ROCKPORT, Texas (Nexstar) — Ahead of the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey’s Texas landfall on Aug. 25, Vice President Mike Pence paid a visit to the coastal bend. Amid campaign stops for at least one congressional candidate, Pence also visited with families and city officials of the areas hit hardest by the devastating storm.
“Today is really about checking on progress,” Pence said. “I want to reassure the people of Texas that our administration, and I know the Abbott administration, are going to continue to work very closely together to bring this community and bring the state all the way back.”
In the last 12 months, the communities of Rockport, Fulton, Port Aransas, Aransas Pass and more, have banded together to rebuild their coastal haven.
“Our goal is to do far more than rebuild, but our goal is to rebuild all of these communities better than when Hurricane Harvey hit,” Gov. Greg Abbott said.
Construction crews, large and small, can be seen for miles as that around-the-clock rebuild effort continues.
“There are still many families out of their homes, many families that have been displaced, and we are just going to continue to provide that support,” Pence said.
While some are grateful for the state and national attention, others worry that the coastal bend is overlooked because of Houston’s big-city problems during, and after, the storm.
“I can’t stress enough the state and national support we’ve gotten through this, to be such a small town like we are,” Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce’s vice president of marketing and promotion, Sandy Jumper said. “We didn’t get all the attention like the big cities in Houston but we’ve certainly gotten some attention.”
The Texas Democratic Party called Pence’s visit a mere photo op.
“Just one year ago, lives were upended and homes were shattered in the worst flooding in our nation’s history,” party chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement. “One year later, the inaction, incompetence, callousness of Republicans continues.”
Jumper said the top items on her wishlist would be for people to get back into their homes and for more federal funding to come through.
“I really feel like we’re getting a lot of help from some, some it could be lip service, but I think for the most part there is care,” Jumper said.
Pence and Abbott both highlighted the congressional contributions to the storm-damaged communities.
“In the past 12 months, with the strong support of your leadership in the Congress from Texas, Congress approved over $35 billion for disaster relief and recovery for the state of Texas alone,” Pence said.
Abbott explained roughly half would go to rebuild homes, while “much of it will go to rehab building infrastructure in the areas that need it.”
The Rockport-Fulton community is planning a series of events to commemorate the anniversary of Harvey’s landfall. More information can be found on the chamber’s website: Rockport-Fulton.org.