Victoria-born Shane Sklar kicked off his campaign for the Congressional seat now held by Ron Paul by calling for a review of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in light of that bureau's response after Hurricane Katrina.
"The federal government was ill prepared for this disaster, even though we knew it would occur," said Sklar, speaking before a crowd of about 45 gathered Wednesday morning in DeLeon Plaza in downtown Victoria. "This is simply inexcusable."
A review of FEMA's disaster-response capabilities is important, said Sklar, because the 14th Congressional District - which stretches across 10 counties from the Galveston area to Aransas County south of Victoria and is one of the largest coastal congressional districts in U.S. - could be the next area to be hit by a Katrina.
He said a review should look into "the details of what didn't happen after this natural disaster occurred. I thought with the terrorism preparations that we've had in our country, there might have been a little better plans set in place and response time. We could have done a better job."
The 29-year-old Democrat, former executive director of the Independent Cattlemen's Association of Texas, said the 14th District's congressman must take the lead in a review of FEMA to ensure that response plans will be developed that are simple and effective.
"I think it's very important for the congressman from this area to lead an effort like that. The lives of my family and your family are literally at stake," said Sklar, a fourth-generation rancher who grew up in Edna and was student body president at Victoria College. "We cannot afford to get caught unprepared again."
Sklar intimated that Ron Paul, the incumbent Republican from Surfside Beach in Brazoria County, isn't the man for that job.
He said he respects Paul for standing up for philosophical principles. "But after eight terms in Congress, he has had plenty of chances to make his point."
Sklar said the district needs more than just a congressman who wants to make a philosophical point.
"This isn't a job for someone who simply sits back and lets things happen. We need a congressman who will make a difference. That's why I would want to take a lead in this."
It may well be that Paul has consistent answers, ones which his constituents will approve, for all these questions. But I suspect it's more than just good politics for Shane Sklar to ask them.
UPDATE: Ask and ye shall be answered: Paul was indeed one of the eleven No votes. Interestingly enough, so was Smokey Joe Barton. Calling David Harris!Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 08, 2005 to Election 2006 | TrackBack