Obama to Visit Gulf Coast in October
By Michael A. Fletcher
President Obama will make his first visit as president to the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast sometime in the middle of October, the White House announced Tuesday.
The trip will allow him to view first-hand the area's continuing recovery from Hurricane Katrina, which ravaged the area four years ago, killing more than 1,600 people and driving another 1.5 million from their homes.
The president's visit to the area will come after a slew of Cabinet members have visited the region, where they have heard complaints about slow recovery efforts and bureaucratic complexities that have slowed the flow of billions of dollars in federal assistance.
"The administration is deeply committed to serving the needs of Gulf Coast residents by cutting through the bureaucratic red tape that has delayed assistance and improving coordination among federal agencies and with state and local partners," the White House said in a statement. "As a result, more than $1 billion in public assistance projects that had been stuck for years have been obligated since the start of the administration, including fire and police stations, health clinics, libraries, and university buildings."
In announcing the president's impending trip, the White House also said that the president signed an executive order extending the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Recovery and Rebuilding for six months. The office was first established November 1, 2005.
Posted at 6:03 PM ET on Sep 29, 2009
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