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Gulf Coast Civil Works Project/Acorn: Congress Introduces Gulf Coast Civic Works Act, Local Residents and Businesses to Return and Rebuild Infrastructure Post-Katrina and Rita

NOVEMBER 2, 2007
12:53 PM

CONTACT: Gulf Coast Civil Works Project  /
Acorn /

Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights
Jeffrey Buchanan, RFK Center, 202-463-7575 ext 241
Charles Jackson, ACORN 504-994-4669
Dr. Scott Myers-Lipton, GCCWP, 510-508-5382

Congress Introduces Gulf Coast Civic Works Act, Local Residents and Businesses to Return and Rebuild Infrastructure Post-Katrina and Rita

WASHINGTON, DC - November 2 - The Gulf Coast Civic Work Project fully supports H.R. 4048, The Gulf Coast Civic Works Act of 2007, introduced November 1st in the U.S. House of Representatives. ACORN, RFK Memorial Center for Human Rights and the national network of student and faculty supporters would like to thank Representatives Zoe Lofgren (CA), Charlie Melancon (LA), and Gene Taylor (MS) for their leadership in introducing groundbreaking legislation offering a renewed federal commitment to rebuilding the Gulf Coast and empowering the region’s greatest assets, the disaster’s survivors.

See a bill summary. See full text as submitted.

This legislation would create stronger and more equitable communities by funding and implementing critical infrastructure projects, directly creating 100,000 jobs for displaced and current residents. The bill creates partnerships to rebuild neighborhoods across the region devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, including Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

“Communities across the Gulf Coast suffer from crumbling roads and water systems, ill constructed flood protection, and closed police stations, fire house, schools and hospitals,” says Stephen Bradberry, head state organizer of ACORN Louisiana, the region’s largest association of low and middle income families. “We have an opportunity to jumpstart the recovery by empowering communities with the resources they need to lead.”

The bill addresses the community infrastructure needs, including education, public safety and transportation, which have kept displaced families from returning. It promotes sustainable economic development by giving priority to local businesses for contracts, developing the local workforce and upgrading services while providing opportunities for returning and displaced residents to pull themselves into the middle class through living wage jobs.

“During the New Deal the federal government partnered with communities to create 4 million jobs in two months building or repairing thousands of hospitals, schools, and playgrounds through public works programs,” says Dr. Scott Myers-Lipton, San Jose State professor and Gulf Coast Civic Works Project organizer. “This is exactly what the Gulf Coast now needs.”

Through a Civilian Conservation Corps inspired program, youth workers 17-24 will engage in environmental programs to rebuild wetlands and promote a healthy environment. Innovative local advisory bodies ensure community participation in a citizen driven recovery.

“This bill is a critical step towards restoring human rights in the Gulf Coast,” said Monika Kalra Varma, Director of the RFK Memorial Center for Human Rights. “With this bill, Congress has the opportunity to help disaster survivors realize their human rights to return and participate in rebuilding their communities.”


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