Obama Touts Government Services at SxSW, Denies Disaster Aid to Texans

President Barack Obama was in Texas on Friday attending the annual SxSW event where he told millennials and others that government “does great things” because it “is delivering for everybody in this room.”  His lecture was to those “who despise every level of government.” He did not tell the Texans who had their homes and businesses destroyed and damaged from severe weather and fires that he has denied them financial assistance.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent President Obama a letter (attached below) just this week pleading for “Individual Assistance” for Collin, Dallas, Ellis, Franklin, Rockwall and Van Zandt counties. On January 26th, the State of Texas requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration due to damage sustained from severe weather in December 2015. Texas was granted Public Assistance on February 9th, but was denied Individual Assistance.

 (Photo: PLAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

An American flag placed by first responders is seen December 27, 2015 in the aftermath of a tornado in Rowlett, Texas. (Photo: PLAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Since Governor Abbott’s initial request, additional major damage and destroyed homes were added to the original numbers from the previous request, increasing the total of major damage and destroyed homes to 1,344.

As reported by Breitbart News, Obama told those at the Austin, Texas event, “Every day, government is delivering for everybody in this room, whether you know it or not. I can find the fiercest libertarian in the room, you know, who despises every level of government, thinks it’s all-corrupting. But they’re checking the weather on their phone and lo and behold, there’s a government satellite that is facilitating that. And they’d be really irritated if they couldn’t figure out whether it’s going to be 70 and sunny or 60 and rainy tomorrow. But that’s not reported as government because we just take for granted that of course there are roads and of course we have a geosatellite system. And of course we have special forces who are making sure there aren’t folks who are blowing up our buildings. Part of our task is to tell a better story about what government does.”

Obama was at the South by Southwest conference and festival in Austin where industry leaders in music, film, and technology meet. Obama missed former First Lady Nancy Reagan’s funeral because he went to the conference, as reported by Breitbart News. In this weekly address, he discussed why he was going to the event in Austin. He said he wanted to “participate in a conversation about civic engagement in the 21st century and how we can use technology to tackle our toughest challenges.”

“Since May of 2015, the State of Texas has experienced a continuing pattern of destructive storms, severe flooding and tornadoes, resulting in multiple fatalities and severe damage to hundreds of homes and businesses,” writes Governor Abbott in the letter (attached below).

AP Photo

Jeremy Steele, left, Ric Jaime, center, and Keith McNabb salvage belongings at their friend Mike Cook’s house near Wimberley, Texas, Sunday, May 24, 2015. About 350 homes in the town of Wimberley were washed away by flash floods along the Blanco River, which rose 26 feet in just one hour and left piles of wreckage 20 feet high, Texas authorities said. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

In May 2015, Breitbart Texas reported about the ravages and deaths caused to Texas by tornadoes, rain, and flooding, and about President Obama’s grant of a request in late May for disaster funds for a state hit by devastating flooding. Breitbart Texas also wrote in December about the 30,000 animals killed in Texas by the blizzard “Goliath.”

“In eight months, Texas has endured a major wildfire eligible for a fire Management Assistance Grant and three federally declared disasters. The assistance received as a result of these earlier federal disasters has been vital, but many of the same communities are still in the recovery process from these earlier disasters, and assistance is still needed.”

The Governor wrote that since May 2015, the Lone Star State “has experienced a continuing pattern of destructive storms, severe flooding and tornadoes, resulting in multiple fatalities and severe damage to hundreds of homes and businesses.”

He added, that in eight months, the state has endured a major wildfire eligible for a Fire Management Assistance Grant and three federally declared disasters.

In addition, of the 254 counties in Texas, 136 counties have been part of one of these three major disaster declarations. Of the 136 counties, 27 of them have been declared in two or more of these disasters.

The population of these counties is over 19.5 million people, or 71 percent of the total population of Texas. The Governor put this in perspective by stating that “19.5 million is greater than the populations of 48 states.”

Obama was in receipt of the letter of Governor Abbott prior to attending the conference. Abbott had appealed to him in this letter saying, “It has been a difficult year. The assistance received as a result of these earlier federal disasters has been vital, but many of the same communities are still in the recovery process from these earlier disasters, and assistance is still needed.”

The fourteen-page letter to Obama by the Texas Governor includes charts, graphs, and maps, and details the damage and devastation caused to Texas and Texans.

Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as an associate judge and prosecutor. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2

Gov Abbott Appeal Letter to Obama Re Assistance for Texans


Comment count on this article reflects comments made on Breitbart.com and Facebook. Visit Breitbart's Facebook Page.