Southwest Florida Fight
Just five months ago, our region experienced the wrath of Mother Nature. With a sweeping storm surge reaching over 16 feet, walloping wind gusts sustaining 155 mph, and widespread destruction, completely leveling mile after mile in our beloved community. Southwest Florida has been through a lot over these past few months. We all lived and experienced this together. Whether it was your home, business, beach, or even post office, the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian was truly historic. In many parts of our region, nothing remained aside from the frames of our buildings and landmarks.
But with historic devastation came extraordinary resilience. I am incredibly proud that our community has come together to rebuild our lives. While Ian ravaged many parts of our region to nothing, our quiet confidence and can-do attitude in restoring Southwest Florida spoke to the heart and soul of who we are as a community. What started as initial post-storm debris collection has culminated in reconstruction, and my office has stood with you along the way.
My office took action. We hosted various town halls with representatives of the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP.) We also worked with Governor DeSantis to help get critical infrastructure rebuilt and pushed the Lee County Electric Cooperative to expedite power restoration.
We recently called upon Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to reopen the Sanibel Post Office, and I am pleased that our message was heard loud and clear. Only days later, the United States Postal Service (USPS) delivered a mobile post office to the grounds of the old Sanibel Post Office, and normal operations are now underway. Most importantly, given the ever-growing prevalence of mail-in voting, the post office is now operational ahead of the March 7, 2023, Sanibel municipal elections to ensure election security.
America may view our community as an underdog, but being the underdog is something I have grown accustomed to throughout my life. Growing up in inner-city Brooklyn with a single mother, I knew the odds were not in my favor from the start. With hard work, a commitment to education and strong support from my mother, I made it to college. I grew my career step by step, from Florida A&M to Florida State University, from the financial sector into politics, and from the Florida State House to the halls of Congress. As only one of five black Republicans on Capitol Hill, I may again be an underdog in the eyes of some, but the fight to grow our movement and deliver for the people of Southwest Florida drives me forward.
I am honored that my neighbors have repeatedly trusted me to represent them in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. The strength, resilience, and can-do attitude that Southwest Florida has shown since Hurricane Ian is what this country is all about. I am proud of the fight in our community and strive to embody that same fight on the national stage as your representative in Congress.
by Congressman Byron Donalds
CONTACT MY OFFICE
Collier County Office
3299 Tamiami Trail East • Suite 105
Naples, FL 34112
Washington, DC Office
523 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Top Photo: Rep. Donalds Tours Ian Destruction with Gov. DeSantis