White House committed to assisting in rebuilding the U.S. Virgin Islands

VP Pence, ‘We will be with you every day until the U.S. Virgin Islands comes all the way back’

ST. CROIX, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Friday that the White House is committed to assisting in rebuilding the U.S. Virgin Islands “bigger and better” in the wake of two devastating hurricanes.

Governor Kenneth E. Mapp welcomed Vice President Pence, his wife, Karen, and other Cabinet members, including Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, to St. Croix prior to an official briefing at the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport.

The Governor, Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal officials updated the Vice President on the Territory’s recovery efforts.

Following the briefing and two stops on St. Croix, the Governor joined the Vice President for a helicopter tour of the damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Vice President Pence (left) and U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Mapp surveyed the hurricane damage

Vice President Pence (left) and U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Mapp surveyed the hurricane damage on Friday.

Governor Mapp said the Vice President paid close attention to the damage he saw on the ground. “I was very gratified by the level of interest he took,” the Governor said.

Vice President Pence said he was very impressed by the efforts of the Governor and his team and by the resiliency and “can do” attitude of Virgin Islanders.

“We want to thank you for your leadership and the leadership of your entire team,” Vice President Pence told the Governor. “My wife, Karen, and I are honored to be with you today. We wanted to be here with you in the U.S. Virgin Islands to say very plainly and simply: We are with you today, we will be with you tomorrow, we will be with you every day until the U.S. Virgin Islands comes all the way back. That is our pledge to each and every one of you.”

On behalf of the people of the Virgin Islands, Governor Mapp expressed deep thanks and appreciation for all the support the Territory has been receiving from its federal partners. “I can’t say enough to thank you, to thank our President, and all our federal partners,” he said to Vice President Pence.

Governor Mapp said the assistance of the federal government has made it possible for schools to plan reopening and the private sector to begin to get back on its feet just two weeks after Hurricane Maria and 30 days after Hurricane Irma.

“We have problems – we have folks without roofs, we have folks still in the elements – but we have made significant progress,” Governor Mapp said.

Following the airport briefing, the Governor traveled with the Vice President to visit the Holy Cross Episcopal Church, where he was received by parishioners and members of the local clergy. Prayers were offered and the officials surveyed the damage to the church and neighboring areas.

The Vice President and the Governor then visited the shelter at the St. Croix Educational Complex High School, where, according to American Red Cross Shelter Manager Anita Roberts, more than 200 people are now housed and more were expected Friday with the closure of the Canegata shelter.

The Vice President and the federal delegation left the Territory following this afternoon’s helicopter tour.

Posted in: National News
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