also asked Criswell to ensure plans are in place to get swifter delivery of aid to farmers in case of future disasters

Washington, D.C. — Today in a Homeland Security Committee confirmation hearing with Dianne Criswell, President Biden’s nominee for Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff addressed the delayed federal response to Hurricane Michael in Georgia in 2018 and asked Ms. Criswell to meet with Georgia farmers impacted by the storm within her first year in office.

In addition, Sen. Ossoff also asked Ms. Criswell to work with him, his office, and local officials to make certain plans are in place to ensure timely delivery of relief in the case of future natural disasters.

Hurricane Michael swept across the state in October 2018, leaving hundreds of thousands without power, destroying farmland, and causing over $2.5 billion in agricultural damage, according to the University System of Georgia.

Worse, it took 18 months for Georgians to start getting relief from the storm, causing permanent damage and severely impacting producers of cotton, pecans, timber, vegetables, and poultry.

Agricultural economist John McKissick also predicted that the damage would cause Georgia to lose its spot as the nation’s top pecan-producing state for years, as it can take up to a decade to get pecan trees to become profitable.

Click here to watch Sen. Ossoff’s line of questioning.

Please find a transcript below:

OSSOFF: “Thank you, Madam Chair, I appreciate that, and thank you Ms. Criswell. I enjoyed the conversation that we had, discussing some of the most urgent concerns in Georgia when it comes to emergency management. In the interest of everybody’s time I have one question for you, which is Ms. Criswell, will you commit that in your first year in this position should you be confirmed, that you will join me in Georgia to meet with the farmers who are impacted by Hurricane Michael, and to engage in planning with local leaders and local officials to ensure that we have the plans in place to get swifter aid to Georgia’s agricultural sector, if and when another devastating tropical storm or hurricane strikes our state? Thank you.”

CRISWELL: “Senator, thank you. I appreciated the conversation that we did have about the variety of challenges that Georgia faces and if confirmed, I would welcome the opportunity to come meet with you and your staff and better understand the challenges that you’re facing across the variety of communities that you serve.”

OSSOFF: Thank you, Ms. Criswell. I look forward to welcoming you to Georgia. And Madam Chair, I yield back.”

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