The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 changed the face of our nation forever. No longer do we take for granted the security of our borders or the federal, state, and local efforts necessary for public safety. At the same time, we must also recognize that "homeland security" does not only refer to man-made threats but also to natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods.
As a major international gateway comprised of airports, seaports, transportation networks, and huge influxes of immigrants and visitors from all over the world, South Florida is at the nexus of our national homeland security efforts. From the Coast Guard to Immigration & Customs Enforcement, Customs & Border Protection, and the Transportation Security Administration, the men of women of these critical federal agencies are essential to protecting our nation, enforcing our laws, and ensuring the paramount importance of public safety. They deserve every resource they need to carry out difficult and complex missions on land, sea, and air.
Homeland security also takes place at the local level. On this website you will find links to help city officials and other leaders apply for federal grants to assist in communications improvements, law enforcement technology upgrades, emergency response efforts, and a myriad of other tools that comprise our public safety needs. I also work to develop smooth communications between community leaders and federal officials, relationships which are crucial when a disaster strikes.
Florida is particularly susceptible to natural disasters, especially hurricanes and floods. Throughout my tenure in Congress, I have worked to ensure that the appropriate amount of federal resources are dedicated to preparing for, responding to, and cleaning up after disasters. I fully support legislation providing first responders with the tools they need to help stricken communities. Hurricane research – in forecasting, hardening, and responding – is critical to Florida's well-being, and to that end I have introduced legislation authorizing funding for programs and activities throughout the state.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) plays a vital role in Florida's preparedness and disaster response efforts. I have long worked with FEMA officials to make sure that counties, cities, and local communities have the resources they need and receive adequate compensation for post-disaster cleanup efforts. I have also introduced legislation establishing national emergency centers to provide humanitarian assistance, housing, and medical needs for persons displaced from their homes in the aftermath of a natural disaster.
Our citizens deserve the proper tools to prepare and respond to any threat, from natural disasters to terrorist attacks. I will continue the fight to address our nation's existing vulnerabilities and improve on current programs. The security of the American people remains one of my top priorities in Congress.