Congressman Ted Poe served as guest speaker at the recent Crosby/Huffman Chamber of Commerce luncheon held at the First Baptist Church in Crosby. Poe had praise for the community’s recovery from Hurricane Ike and ideas for improvements for next year. He said the recovery in the Houston Area was quicker than in other cities and he attributed the differences to the hard work of the community, which took matters into their own hands. Poe’s said residents in District 2 owe a lot to the first responders who he felt did a tremendous job. He said many of them slept in their cars and many worked more than 12-hour shifts. When he described the extent of the damage, he said if one superimposed the state of New York over Texas, that would be the size of the affected area without power. Although he spoke with pride about the local effort, he saw areas where he would like to see improvement. As he explained the procedures, he said local officials first identified needs in the community. Then they reported to the state, who approved the needs and finally, FEMA distributed supplies. He said communication through the ranks slowed things down and decisions were made by people who were unfamiliar with the area. “In the east, many people lost homes, because they live in low areas,” he said. “They wanted FEMA trailers so they could continue to report to work and rebuild their homes. FEMA didn’t want to grant the trailers because they lived in a low-lying area, but they would have granted the same housing to those not in a flood-prone area.” People who were denied the housing were forced to live with relative miles away making their commute to work inconvenient and expensive. He said he hoped to change that in the future. He said he also wanted to look at legislation which would require gas stations with 10 or more pumps to have backup generators if they were located on evacuation routes. Even when some stations had working pumps, Poe said stations ran out of gas because EPA requires a certain blend of gas in this area and it took too long to approve accepting a less-blended gas, which was available, in an emergency situation. Other topics discussed by Poe included alternative fuels such as wind, solar, clean coal and nuclear. The only fuel source Poe did not support was corn-based ethanol, which he said drove up food prices and harmed the environment. Poe serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Terrorism Sub-Committee. He talked about his recent visit to the Middle East, where he said American troops are doing a great job. He brought with him a display board with photos of 26 men and women of every race who were from his district and had died defending their country. He said southeast Texas has a history of sending a large number of soldiers so they have a large number of casualties, but still, he said, the young in the district continue to enlist. Poe opened the floor to questions, many of which were about the upcoming election. Poe said he was against any plan that involved raising taxes. He said he had no problem working with whichever political party won the election, because he said working on issues was more a “people thing” than a “party thing.” The Chamber president, Ryan Konarik, also commented on storm recovery. He said the way local businesses helped after the storm and other issues was important to the business community.  “Texas in general and the Crosby/Huffman area in specific, set an example of how act in a disaster,” he said. He also congratulated Chamber members on the turnout at the recent “Picnic in the Park” and on its hurricane relief effort, which he said was able to bring six tons of ice to the First Baptist Church in Huffman. Businessman Richard Amador at Son Harvest Church invited Chamber members to a “Life After Ike” event held Nov. 15 from 3 - 8 p.m. “After the hurricane, everyone had a lot of extra expenses. We want this to be a fun day for families to just come and enjoy,” said Amador. He said the businesses always ask for the support of the community and this was a chance for businesses to give their support to their community. He said several businesses had already committed resources and they know there will be a petting zoo, entertainment, moon walks, games and hot dogs for everyone. A photographer will be on hand to take family portraits in a harvest setting. The photos will be printed on location and will be priced at cost. The next Crosby/Huffman Chamber of Commerce luncheon will be held at 11:30 a.m., Nov. 20, at the American Legion Hall. Konarik said this will be an important meeting, since the group will be voting on new Chamber board members. Photo: District 2 Congressman Ted Poe served as guest speaker at the recent Crosby/Huffman Chamber of Commerce luncheon. He spoke on disaster preparedness, energy, upcoming elections and the Middle East. Photo by Kathy Parks

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