U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand met with local elected officials and residents Sunday afternoon as she made her way to the Village of Piermont to survey damage done during this week’s storm.
“What I can do for them is help advocate on a federal level for resources, help them navigate to getting those claims to FEMA,” Gillibrand said. “What I’m most worried about right now is still the families who have no power and the cold weather coming in. I want to make sure that families that need new shelter have access to that shelter because for seniors, for kids, they can’t be in a cold house or a cold apartment for another week. And from what we’ve heard, it may take another week to get all the power restored around the state.”
Gillibrand arrived in Piermont a bit after 2 p.m. and walked around with Piermont Mayor Chris Sanders, State Sen. David Carlucci, Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, Chairwoman of the Rockland County Legislature Harriet Cornell, Rockland County Legislator Nancy Low-Hogan, Orangetown Supervisor Andy Stewart and Congresswoman Nita Lowey, as well as 50-plus local residents.
“For here, there’s a lot of small businesses and we want to make sure they can have access to grants, as well as loans, so they can get their businesses up and running,” Gillibrand said. “This is a very, very tight community. Obviously there’s been an enormous outpouring of love, affection and warmth to help community members from others. We want to help our small businesses get up and running because that’s kind of the heart and soul of this area. We’re going to try to get them resources so they can clean their basements, clean their ground floors and rebuild.”
She asked residents to look out for each other and help out those in need. She also said she’s worried about the forecast for next week, which says a nor’easter could possibly hit the region next Wednesday.
“I’m very worried about the nor’easter storm that’s coming next week and people not having access to power and being too cold,” she said.
She also said the gas situation looks like it’s improving.
“The storm really damaged the port, so we couldn’t take deliveries of gas to get it into the system,” Gillibrand said. “The port is now open and gas is being delivered. A lot of the facilities where deliveries were being taken didn’t have power either, so they couldn’t take delivery. That power is being restored, so we will have access to gas. Every day there will be more than the day before, and so soon enough, the lines will shorten and people will have what they need.”
Sanders said he was happy for his fellow Piermont residents that Gillibrand stopped in the village.
“It was great for the village to have the senator visit today. We had an opportunity to show her the damage in the Village of Piermont, but more importantly were able to talk to her about our small businesses here and how they’re a big part of the community and they’re going to need a lot of federal help to get themselves up and running,” Sanders said. “We’ve done a great job here just picking up and getting the village back to working order. We’re nowhere near normal, but our small businesses need a lot of help and we’re hoping that the senator can take that message back and the federal government can get us some help here.”