Last Modified: Friday, October 18, 2013 2:27 PM
CAMERON — Flood insurance rates, health care for veterans and improving commercial fishing were some of the topics discussed at a town hall meeting hosted Thursday by U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La.
Residents gathered at the Police Jury building for the meeting, hosted by the senator via teleconference from Washington, D.C. Before taking questions, Vitter spoke about his vote against the resolution to increase the debt limit. He said he voted against the legislation because of his stance against the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Parish Administrator Tina Horn said her biggest concern involved the 2012 Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. She said it would get rid of a stipulation that maintains established flood insurance rates for existing property.
“You can build according to all the regulations and the (base flood) elevation requirements and then, two years later, the map changes and you need to be a foot higher,” Horn said. “They will penalize you for not meeting the requirements, but you did everything you were required to do.”
Monroe Gray, a commercial fisherman, said he was concerned about the operation of the Cameron-Creole Watershed. Horn said the structure is closed if the water gets too high or if the water has a high salinity rate. She said shrimp cannot escape that area while the structure is closed.
District 5 Police Juror Kirk Burleigh said there is a “slow decline in the commercial fishing industry” because of how the watershed is operating.
Local resident Floyd Benoit asked Vitter about the effort to build a VA clinic in Lake Charles so veterans wouldn’t have to travel to clinics in Jennings or Alexandria. Benoit, a Vietnam War veteran, said some of the older veterans are either physically unable to travel that far or can’t afford the trip.
“These older (veterans) can’t get around too good,” he said. “A clinic that was closer would make it easier on the families.”
The mobile VA clinic on Fifth Avenue in Lake Charles has been open since June 2012.
Vitter also hosted a town hall meeting in Lafayette on Thursday.