CAMPBELL: MEMBERS OF LOUISIANA CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION OWE SANDY VICTIMS AN APOLOGY

Eleven years ago when New Orleans’ levees broke and Katrina devastated our people, America responded. But, if Congress doesn’t grant supplemental funding for the extraordinary needs created by recent flooding in Louisiana, they could cite a valid reason: hypocrisy. 

It won’t be because Americans lack a spirit of generosity, or because we don’t look out for each other when times get tough. The governors and leadership of Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina and countless donors from every corner of the nation have generously come to our aid. We have banded together as a country to finance recovery from the worst natural and man made disasters in human history time after time.

It won’t be because we lack a genuine leader in our governor.  John Bel Edwards has touched the hearts of our people and been a champion for speedy aid in these past two weeks. He quickly worked to obtain a disaster declaration for 20 impacted parishes and channels of assistance for immediate needs are now open.

Rather, if Congress denies Louisiana the aid funds necessary for recovery, it will be because our some of our own congressional delegation turned their backs on the victims of Hurricane Sandy to prove a political point about federal budgeting. Now, they’re going to expect the nation to come to their rescue. It’s never too late to do the right thing, and those who turned their backs on Sandy victims should apologize now, before their mistakes hurt our people.

Our people have invested heavily in flood diversion programs, and residents of some of our hardest hit areas have been paying massive property taxes to build better flood protection for over a decade. Meanwhile, our congressional delegation has failed to build a consensus between the Army Corps, local governments, and taxpayers to move forward with important projects like the Comite River Diversion Canal and the Darlington Reservoir – projects that would have saved thousands of homes in the recent flooding.

Our “leaders” have forgotten that their actions have consequences beyond election day – they’ve abandoned common sense priorities for our people to promote the political message of the day. There’s only one way to make amends for their hypocrisy. Those who voted against aid to victims of Sandy should apologize immediately.

I know the rest of the nation will ultimately respond to our needs and support an aid package for our people that fits the bill. Because that is who we are as Americans. And the American people respect folks who admit when they are wrong, apologize, and move forward. That is what the three members of Louisiana’s delegation that were wrong on Sandy aid ought to do.

-- Foster Campbell, Candidate for U.S. Senate, La. Public Service Commissioner

This op-ed originally appeared in The Hill's Congress Blog.

Ira Wray