The situation in Puerto Rico is, frankly, dire.
After Hurricane Maria, the entire island – home to more than 3.5 million Americans -- is without power and, in many places, drinkable water. Elderly patients are trapped in their nursing homes. Diabetics can't get insulin. Kidney patients can't get dialysis. They're running out of food, water, supplies.
It's just as bad in the Virgin Islands, where the population is still reeling from Hurricane Irma.
Yet, unlike the hurricane victims in Texas and Florida, Puerto Ricans and Americans in the U.S. Virgin Islands are suffering mostly out of the media spotlight.
We. Must. HELP.
Please consider donating to the Hispanic Federation, a Latino nonprofit that is sending supplies and support to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 100% of your donations will go to hurricane relief efforts. Simply go to https://hispanicfederation.org/donate/ and in the box that says "I would like to designate this gift for", mark "Hurricane Relief Effort" (the top option).
We can also demand our members of Congress prioritize hurricane relief to these islands, especially over the slapdash Graham-Cassidy repeal and replace bill.
One concrete action we can ask them to take is to approve a waiver for the Jones Act, a provision that requires all fuel and supplies headed to Puerto Rico and other territories to first dock in the mainland U.S. (allowing the mainland to levy a tax on the goods). The Jones Act was already waived for one week following Hurricane Irma, but Representative Nydia Velazquez (NY) has requested a one-year waiver to help facilitate the flow of supplies to the ravaged regions.
WHO TO CALL:
Senators Cassidy and Kennedy; Representative Scalise OR Representative Richmond
Senator Bill Cassidy - DC OFFICE: (202) 224-5824 and METAIRIE OFFICE: (504) 838-0130 (NOTE: If you can't get through to Metairie, try one of the other offices, such as Monroe: (318) 324-2111, Baton Rouge: (225) 929-7711; Lafayette: (337) 261-1400; Shreveport: (318) 798-3215; Lake Charles: (337) 493-5398, or Alexandria: Phone: (318) 448-7176)
Senator John Kennedy - DC OFFICE: (202) 224-4623 and NEW ORLEANS OFFICE (504) 581-6190 (Other offices include: Lafayette: (337) 269-5980; Monroe: (318) 361-1489; Alexandria: (318) 445-2892; Baton Rouge: (225) 926-8033; and Shreveport: (318) 670-5192)
Because of how Congressional districts are drawn, New Orleans residents have either Richmond or Scalise as their representative. If you don't know who your representative is, you can look it up by entering your home address on the U.S. House of Representatives website.
Representative Scalise: (202) 225-3015; Representative Richmond: (202) 225-6636
Reminders: Identify where you're calling from (town and zip code is fine) so they know you're an actual constituent. Be concise - the office will get through more calls that way. Be polite and don't argue with the staffer - they don't set policy. If you get a voicemail, then leave a message. And if you get a busy signal -- call back later!
Hi, my name is [Your Name] from New Orleans, zip code 70118 [or wherever you're from].
I'm calling today because I want Congress to prioritize hurricane relief for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. American citizens there are suffering through truly dire circumstances, and we can't abandon them in their time of need. I'd like to request, also, that a one year waiver to the Jones Act, as suggested by Representative Nydia Velazquez, be put in place so that these people can get the supplies they need as quickly as possible. I want the Senator/Representative to prioritize hurricane relief over all else, including the passage of the Graham-Cassidy bill.
Thank you for your time and your hard work answering the phones. Stay safe out there.
This call is courtesy of Metairie Indivisible.