Will Evan Jenkins please go away? Flood relief has turned into photo ops

Dear Editor:
While West Virginia’s Second Congressional District was asking “Where’s Alex Mooney?” the Third District is asking “Will Evan Jenkins please go away?”
Following the devastating flooding in West Virginia, Congressman Jenkins has been touring the affected areas, but hasn’t been modest about what he’s been doing; turning every scene he’s been to into a photo-op. A quick glance at his Congressional Facebook page will show Jenkins observing affected areas. Looking at his published photos, it’s clear he’s visiting several shelters and flooded homes. Working myself in these neighborhoods, we’ve all seen our Congressman arrive surrounded by Troopers and staffers, take pictures, and leave.
The Congressman’s behavior has escalated from annoying to offensive. Like many who are affected by this tragedy, I look toward our elected officials for guidance. Jenkins has used our communities as props and gave us nothing but false hope while having his picture taken.
Jenkins has provided empty answers and hollow solutions as his aides stood behind him snapping photos. He advised West Virginians multiple times to look to the Red Cross for help. This is frustrating because Congress has no control over how the Red Cross operates. I should also mention that the Red Cross’ response has been lackluster at best, and Jenkins pointing us in this direction is proof of how truly out of touch he is.
As a Congressman, Jenkins has also been lauding the FEMA response. However, people in Greenbrier County have been let down by this agency. Recently Jenkins stopped by my neighbor’s home and assured FEMA aid. When FEMA arrived, she was told she would be compensated less than $2,000 for damages that have been appraised at more than $20,000. This woman’s image is being used on Jenkins’ Facebook page as he touts how well the response has been.
Recently Jenkins has been advertising his “mobile office hours” as a way to “help residents having problems with federal agencies and programs.” Looking for help, I was again let down by my Congressman. There are 13 different locations, none of them near the affected flood areas. Each of these offices are open during a work day for a period of ONE hour.
Jenkins’ response to this disaster has been a facade. His actions are merely for show, and nothing is truly getting done as a result of his efforts. I hope that as our state moves forward people can find leadership in their elected officials. While the Second Congressional District is wondering where their Congressman is, the Third is looking for a better answer.
Nick Irvine
Lewisburg

 

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