tv Governor Rick Scott Speaks with Reporters at the White House CSPAN September 29, 2017 10:15pm-10:32pm EDT
hurricanes. gov. scott: good afternoon. lunch with the president and vice president. we basically talked about irma and puerto rico. first with regard to irma, our state has come back strong. we have our power back. people are back in business. the areas that got hit the worst , were long term damage is in the keys, we got everything. they got nine plus feet of storm surge, wind, rain. it is devastating down there. the big issues in florida right now is debris cleanup and housing issues, so we are
working with fema to make sure we know all of the options with regard to housing, and we are continuing to work on cleanup. key west already has taken cruise ships, so clearly our to her is an industry is coming back strong. the big issue i have after irma and florida is the dike at lake okeechobee. we got a lot of water. as you probably know, we evacuated citizens around lake okeechobee. the waters continue to rise. probably will get up to a little less than 17 feet. it is very important that the federal government become our partner and get this done. this is a federal project. we have put up $50 million. the president has committed to be a partner in this. i hope we accelerate everything we can to get the repairs to the dike done as fast as possible. yesterday i visited the governor
of puerto rico and took a two or -- took a two or -- to a tour. it is totally different. , so it wasland totally devastated by maria. power lines are down. you have pockets -- towns that have one road income of one rode -- one road in, one road out. you can't get there by truck or by car. the only way you can get in there is by air. florida, we have the thattunity as floridians we can deal with different issues than the federal government can. we have similar departments like the department of educational transportation that does things similar to what the island or the territory of puerto rico
does. what i told the governor am i who i know is working very hard, is we are going to do everything we can to help you go. we did a conference call today with our best to help the rico too help the rico -- puerto rico. i talked to the president about it. the biggest issue we are dealing rico isw in puerto we need more truck drivers and more trucks. we've got to get everything out of the port, whether it is fuel or water. we had a problem in florida of getting fuel into our ports. they have the fuel. they've got to get it out of their ports.
the island is dealing with no power, so they are relying on diesel generators. i will continue to be helpful to the governor. i know that this country is all going to stand behind the island in the territory of puerto rico and do everything we can to make sure they get back to normal legislative have done in florida. normal,d people -- to like they have done it in florida. what specific aid will you be sending to puerto rico besides some of the national guard quest mark -- guard? gov. scott: we already have some national guard there. has power,the island and only 28% has cell connection. even when i call, we get
disconnected. we did a conference call this morning with agency heads, not got disconnected. we are having a lot of communication problems. --for sure are going to be they are asking for a lot of we haveesources, so logical support for that because we have a lot of spanish-speaking law enforcement, and we are close. i'm sure we will be helping their. we've told them whatever their needs are, we will help them. our state colleges and universities to give tuition to puerto ricans. we will see how we can help them with their k-12 education in that regard. we are just going issue by issue. right now we've got to get truck drivers there. we've got to get trucks there. we've got to get generators there. that is their main need. there will be new needs as this goes on.
we will help them with pure cure meant -- with procurement. >> do you think a large number will be relocating to florida? gov. scott: we will do whatever we can. if we have puerto rican students, how to make sure they were given the right schools and everything. we will deal with those issues as they come up. as you know, the flights are starting to pick up out of puerto rico. i flew out of their yesterday. we will see how many people come. i assume some people will be coming, and we will accommodate them. each family will have their issue, whether it is shelter or education or jobs. --state senator torres today >> [inaudible]
our industries got hit real hard. the citrus industry, we have had greening issues come as we have issues, so we have seen a big drop. i am working with the individuals in the citrus industry to figure out what we can do to help them get restarted. this is going to be a tough year for our citrus industry. my goal is we've got to make sure that we bring them back. it is a big part of our economy. state senator torres today accused you of doing nothing more than what he called photo ops with puerto rico. k he out more specifics about what you're going to do in response
to that? -- can you lay out more what you areut going to do in response to that? gov. scott: my job is to be responsive to what the governor of puerto rico wants. he is going through an unbelievable crisis. as he finds his needs, i will do everything we can. what we have done so far is -- if you have puerto rican students coming to our state for college or university on a we will get you in state jewish and. -- in-state tuition. a lot of the shipping to puerto rico -- i have been talking to our ports. how can we get more products they are, whether it is the generators or support services? [indiscernible] work in avril, everglades, palm beach, and miami.
but we did yesterday and today piecet went piece by through all of the types of issues, no different than what we have been through. i went through hurricane before i was governor. tell me your problem and i will see if i can help you at the state level. or if it is something in the private sector. i've talked to our power companies to say, how can we be helpful? >> [inaudible] do you think the criticism is justified for the response? gov. scott: the president gave us a declaration that was significant to us. he gave it during the storm. we've had a very good relationship with fema through the whole event.
i talked the first week probably almost every day to the president. we still have a lot of work to do. we have housing problems, debris problems. the issue in puerto rico is totally different. you have the unbelievable isolation. i had something like 60,000 people doing power restoration. half of them drove into my state. you can drive into puerto rico -- you can't drive into puerto rico. you got to get power back on. that is a tough issue. engineers corps of have offered resources to do that. it is totally different in how you get resources there. i know everybody is committed. i know the president is committed. i am going to do everything i can. >> the president is scheduled to
visit puerto rico on tuesday. do you feel the island is prepared for a presidential visit? gov. scott: that is a decision by the governor of puerto rico and the president. i think people appreciate when the president comes, the feel comfortable that they are being heard. you want to know you are being heard and you have a direct conduit to say, if you have a problem and i need your help in something, that somebody will be responsive. [indiscernible] -- what the you need that i can be help the with? i will see what i can do to solve them. >> [inaudible] had the response from the federal government been adequate and swift enough? gov. scott: what i have seen is
that every time i talk to the president -- i was with the president before maria hit, down visiting south florida. he was already talking about puerto rico before maria hit. he was constantly in contact with me. my impression is he has done the same thing with the governor. i can tell you their issue now is goods have gotten into that port. i was talking to shippers, and they were saying we don't have more room in the port to take stuff. i said, we have a lot of people here that want to give. they say, we don't have room because the port is full. we've got to get that stuff out of the port. that is one thing we need. behind that when the generators. that's behind that we need to generators -- behind that we need to generators.
the issue right now down there is you got to get stuff out of the ports. i know the governor's focus. everybody to be as helpful as possible. let us all member we are in the middle of a crisis. the island is in the middle of a crisis now. 95% of people without power. let's focus on everyday what we can do to fix this. we are to step back and say, how can we do this better? i think we work hard, but i'm sure there's something we can do better. >> the president urged or ask you to run for senate. did you talk about that today when you are having a meeting with him? what are your current thoughts about that? is that job appealing to you? gov. scott: that is in 2018. my job right now is to continue to get our state back to work.
that is what i am focused on right now. >> [inaudible] gov. scott: our experiences when we think there is a hurricane or something like that coming up, we start doing daily calls and call of our emergency management team all around the state and have the national emergency management center on those calls , and they are giving us briefings constantly and we are relying on constant updates. what they're doing now is looking at the data after irma