Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Rita -San Antonio

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Friday, September 30, 2005  •  Speech

Thank you for joining us.  In recent weeks Texans have been in the spotlight for responding to two catastrophic storms…
…first when we welcomed close to 400,000 displaced neighbors from Louisiana because of Katrina…
…and most recently in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Rita.

I have never been more proud to be a Texan than I am now. 

Texans have risen to this challenge with compassion and charity…
…and none more than the people of San Antonio.

Led by your mayor, Phil Hardberger…
…and your county judge, Nelson Wolff…
…San Antonio has gone to extraordinary measures to help those who lost their homes…
…and in some cases loved ones.

That continues today, with San Antonio currently providing shelter to more than 3,400 evacuees of Rita and Katrina in San Antonio. 

Two separate buildings here at Kelly USA are hosting more than 1,500 people each…
…200 Rita evacuees are finding shelter at an old Montgomery Ward Store in Windsor Mall…
…and about 15 people with special needs…down from 400…are being cared for at the old Levi Strauss headquarters.

I came here today to say thank you…
…thank you for your labor of love during this hour of need.

(pause)

While we work to restore power to East Texas…
…and get necessary supplies such as food, water and ice to those in need…
…it is clear that people are still feeling the sting of this terrible storm.

It is going to take some time to get East Texas back on its feet.

We are making progress in restoring power, with a little more than 300,000 customers without power…
…down from more than 1 million customers when Rita hit.

We are opening new accommodations for Texans with special needs…
…including 400 beds at a VA hospital in Waco. 

We continue to relocate Texans from hardest hit areas while efforts to clean up and restore services continue.

Local jurisdictions can now also work with area hotels and motels to contract directly with the State to provide accommodations to Rita evacuees.

And donations have started to pour in to the newly created Texas Disaster Relief Fund…
…with $1 million each from ExxonMobil, Wal-Mart, Conoco Phillips and BP…
…and $100,000 from Microsoft. 

(pause)

As I said before this storm, we’re going to get through this. 

There are many hard days left ahead for East Texas…
…but they will come back better than ever, in part because Texans here in San Antonio have opened their arms in a great humanitarian act.

Thank you for what you have done. 

I would be happy to take a few questions before taking a tour of one of the shelters here.

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