In August, our communities were devastated by flooding from Tropical Storm Fred. The only homes many people had ever known were washed away, and many more are still recovering from severe damage. Rural communities in Cruso and Canton were hit hardest, and we still don’t have federal relief.
We live in Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s district. Right now, there’s a historic opportunity to invest $3.5 trillion in our communities by passing the Build Back Better deal. This plan would provide funding for initiatives like the Civilian Climate Corps, a jobs program to transition our economy to renewable energy and green infrastructure. But Cawthorn refuses to back it.
The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is code red for humanity. Rising global temperatures will accelerate the frequency and severity of climate disasters like Tropical Storm Fred. Rep. Cawthorn sits on the House Education & Labor Committee, which has the power to pass legislation that invests in programs like the CCC. Instead, he’s preoccupying himself with divisive political rhetoric, inciting violence and refusing to invest in climate and green jobs.
In Fred’s wake, our community is providing climate disaster aid — a job that the federal government ought to be doing. But instead, a handful of wealthy individuals, with the help of people like Rep. Cawthorn, have pitted us against each other along lines of race and class to stop us from getting what we need to thrive. Rep. Cawthorn: It’s time to either Build Back Better or get ready to be voted out.
— Chelsea White-Hoglen
Editor’s note: President Joe Biden declared a federal disaster Sept. 8 for WNC counties affected by Tropical Storm Fred, allowing residents, business owners, governments and nonprofits to apply for federal aid.