Biden checks in with LC mayor after flooding

John Guidroz

Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter saw an incoming call on his cell phone from a Washington D.C. number Wednesday. He had no clue President Joe Biden was on the other line.

“I took the call, thinking it was either a call I wanted to hear, or a telemarketer,” Hunter said Thursday. “I got lucky.”

Biden and Hunter spoke for roughly five minutes about the historic 12.49 inches of rain that fell throughout Lake Charles May 17, the city’s third-highest daily amount on record. When Biden asked what help was needed, Hunter mentioned congressional approval of a supplemental disaster aid package to aid Southwest Louisiana with long-term recovery.

“I think it’s important (Biden) reached out,” Hunter said. “Hopefully, that attention will transition into tangible results.”

The mayor has been vocal about the need for federal assistance and the lack of federal approval more than eight months after Hurricane Laura’s devastating landfall.

“I have heard so many times over the last nine months that we are close and we’re almost there,” Hunter said. “It is reassuring to see at least we are getting some more attention from everyone in Washington D.C., but I’m going to reserve praise and a joyful response until it actually happens.”

Biden told Hunter he supports the supplemental package, adding that approval will require a bipartisan effort.

“(Biden) said, ‘This should not be a Republican or a Democrat thing. This should be an American thing.’ I agree with him,” Hunter said.

Hunter’s phone conversation with Biden followed the president’s May 6 visit to Lake Charles. Biden’s speech at the lakefront, with the aging Interstate 10-Calcasieu River bridge as a backdrop, centered around his American Jobs Plan as a way to revitalize crumbling infrastructure nationwide.

Hunter said Biden gave his blessing to share details of the phone call with the public. Hunter posted about the call on his Facebook page Wednesday.

Hunter has also spoken with Louisiana’s congressional delegation about the recent flooding.

“I know that they are supportive and are fighting for us,” he said. “I am hopeful human empathy can triumph over partisanship.”

Hunter, who was at the state Capitol Thursday, said he met with Gov. John Bel Edwards to talk about flood damage.

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President Joe Biden visits Lake Charles just weeks before flash flooding wreaked havoc on the area.

Special to the American Press

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