ICYMI: Senators Reverend Warnock, Ossoff Survey Idalia Damage in Valdosta, Commit to Continuing Push for Federal Recovery Assistance

Senators Reverend Warnock and Ossoff met with Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson, local leaders to discuss support and resources needed on the ground as the community rebuilds following Hurricane Idalia’s landfall in South Georgia last week

Georgia’s two Senators thanked first responders and greeted Red Cross volunteers providing food and resources to community members

Last week, the Senators urged the White House to expeditiously provide federal disaster relief once the Governor formally requests it

Senator Warnock to Valdosta Daily Times: “We were struck by the amount of damage done to this community. In the midst of this devastation one of the things that was inspiring is we saw neighbors banding together”

Above: U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock greets a Red Cross volunteer assisting members of the Valdosta community 

Valdosta, GA — On Sunday, U.S. Senators Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Jon Ossoff (D-GA) surveyed storm damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia in Valdosta, Georgia. The Senators participated in a briefing on ongoing recovery efforts and needs with community members and local leaders at Second Harvest Food Bank, where they also greeted volunteers packing boxes of food for community members in need. The Senators heard from community members about the challenges facing local residents dealing with loss of food, power, and connectivity as debris still clutters roads and pathways, as well as recovery support for compromised housing infrastructure and local small businesses destroyed by the powerful storm. Following a driving tour of the impacted community led by Mayor Matheson, Senators Warnock and Ossoff stopped by a Red Cross volunteer station at Valdosta Cinemas to hand out meals to community members and thank volunteers for their service. 

See the below coverage of Senator Reverend Warnock’s stop in Valdosta:

Valdosta Daily Times: Sens. Ossoff, Warnock address federal relief during tour of damaged areas

September 3, 2023 

  • United States Senators Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock addressed federal relief and heard from local officials about rebuilding efforts as they toured the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia in Valdosta-Lowndes County Sunday afternoon.
  • Ossoff and Warnock’s tour began at the Second Harvest Food Bank, located at 1411 Harbin Circle in Valdosta. The senators heard from the South Georgia location’s Chief Executive Frank Richards about the staff’s efforts through Hurricane Idalia.
  • Sen. Warnock told local officials that the community was in his prayers, and he acknowledged the importance of viewing the hurricane’s impact firsthand. He also announced that both he and Ossoff had contacted the White House regarding federal relief. That contact Warnock referred to was a joint letter addressed to President Joe Biden written on Wednesday, Aug. 31st.
  • The senators continued their tour of the town and later stopped at the Red Cross Resource Site, located at the Valdosta Cinema Parking Lot on 1680 Baytree Road. At the site, the senators spoke with volunteers and local residents about the impact.
  • “We were struck by the amount of damage done to this community. In the midst of this devastation one of the things that was inspiring is we saw neighbors banding together,” Warnock said.

  • The hurricane reached speeds of nearly 70 miles per hour and wiped thousands of residents’ services from power, to wifi and cell phone signals. Hundreds of trees were pushed to the limit leaving multiple roads blocked and homes destroyed. Five days after the storm tunneled through Valdosta-Lowndes County work crews are still working to repair multiple road intersections.

Valdosta Today: Senators visit Valdosta after Hurricane Idalia

September 4, 2023

  • On Sunday, September 3, Senators Jon Ossoff and Ralph Warnock visited Valdosta to tour the areas that were hit hardest by Hurricane Idalia. City Manager Richard Hardy and Mayor Scott James Matheson personally showed the senators the various parts of the city affected by the hurricane.

  • During the tour, Ossoff and Warnock spoke with community leaders to gain a better understanding of the challenges they are facing. They also met with local officials to discuss the response to the events and to identify areas where improvements can be made. The Senators also stopped at a waterline break and greeted and thanked several City employees who were engaged in making repairs. 

WALB: Red Cross, other non-profits host supply giveaway in Valdosta

September 3, 2023

  • Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock also stopped by to thank volunteers, and give an update on the FEMA assistance progress. “Valdosta is standing up in this moment of devastation,” Senator Warnock said. “And we just want you to know that we’re standing with you.”

  • “And our teams spoke with the president’s staff late last week encouraging that there be a swift, affirmative response to that declaration,” Senator Ossoff.

Atlanta News First: 
Senators Ossoff and Warnock survey Hurricane Idalia’s damage in Valdosta

September 3, 2023

  • U.S. Senators from Georgia Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock traveled to Valdosta on Saturday to survey the storm damage from Hurricane Idalia.

  • The Senators, along with Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson, met with local leaders and said they are committed to the community’s long-term recovery.

  • “We are here with you for a long haul. We will stay in touch with the White House and all of our partners to get the federal resources that this region needs and deserves,” Sen. Warnock said.
  • The Senators also joined Red Cross Volunteers to help distribute supplies.

Fox 5: Sens. Ossoff, Warnock survey Hurricane Idalia damage in Valdosta, promise assistance

September 3, 2023

  • Residents in Valdosta are spending their Labor Day weekend cleaning up debris from Hurricane Idalia’s impact. Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock toured the area Sunday afternoon, vowing to step in and help.
  • Warnock and Ossoff surveyed the damage Sunday, pushing for a federal disaster declaration for the county.
  • “If we get that, every bit of the cleanup, every man-hour, every overtime hour will be something that we can claim at the end of this,” Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson said. “Otherwise, we wake up, and we’re holding a 20-billion-dollar bill in our hand.” Residents told FOX 5 they were grateful for the help they’ve received so far and promised to continue helping one another make it through.

WXTL: WATCH: Sens. Ossoff, Rev. Warnock survey Hurricane Idalia damage, meet with local leaders in Valdosta

September 3, 2023

  • Sunday, U.S. Senators Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock surveyed storm damage from Hurricane Idalia alongside Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson and met with local leaders, including Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter, State Representatives John LaHood, Chas Cannon, and Dexter Sharper, and Valdosta Police Chief Leslie Manahan, among others.

  • The Senators also joined Red Cross Volunteers to help distribute supplies at the Red Cross Resource Site in the Valdosta Cinema Parking Lot.