It is easy to sit in an office back in Washington, D.C., and tell people what they want to hear. But it is another thing to look a person in the eye, tell them that you understand their issue and that you will do everything you can to meet their concerns.
Adam Smith did that following the flood of 1,001 homes and 15 businesses in the City of Pacific in January 2009. He came to Pacific in person and walked the flooded area talking to its victims. He dedicated staff members to work with the city and these victims to help them through the FEMA process and other needs.
But it did not stop there. Understanding that it will take years for mitigation projects to be finished, he worked with the Army Corps of Engineers and others to secure temporary flood protection by means of a HESCO wall from our City Park to the county line. He heard the fears of families and children that this flooding might happen again before more permanent fixes could be made.
When it mattered most, Smith came to my city, listened to our citizens’ fears and needs, and then found a way to get the job done.
(Hildreth, a Democrat, is the mayor of Pacific.)