BAY COUNTY, Fla. — It’s been more than 200 days since Hurricane Michael, and many buildings at Tyndall Air Force Base still sit in the ruble.
Sen. Rick Scott visited the base on Monday, surrounded by state and local officials to call on lawmakers in Washington D.C. to provide relief to the Panhandle.
“I’ve been in the Senate for about 100 days, and this is all politics — it’s not about what’s the right thing to do,” Scott said.
Tyndall Air Force Base makes up one-third of Bay County’s economy.
Bay County Commission Chairman, Philip ‘Griff’ Griffitts, said he is fed up with the lack of federal help with rebuilding the community.
“Hurricane Harvey hit Houston August 25, 2017. 17 days later a bipartisan bill of $22 billion was signed by President Trump,” Griffitts said. “I’m not sure why we’re being held hostage.”
Florida Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, was also at the news conference.
He began by explaining how important the Bay County community is to him and pointed at the bands on his wrist that represent the things that mean the most to him.
“This pink one here, I wear it for my wife Katie, because of her fight with breast cancer,” he said. “And I wear this green one — it was the first one I got for Mexico Beach. I’m not just coming here as your CFO or state fire marshal, I’m coming here to you as a son of Panama City.”
Sen. Scott said there is a disaster relief bill on the table in Washington, but politics is delaying the approval.
“There is one person standing in the way of the support we need to rebuild Bay County, all of Florida, and rebuild Tyndall. His name is Chuck Schumer,” Scott said.
Those in attendance at the conference event even said they will make a GoFundMe page to get lawmakers against a disaster bill here to the Panhandle.
“I encourage Senator Schumer to come down and visit. I’ll buy his plane ticket,” Griffitts said. “Fly down here, let us give you a tour here in Bay County, let us show you the problems we’re facing, let us show you the financial hardships, let us show you the people that are truly suffering.”
Sen. Scott said until a bill is passed, all they can do is keeping bringing awareness to the crucial need for the funding.