New subcommittee signals more investigations into hurricane recovery delays under Cooper

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, left, R-Kings Mountain, speaks to reporters, with Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Eden, and House Majority Leader John Bell, right, R-Wayne, at a news conference on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020 at state GOP headquarters in Raleigh, N.C., to discuss Election Day results (AP Photo/Gary D. Robertson).

RALEIGH — A newly-formed legislative committee is likely signaling more investigations into hurricane recovery delays during Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s tenure. 

The new subcommittee on Hurricane Response and Recovery under the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations will first examine why so many families are still without homes nearly six years after Hurricane Matthew battered eastern North Carolina and nearly four years after Hurricane Florence hit the same area, per a press release from House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne). 

Bell has been appointed co-chair of the newly formed subcommittee by House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain). Bell will co-chair the subcommittee alongside Sen. Brent Jackson (R-Sampson). 

“I am grateful to be appointed by the Speaker to help lead this effort to bring greater oversight and accountability over the state’s hurricane response efforts,” said Rep. Bell. “This newly established subcommittee will help us address delays in the process and make sure these folks are not forgotten and get the relief they need and deserve.” 

According to Bell’s office, the General Assembly approved multiple disaster relief packages and has allocated “over $1 billion since 2016” towards recovery efforts. 

“Unfortunately, due to missteps, delays, and mismanagement by the Cooper administration, far too many North Carolinians are still awaiting assistance and resources,” Bell’s release says. 

“Majority Leader Bell knows firsthand how our communities are impacted by hurricanes and other natural disasters,” Moore said in a statement. “His leadership on the Subcommittee on Hurricane Response and Recovery will be essential to ensuring those communities are receiving the help they need, when they need it.” 

According to Bell, the subcommittee will call on officials from the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resilience (NCORR) and other agencies to discuss “the process to date, what has worked, lessons learned, and reforms underway to speed up getting people back in their homes. A date for the first meeting is expected to be announced soon.” 

House Members of the newly formed subcommittee include Reps. Brenden Jones (R-Columbus), Mark Pless (R-Haywood), Sarah Stevens (R-Surry), Charles Graham (D-Robeson), and Shelly Willingham (D-Edgecombe). 

Senate members include Sens. Danny Britt (R-Robeson), Jim Perry (R-Lenoir), Steve Jarvis (R-Davidson), Kirk deViere (D-Cumberland), and Joyce Waddell (D-Mecklenburg). 

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A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_