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Mayor Andy Brauninger met Saturday in Beaumont with Governor Greg Abbott and area elected officials. They met with Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp, who has been appointed as the Commissioner of the new Commission to Rebuild Texas. The Commission will oversee the response and relief efforts between the state and local governments to ensure victims of the storm get everything they need as quickly as possible. The Commission will also be involved in the rebuilding process, focusing on restoring roads, bridges, schools and government buildings in impacted communities, according to a release from Governor Abbott's office.
"I was very impressed with the way Governor Abbott and the staff he brought with him answered all the questions posed by the affected areas," Brauninger said. "He is without doubt committed to repairing all of the damage to these communities and to helping them get back on their feet. We are very, very fortunate to have an individual like this serving as our governor. Walker County fared extremely well, comparatively. Along with touring Huntsville, I have spent several days in Hardin, Liberty, and Jefferson Counties in the last couple of weeks and have seen the destruction they are dealing with. We ought to feel blessed we are not in the situation so many of our neighboring cities and counties are in."
Brauninger said Abbott noted $7.5 million of recovery will be in the form of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). Brauninger said Reggie Lepley, Walker County Extension Agent for Agriculture/Natural Resources, will be assisting as part of this initiative. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension is serving as the liaison between the needs of the local communities and the state agencies which will assist in fulfilling local needs following Hurricane Harvey. Lepley said in a release on Monday that Texas A&M AgriLife Extension will not directly provide funding or resources for rebuilding but will serve as advocates for area issues. Contact Lepley at his office at (936) 435-2426, by cell phone at (936) 661-0091, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the local Texas AgriLife website at http://walker.agrilife.org.